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Friluftsliv - USA

Friluftsliv was an exercise in developing a sustainable homestead on an old wheat field exposed to persistent prairie winds and the extreme thunderstorms of summer. Winter snow drifts across the frozen prairie and is collected around any standing structure. There are no trees or canopy of any kind. Numerous but productive windbreaks are needed to create microclimates, protect crops, and reduce energy for heating of the buildings. Access to the property was limited by the utility companies needing underground lines. A curved or contour-based road was not possible. With that design driver, we used the raised roadbed as a run-off collection feature for rainwater and spring melt run-off.  This was also true for the building area. Western structures shelter the inner courtyards for access to the house. The large hardscape and rooflines collect water that is diverted to a constructed wetland habitat.

The wetland habitat attracts birds, amphibians and beneficial insects. This area continues and supports the protective nature of the windbreak tree canopy. This prairie system needs to be an all-inclusive design since, other than wheat field soil, there are no ecosystem services of any kind. All biological and ecological services must be redeveloped within the landscape, recreating a resilient and organic, hydrological, biological, and nutrient cycling ecology. Small and intermediate-sized livestock is important to the land management system. They also supply a variety of protein sources.

Research on the property consists of heirloom wheat and grain varieties, Innovation gardens for developing new practices, and cisterns placed to collect water for use during dry weather. There are three condos for researchers and guests. Each with its own garden. A large bermed root cellar is just north of the house for easy access from the kitchen. The house has its own greywater wetland for watering the adjacent tree crops and perennial spaces across the immediate area. This is a self-contained prairie homestead with a 360-degree horizon.


Climate:  Humid Continental

Annual Precipitation:

Country: USA

Function:  Prairie Adjusted and Sustainable Homestead

                  Wind abatement

                  Rebuilding ecological services

                  Water collection

                  Heirloom seed  and grain


Size: 30 acres

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