The unusual house was built for just $250,000, a relative drop in the construction bucket. Tsui says it's made out of concrete, styrofoam/cement block, "hardwall" structural plaster, stucco, non-toxic waterproofing, acrylic, marine fiberglass, douglas fir, recycled wood, birch veneer plywood, "opalina" iridescent paint and rich gold exterior paint.
The design is a "precise ellipse in plan."
In addition to studying tardigrades, Tsui also analyzed the inner workings of Cholla cactus. The recycled Styrofoam and cement blocks used in the structure (reinforced with steel and concrete) are said to be "lightweight, fireproof, waterproof, termite-proof and extremely earthquake resistant." The reinforced lattice structure of the blocks is what is "very much like the skeleton of a the Cholla cactus."
He even worked in a bit of dinosaur body design.
As Tsui explained, "The design program approached the house as a living organism capable of actively responding to various natural elements of the site. A prominent example of this is the subsurface solar water tubes that are positioned to correspond to the sun-ray like exterior motif that covers much of the upper level of the house. Water in the black tubes is heated by the sun throughout the day. At night the stored heat is radiated back into the interior of the house walls and provides radiant wall heat. This subsurface solar heating system was conceived by studying the bone and capillary structures of two dinosaurs, the Dimetrodon and the Stegosaurus."