Natural Building

Ianto Evans, natural builder and co-author of the Hand-Sculptured House: A Practical and Philosophical Guild to building a cob cottage got it right when he wrote ‘…Natural building implies profoundly different attitudes to places, building sites, ecology, work and how we live in buildings.’

It is not enough for the ‘building’ to be constructed using locally sourced, recycled and sustainable natural materials; but also the process of ‘building’ needs to be sustainable with the end result a place to live and thrive in.

Traditional indigenous shelters (ethno-architecture) used natural materials, sourced locally and designed to meet the needs of the communities.

Our goal is to grow and support a community for natural building.

Our monthly fireside@theDoighouse chat connects professional builders, enthusiasts and individuals curious and/or passionate about natural building.  If that sounds like you, or someone you know, we meet the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  RSVP: for details.

With COVID-19 things have change… our monthly fireside chats are now via Zoom.  Watch for the 2021 fireside chat lineup – available shortly.

The following is a simplified list of common natural building techniques and materials we will be exploring during our fireside chats.

  • Adobe
  • Cob
  • Cordwood (stack wall)
  • Earthbag
  • Earthships
  • Hempcrete
  • Light Straw Clay
  • Logs
  • Rammed Earth
  • Straw bale
  • Timber frame

There are many more natural and recycled building material methods including bamboo, plastic bottle walls, mycelium structures, and good old fashioned stone masonry, including dry-stacking.  Our structural engineer, Mark Fleischhaker, P.Eng shared he has also seen stacked camel/sheep poop structures and old fashioned yurts with felt and animal skin/bark.

2 thoughts on “Natural Building”

  1. An interesting structure that has lasted the years is a strawbale on Hornby, grassroof built on one of those LIP grants (Trudeau senior period). I visit a friend frequently who has lived in it for prob 20 yrs. We could tell you most of the good and bad points. But she stands firm in heavy weather on the windy point and that is definitely one of the pluses! I would have thot she would rot in this climate, but no….
    Visiting hours ever?

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theDoighouse radically sustainable, 'Earthship' inspired, off grid home, food forest and Learning Centre on Vancouver Island, BC