Signup for our next Natural Building Course

Join Us 23 29 October 2022

Natural Building Collective

We use sustainable building principles to connect, create, empower and educate.


Our vision is to nurture the creation of a more sustainable built environment. The Natural Building Collective is a collaborative project dedicated to educating individuals and organizations about sustainable building’s potential to stimulate the senses, connect people to their environment and awaken our inherent creative potential. We gather knowledge from our peers, we share our experience with the industry, and we honour the dynamic relationship between the building and individual with sustainable building solutions that work.

Founder, Peter McIntosh is one of a handful of natural builders whose experience includes several natural materials and techniques giving him the unique ability to make decisions based on what is the most appropriate for the given site with regard to available materials, the triple bottom-line of sustainability, client needs and climate. Realizing that sustainability is about economy and social justice as much as it is about ecology Peter has been exploring the value of alternative building materials including, tyres and eco-bricks (plastic bottles stuffed with plastic waste) since 2014.

A great proportion of the South African population live in township shacks built out of metal sheets and cardboard. The very thing that makes natural building accessible and potentially more affordable than conventional building is also what may make it not so – locally sourced materials and easily learned skills and techniques. Some of these alternative/innovative materials are already being incorporated into shacks, but with the thermal performance of mud a wealth of opportunities open up.


We facilitate CPD accredited natural building courses in South Africa for professionals, students and owner-builders. The Natural Building course is designed around the principles of understanding earth, how it works and does not work together. We give you an understanding of a range of techniques and materials, so that you are able to make the most appropriate decisions regarding materials and or sustainability once you are ready to begin your project. Each technique has pros and cons which you will be able to evaluate.


We offer on-site training and capacity building in natural building materials, including cob, adobe brick, rammed earth, straw bale, tyres, sandbags and recycled materials amongst others. We also offer building and project management services to the industry.


Our blog shares practical and inspiring information about existing and new natural building and sustainable architecture projects in Africa and beyond. We accept blog posts from guest contributors so feel free to contact us if you would like to share your story.


Find us on Facebook for insightful natural and sustainable building related news and events.



Peter McIntosh started building with natural materials in 1999 when he built his own earth-sheltered, straw-bale house. Realising his passion Peter apprenticed himself to Etienne Bruwer, architect and father of green building in South Africa, and worked around South Africa, with many different natural building materials and techniques. In 2004 he moved his focus to Cape Town and ran a natural building company there for six years. In 2010, Peter shifted his focus to training, mentoring and building the profile of natural and sustainable building in southern Africa. To this end he facilitates CPD accredited natural building courses and provides an online platform for people involved and interested in natural building, including architects, owner-builders, educators and social development practitioners. He continues to provide consultation and project management services to private, public and development sectors.

Peter’s home life also reflects his belief in the possibilities of living sustainably. His off-the-grid straw bale mudbrick earth-sheltered house is situated in the middle of a permaculture community, growing as much of his food as possible in a semi-arid environment.