Thanks for an awesome 2017!


“The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.” – Roland Tiangco

As the end of the year approaches, we want to wish you well over the festive season, and thank you for your support in 2017. You helped us finish the Delft Early Childhood Development centre, start and almost complete a training centre for early childhood development in Delft, as well as host our two usual natural building courses and co-host a sustainable building course with earth and tyres in partnership with our friends Long Way Home. Prior to the course Long Way Home commissioned a manual for sustainable building which was authored by Peter McIntosh and Guy Williams (LWH).

During the past year, we were part of the design team for a new ECD in Strand with our focus on sustainable materials and passive solar design. It will be built from rammed earth, compressed earth brick and some ecobricks, offgrid and treat its own black water. This five star rated green building will serve a disadvantaged area in Strand for around 400 children. Unfortunately, it’s on hold due to the current drought. We have also been giving design inputs on other City of Cape Town projects that are in various stages of planning. We are also working with Ikamva Labantu on using sustainable building in ECDCs in the NGO sector.

It has been a tough year, but a year of advances too.  So we would like to give you an overview of the year, and to thank you, especially our donors, friends and volunteers, for the contributions you have made to the successes of the year.

We give you a very brief recap of the blog and then continue to update you on the Delft ECD, as well as our progress with the training centre. 

Blog overview

In the virtual world, aka our blog it’s been a quiet year. So it was in honour of women’s day that we asked Anita Venter a few questions about her grassroots development initiative using sustainable building methods in Bloemfontein.

Q&A with Anita Venter, from Start Living Green grassroots development in Bloemfontein

Shack replacementWe have great admiration for the shack replacement initiative and what she has done to empower her change agents to become more self-sufficient and build community in her local context. Read more…

Update: Delft Early Childhood Development centre

Our portion of the Delft ECD was completed at the end of February, with the primary contractor finishing works in June. Due some local politics the opening of the ECD was delayed, but we were happy to see the centre open for registration on October 30th. Classes will start in 2018.
For a brief overview of the project check out the short film about the project, or read the guest post by Earthworx magazine.

Update: Delft ECD Training Centre

The year started off working hard to finish off the Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC) in Delft. Following our involvement there we saw the space and need for an adult training centre so that, amongst other things, carers from informal crèches in Delft and surrounding areas can receive training in early childhood development. The Sophia Foundation made a generous donation towards materials and we kick-started the process off with a month-long sustainable building course with earth and tyres (24 Apr – 19 May). Long Way Home collaborated with us on this one and Guy Williams provided the tyre expertise and stayed onsite a few extra weeks. We also provided training for architecture students from CPUT, and two post-graduate interns from Penn State university (USA). We also employed a core crew from the local community who had been trained during the ECDC building process.

We closed the site at the end of June to raise funding through a crowdfunding campaign. We successfully raised R31 950 and were back on site in September till the end of October. We asked Carrie (Cat) Pretorius to coordinate things on the ground. Volunteers from our previous courses and two of the participants from our October course, Tashi and Cait, volunteered for two weeks directly after attending – Swellendam mud still in-between their toes. Unfortunately, we were short of our R80 000 goal and we’re in the process of applying for more funding to finish the earth floor, ceiling and insulation. In between we hosted our usual two natural building courses.

Sustainable building course with earth and tyres 24/04 – 19/05/2017

Natural building collective-Sustainable building course group photo

Sustainable building course group photo

Tired, but happy with progress after four weeks ramming earth into tyres and theory into brains of course participants and architecture students from CPUT…

Crowdfunding is a win-win

Thanks to all of you either making contributions or sharing the campaign with friends and family we successfully raised R31 950. This enabled us to go a long way towards completing the training centre…

As part of the crowdfunding campaign, we donated five books to the Butterfly arts project in Vrygrond, added some of our own heroes to a wall of fame and took an anonymous contributor and three of his friends on a grand tour of the Delft ECD and training centre. Learn more about the inspiring work of the Butterfly Arts project hereNatural building collective donation to Butterfly arts centre in Vrygrond

A big THANK YOU to our heroes on the wall fame at the Delft Training centre! and our artist Jess Metcalfe for doing the etching.


Natural Building Courses in March and October

Per usual, we hosted two natural building courses and we were thrilled to have two groups of fun, hardworking and inspired humans attend our courses at Jakkalskloof farm this year.

A BIG shout-out!
to all our former course participants that came to volunteer on site. Whether you were there for one day or one month we salute you!

A healthy and sustainable built environment goes hand-in-hand with a living green environment, but sometimes we need to help that process along, especially in urban areas and more importantly, in spaces for children… that’s why we asked the crew from Greenpop to come and work some of their magic at the Delft Early Childhood Development centre site.

Natural building collective_Delft Early Childhood Development training centre from earth and tyres greenpop tree planting

We would like to sign off by sharing our intention for the new year with you… we hope that we are able to continue to work on projects where we can
‘Create beauty and Do good.’

Once again, thanks for your support and we hope you all enjoy a well-deserved and invigorating break. See you in 2018!
PS If you would like to see more photos and videos of the various projects and courses, please check out our facebook, flickr and youtube pages. 



Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to this blog’s author and/or owner and the Natural Building Collective with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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