In 2019, we will be hosting two of our esteemed week-long natural building courses, and expanding our international reach to grow our collective and partner with new and old friends alike. We’ll be combining our experience of training in natural building with our mission to create beauty and do good with some exciting projects in the pipeline.
Our relationship with Long Way Home goes back to 2014 when we worked with them on the Lebone project in Bloemfontein, spearheaded by Start Living Green. Since then we’ve partnered with them on the Delft Early Childhood Centre (2016), and our month-long sustainable building course in 2017 that launched the Delft ECD Training centre. Last year was the inaugural Green Building Academy and Peter McIntosh from the Natural Building Collective was there to co-facilitate.
Patrick from Offgrid Vision first reached out to the Natural Building Collective about featuring on a podcast for his series on offgrid humanitarianism, building and community. Peter has since been a guest on the podcast, and the course in Delft is a result of their synergy. Their team does amazing work around the world and we’re very excited to be welcoming their team to South Africa. Check out their podcast for some inspiring voices on offgrid humanitarianism, or if you’d like to support their projects. Continue reading →
Offgrid vision is a project dedicated to empowering people in developed and developing countries to pursue living off-the-grid through sharing knowledge and experience and raising funds for deserving projects in developing countries.
Part of Patrick’s mission is through a podcast with fellow off-the-grid’ders. He recently had a chat with Peter McIntosh from Natural Building Collective about his experience living offgrid and some humanitarian projects that the Natural Building Collective is involved in. Continue reading →
The Training Centre is a passive solar, earth sheltered building out of tyres, cob, compressed earth bricks, ecobricks and glass bottles at the Delft Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre. The design is centered around minimizing the use of cement and concrete whilst showcasing the potential of alternative and sustainable materials. The building feels warm and welcoming amidst a stark social landscape.
The character of the building is revealed in its hybrid use of natural, recycled and conventional materials and its journey to completion. From the beginning the environment was focused on creating a rich learning environment, starting off with a sustainable building course, progressing under the hands of local community members, interns and volunteers to its full expression as a training centre for early childhood development.
Laurie first wrote for us back in 2014 about her journey as an owner-builder and the challenges of building with mud on the edge of Hwange National park, Zimbabwe. She recently posted an update and we knew our readers would want to see what she’s been up to… Their family home is complete and their gardens are thriving as they continue to live a simple life alongside wildlife.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to post anything and people have been asking how the house is, our life here, and so here is a photographic update.
The house is a dream come true, to wake up every day in these hand moulded walls feels sublime. The metal termite barrier works and checks are regularly done around the stone stem wall to check for tunnels to knock down.
We’re thrilled to announce Peter McIntosh will be co-facilitating Long Way Home’s inaugural Green Building Academy in Guatemala this year. Participants can expect a solid grounding and hands-on experience in green, sustainable building and construction practices, social development and a rich cultural immersion. The Academy will take place in Comalapa, Guatemala, and will draw on the expertise of the Academy‘s instructors, who for 9 years have built an 18-building school using state-of-the-art green and sustainable technologies and methods.
The Green Building Academy provides a menu of unique educational options that are relevant to both professionals and students inside AND outside of the construction industry. Guided by best practices in green construction, the Academy is dedicated to educating individuals and organizations, in both theory and practical application, about sustainable design, planning, and building practices. Participants will connect to their environment, and develop increased consciousness & competence relating to sustainability, environmental & ecological balance, and ethical & respectful community development. The Academy equips participants with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to apply their creativity to design and construction using sustainable, unconventional materials and low-impact methodologies with potential for off-grid implementation.
2017 saw the devastating effects of fire across the world. In South Africa we witnessed fires in the Garden route, Gordon’s bay and Cape Point to name a few. The devastating California wild fires left thousands homeless. Yet, straw bale houses have proved to be resilient despite the myths of straw bale houses’ flammability.
On New year’s day the iconic straw bale house of Simon and Jasmine in the UK burned down after a freak electrical fault ignited some stored reclaimed plastic stuff they intended to use under the earth floors downstairs as insulation.
The iconic straw bale house of Simon and Jasmine Dale in the UK.
With an exciting line-up of natural builders and designers from around the world, you better be prepared to be inspired and learn from some of the world’s leading pioneers in the field of natural building.
It is a rare opportunity to be able to gather with so many like-minded people that share in your interests and passions. Unfortunately, with our South African currency and the fact that our course is a week after the conference we won’t be attending, but we’re sharing the information here in the hopes that someone from South Africa and/or Africa will represent the work being done across our beautiful continent.
19:00 Sun Ray Kelley – Gardeners of Eden
21:00 Simon Dale – The hobbit house, Lammas eco village
9:00 Dan Grmela – Experience from 40 finished straw-bale buildings in CZ
10:00 Aleš Mádr – The story of the Mádr’s straw-house
11:00 Luba Cvrk – Loadbearing strawbale structures – practical experience
12:00 Marek Vlček – Reconstruction with the use of natural building materials
14:30 Nitzan Iserovitch – Deep in the mud
15:30 Presentation of eco-friendly companies
17:00 Marek Rabík – Work of Conscious Craftsmen with Respect to Nature,Spray plastering
18:00 The Panel Discussion of Participating Experts –
The Professionalisation, Innovation and Competitiveness of Natural Building
20:00 Afterparty, Networking, Clay plasters workshop with Vlastik Baránek
9:00 Honza Křivonožka – Accumulation Stove : Efficient and healthy heating. Options for combination, functions and shapes.
10:00 Pavel Podruh – Czech Off-Grid Houses
11:00 Otakar Chochola – Feng shui, Quality of space in the transformation of time
12:00 Michal Kravčík – Let’s Renew Rain
13:00 The End of the Conference
Price for Conference
Whole Conference: 130 €/person
Discount for couples, groups, students and pensioners: 110€/person
Price for individual days
Friday: 40 €
Saturday: 70 €
Sunday: 30 €
Attend our natural building course and take the first step to a sustainable future by learning hands-on natural building skills. Learn a whole range of materials and techniques while exploring questions around sustainable living based in Peter McIntosh’s experience living off-grid since 1999.
If you’re serious about building naturally and sustainably then you’ll know that each technique has pros and cons. That is why our natural building course is designed around the principles of understanding earth, how it works and does not work together. You will leave with the theoretical understanding and practical grounding 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.
This year, Peter will be hosting two CPD accredited courses at Jakkalskloof farm, in Swellendam. Continue reading →
“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. Continue reading →
In honour of women’s day we asked Anita Venter a few questions about her grassroots development initiative using sustainable building methods in Bloemfontein. We 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. We first got to know of the work Anita does when she invited Peter to participate in the Lebone Arts and cultural centre, a collaborative project with Los Tecnicos in 2014. We were also honoured to host her and six of her change agents on one of our natural building courses in 2015.
How did you first get involved in natural/sustainable building? Tell us about the journey.
Since the early 2000s I have done many research studies on housing from socio-economic and policy perspectives. Continue reading →