What is Natural Building?

Natural Building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability, and materials with a low embodied energy.  Many Natural Building concepts date back to the earliest of building forms, at a time when people were very connected with the Earth and the natural materials which surrounded them.  When built properly, these techniques can last hundreds, if not thousands of years as seen in some of the Cob Houses in Wales, and Adobe structures in Yemen.

Old Cob House Wales | Natural Building Cob

Old Cob House in Wales

Adobe Buildings Yemen | Natural Building Adobe

Old Adobe Buildings, Yemen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a time when we are facing major issues like global warming, water shortages, fossil fuels, pollution, and many other serious global concerns, a re-emergence of these building concepts is sweeping the nation, as well as internationally, through the Natural Building Movement.

Building with Earthen Materials provides you with an organic structure like no other, with curvy, sculptural forms, unable to achieve through traditional building techniques.  Building with earth also provides quality indoor air and no toxins or VOCs.

Natural Building concepts and techniques are not just for the person who wants to live off-the grid, or who wants a Cob home; these concepts can be applied to existing home renovations, aesthetic applications, veneers, yard structures, outdoor ovens, and much more!   Be sure to check out the Services link as well as the Portfolio link for understanding how Root Down Designs can bring these methods to you!

Concepts behind Natural Building:

  • use ‘earthen materials’ (clay, sand, straw, rocks, bamboo, etc.)
  • use materials which are available on site or locally
  • use salvaged/recycled materials
  • utilization of proper orientation of building, proper site design, etc. as to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels/energy consumption
  • building compactly/minimal footprint
  • reduction of square footage/versatile, efficient designs
  • Passive Solar Concepts
  • Labor Intensive Work = Community-Built Projects
Types of Natural Building Techniques:                                                                                                   
Here are some great website links which can help further explain the Natural Building Movement:
Dancing Rabbit……………………………….great explanation of different techniques http://www.dancingrabbit.org/building/
The Natural Building Network…find out about Natural Building Workshops all over the country  http://nbnetwork.org/
A photo montage of Natural Building Events………………………………………… http://www.potkettleblack.com/natbild/
National Strawbale Conference 2012………………………………………………………..  http://www.strawbaleconference.com/
Natural Building Colloquium 2012..  http://ourecovillage.org/courses-events/natural-building/natural-building-colloquium/
Natural Homes…Oliver Swanns beautiful collection of Natural Homes around the world  http://naturalhomes.org/
Here’s a few examples of Natural Building structures I’ve collected from right here in the southeast!