Our current methods of building in most parts of the world cannot be maintained without pushing the demand on living systems into overload. Current building techniques require destructive mining: gypsum for sheet rock; iron for hardware, rebar and roofing; lime and other minerals for cement.
Current construction methods account for:
40% of the debris dumped in landfills
40% of the entire world’s energy usage
18% of all the world’s fresh water usage
10% of global carbon dioxide emissions
30 years of debt for the average home-owner
Natural building offers solutions to the above problems. In building with a number of durable and time-tested construction methods using combinations of materials such as local clays, sand, straw, site milled wood, stone, bamboo and other abundant and recycled materials, students will learn that natural building is not only easy to learn, but also empowers people to reclaim their dignity and basic human right to healthy, affordable, ecologically-sound and beautiful shelter.
By developing skills in natural building, students learn that they can easily acquire the skills they need to build their own home. And in that, they are not just building their own home, but a different type of social structure that redistributes energy to a local scale of interdependence.
Coupled with permaculture, whole-systems design and renewable energy, natural building provides accessible long-term solutions to communities across the earth.
Each year, students will be giving a budget in which they can work with natural building experts in determining what is feasible throughout the course of the year. With the help of these field professionals, students will consider local ecology, geology, climate, purpose and aesthetics as they design and build structures from composting toilets to performance halls using a variety of natural building techniques.