Bending Sticks

Bending Sticks

The work of Patrick Dougherty is generally not considered a natural building technique because its sole intent is the creation of ephemeral art and artistic inspiration. However, it serves as a powerful inspiration for new and creative ways of construction.
Dougherty’s work shows the potential of nature to express and inspire. The work also demonstrates the importance of the relationship between human and nature, both in art and in life.
Sustainable construction is not the only potential form of natural building. It also is a way of connection to a more natural part of ourselves along with stimulating our senses.

Just_Around_Summer-590 Close-Ties-590 Read the rest of this entry

15 Ancient House Designs That You Can Build Really Cheap or Free


…OR AT LEAST YOU CAN TRY ancient-house-designs-1050x626.jpg

How would your life change if you never had to pay rent or interest on a mortgage again? I bet it would take a significant weight off your shoulders. It sure would for me. You’re not alone, in fact today most people in “civilized” parts of the world don’t own their homes but are indebted to banks or rent from a landlord. But it has not always been this way, as Henry David Thoreau so truthfully writes in his book Walden:

In the savage (Native American) state every family owns a shelter as good as the best, and sufficient for its coarser and simpler wants; but I think that I speak within bounds when I say that, though the birds of the air have their nests, and the foxes their holes, and the savages their wigwams, in modern civilized society not more than half the families own a shelter. In the large towns and cities, where civilization especially prevails, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole. The rest pay an annual tax or this outside garnment of all, become indispensible summer and winter, which would buy a village of Indian wigwams, but now helps to keep them poor as long as they live.

Is this the best humanity can do?

Is it impossible to imagine a future where humans, just as other animals, own their shelter free and clear and don’t have to pay a “tax” their whole lives just to stay protected from the elements? Of course not! This is crazy! In the list below you’ll find examples of homes that “savage” people throughout the world built with their own hands using locally available materials that Nature provided for free. No mortgage or rent required. What you take away from this list is up to you, but I have no doubt there’s a lot to learn from how our ancestors lived in harmony with their surroundings and adapted perfectly to their environments, no matter how harsh.

1. The Tipi

The Tipi

Tipis (also spelled Teepees) are tent-like American Indian houses used by Plains tribes. A tepee is made of a cone-shaped wooden frame with a covering of buffalo hide, and originally they were up to 12 feet high. Like modern tents, tepees are carefully designed to set up and break down quickly. As a tribe moved from place to place, each family would bring their tipi poles and hide tent along with them.

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Reciprocal frame structures are defined as a total of self-supported elements in a closed structure; a pretty comprehensive but difficult to assimilate definition without a good drawing as an example.

In the next picture is shown the simplest arrangement of a mutual structure: three bars that overlap to lean on each other and achieve a simple and elegant structural balance.








Reciprocal structures were proposed as an ingenious solution to the problem of covering a distance, or rather a surface, using elements of limited size. Read the rest of this entry





Shikkui is unique and traditional Japanese lime and seaweed plaster made of natural and ecological components, and it has been used in Japan for more than one thousand years. It was introduced to by Korean in the 6th. The original purpose was provide a canvas for the religious paintings. Then it was developed to allow large, uninterrupted earthen walls to be finished without joints, and as an earthen plastered walls protection from the rain erosion with its advanced anti-weathering and anti-efflorescence protection.

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pickled-vegetables In the human context, fermentations is the transformation of food by various bacteria, fungi, and the enzymes they produce. But it is important to recognize that fermentation is a natural phenomenon much broader than human culinary practices. Actually, cells in our bodies are capable of fermentation. Fermenting is a really old and wise way of preserving food through anaerobic processes of fermentation by lactic acid bacterias. Many cultural traditions have always used fermentation as a food preservation and a source of probiotics. Fermentation phenomena vary dramatically between the extreme of tropical heat and arctic cold. In cold climates fermentation is absolutely essential for survival, where summers becomes the time for hunting and harvesting the food will be eaten in winter when the climate will not allow these activities, and after months of fermentation process. In tropical climates fermentation is driven by the heat that produces the microbial transformations. In these cases fermentation becomes a strategy used to avoid the quick food decomposition. Read the rest of this entry




Nice way to make easily and fast a rocket stove in 10 STEPS! Try and DO IT YOURSELF!

supplies needed to build a rocket stove


  • #10 CAN W/ LID – Recycle one or get one from the cannery.
  • 2 LARGE 28oz CANS – Eat lots of beans tonight 🙂
  • EXTRA CAN – You need an extra can to make the shelf.
  • INSULATION – Grab some from the attic.
  • TIN SNIPS – or anything that can cut metal!
  • HEAVY-DUTY GLOVES – So you don’t cut too many fingers off!
  • MARKER – To mark where to cut on the can.
  • WIRE HANGER – To make the handle with.
  • HIGH HEAT SPRAY PAINT – If you want to make it fancy 😉

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Natural swimming pool

Natural swimming pool

Sustainability doesn’t means loss of comfort

Here is an example of how the use of natural solutions can be really enjoyable and despite of the hard work, the results are amazing.

The Reddit user VonBubenberg read about the benefits of new green pools, and decided to build a space so on their own in the backyard, to enjoy with his family.
That was their yard when the project began in 2011. His children and he designed the entire project and chose the materials, space and shape of the pool.

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jamaica bottle work overview


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La arquitectura vernacular de las casas trogloditas de Matmata


La arquitectura vernacular de las casas trogloditas de Matmata

Matmata, una ciudad de cuevas ubicadas a lo largo de una pequeño ciudad de habla bereber en el sur de Túnez. Algunos de los residentes locales bereberes viven en tradicionales estructuras subterráneas “trogloditas”. “Matmata” es el nombre de una de las tribus de los bereberes, que habitaban esta zona. Más tarde el nombre de la aldea era también el nombre de las personas que construyeron sus propias casas en la forma de cuevas excavadas en lo profundo con diámetros de 8-13 metros. En algunos de ellos sólo se puede ir por cuerda o escaleras hechas de cuerdas.Las estructuras típicas de la aldea son creados al cavar un gran hoyo en el suelo. Alrededor del perímetro de este pozo cuevas artificiales fueron entonces excavadas para ser utilizado como habitaciones, con algunas casas que comprenden múltiples pozos, conectados por pasajes similares a zanjas.
Imagen superior:

Imagen: congochris

El origen de este extraordinario lugar no se conoce, excepto por relatos pasados de generación en generación. Una de ellas dice que las casas subterráneas fueron construidas por primera vez en la antigüedad cuando el imperio romano envió dos tribus egipcias para hacer sus propias casas en la región de Matmata, después de una de las guerras Púnicas, con permiso para matar a todo ser humano en su camino. Los habitantes de la región tuvieron que abandonar sus hogares y cavar cuevas bajo tierra para esconderse de los invasores, pero dejaban sus refugios subterráneos en la noche para atacar a los invasores, el cual parecían ser muy eficaces en el envío de grupos de asesinos lejos de Matmata. Un mito se erigió en esos días, diciendo que los monstruos emergían de debajo de la tierra y matan a los usurpadores de tierras. En cualquier caso, los asentamientos subterráneos permanecieron oculto en la muy hostil zona durante siglos, y nadie tenía conocimiento de su existencia hasta 1967.

Imagen: desconocida

La manera de sobrevivir en esas severas condiciones fue difícil – ya que Túnez es famoso por la prolífica producción de aceite de oliva, los hombres iban a buscar trabajo al norte de los pueblos cada primavera, cuando comenzaba la temporada de oliva, volviendo a casa en el otoño, cuando la temporada estaba sobre ellos. Se les solía pagar en aceite de oliva, el cual intercambiaban por otros bienes, y así se proporcionaban alimentos suficientes, ropa y otras cosas para la vida normal de sus familias.

No se conocía en general hasta 1967 cuando hubo una regular cantidad de asentamientos en esta área además de errantes tribus nómadas. Ese año, las lluvias intensas que duraron 22 días inundaron las casas trogloditas y causaron que muchos de ellos colapsen. Con el fin de obtener ayuda de las autoridades, se envió una delegación al centro comunitario de la región en la ciudad de Gabes. La visita fue una sorpresa, se proporcionó ayuda, y un asentamiento sobre el suelo de Matmata fue construido. Sin embargo, la mayoría de las personas continuaron sus vidas en hogares subterráneos re-construido, y sólo unas pocas de las familias se trasladaron a las nuevas viviendas de la superficie. Hoy, Matmata es una atracción turística popular, y la mayoría de la población vive con exposiciones de turismo y folclore en sus hogares.

Como dato adicional, Matmata fue hecho conocido por servir de localización para varias escenas de la película Star Wars.

Imagen: Colin Macdonald

Imagen: Sek Keung Lo

Imagen: wikipedia – Bernard Gagnon

Imagen: Sek Keung Lo

Imagen: Ian Cowe

Imagen: wikipedia – Andy Carvin

Imagen: Malcolm Bott

Imagen: Life In Another Town

Una mujer bereber moliendo sémola fuera de su hermosa cueva en el que habita en Matmata. Imagen: Ed Wright

Imagen: Bruce Allardice


Imagen: congochris




Although natural building today can be understood as a wave of rejection towards conventional architecture and its practice, as a political and social movement, we cannot forget that its use is not limited to that. And of course is nothing new. Natural building is the way animals, including humans, have always built their shelter. Non-captive animals still do it and will always do. Humans, especially the ones from the questionably called developed countries ceased to do it with the industrial revolution. Emphasizing regional and idiosyncratic criteria in historical building decisions we can say there has not only been one way, not a single proper design, not some better materials than others in natural building. Culture and traditions, available resources, climatic and geologic conditions… had led the building process in the different cultures of the world. From a cultural perspective, the existence of two main descriptive characteristics arises: the vernacular and the traditional building. Vernacular building is a really interesting concept that refers to local buildings made by non-professional users with low building qualification. Which is more what we are talking about when referring to natural building nowadays. Below we can see several types of natural constructions in different spots of the world. All of them made with local materials and based on the needs of the people who inhabit them. Also they are adapted to weather conditions in the area. Enjoy!

«Aquí tenemos también un arte, la arquitectura, nacida de un modo de mirar, porque de estas mínimas peculiaridades depende a lo mejor el arte de un pueblo, y sus costumbres, y su política, y hasta su manera de entender el cosmos»

Ortega y Gasset, 1982


Permaculture in Paradise


An example of how people is changing their way of live with permaculture designs and principles:

 Permaculture in Paradise

Posted November 14, 2014 by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Food Forests,Food Plants – Annual, Food Plants – Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees.

Trailer only – watch full video here

34 Years ago Dano Gorsich asked his old permaculture teacher, Bill Mollison, what he should do with his land on the island of Molokai in Hawaii?

Bill explained how he should design his tropical house, how it should face to capture the sea breezes, the sun angles, slope and orientation. Bill also suggested that Dano could earn a living by growing fruit and vegetables and then selling them to his neighbours. Dano literally took this advice to heart and set out to follow it to the letter. Bill Mollison visited Dano over the years afterwards and featured his small garden in his definitive book Permaculture — A Designers’ Manual.

Dano fell off the Permaculture radar for some years, concentrating on selling boxes of fruit and vegetables to his loyal neighbours. This system allowed him to educate his four daughters and put them through university.

Geoff Lawton recently met Dano on the Island of Maui whilst teaching an Earthworks Course and learning of Dano’s 34 Year old Food Forest system.

Dano Gorsich, left, and his wife Robin explaining their system to Geoff Lawton

It’s no easy trek to find Dano’s property. The instructions are a little hazy and you need to cross four rickety footbridges to reach his 1-acre ‘farm’ that towers in the high slopes of Molokai.

As you approach Dano’s property you can’t help noticing the size of the mature tree systems that surround his home. A mighty mango tree towers high into the sky, Jackfruit hang like footballs out of the tree. Star fruit and papaya grow naturally. Tidy small lanes of lettuce and beetroot are carefully watered from the creek by Dano and his wife Robin.

It’s a green jungle of vegetation that takes some time to see the amount of fruit that dots the landscape. On the terrace flat, below the main house, is his duck tractor system. The chickens are gone, replaced by the easier to manage ducks, that are well suited to the wet conditions of this tropical hideaway.

Dano explains his unique system in the full length video – how it is designed to get better with age. It’s very rare to meet someone like Dano who embodies the term “self-sufficient” and actually walks the talk.

The last TV show he watched was the Dick Van Dyke Show when it played back in the early 1980s. He turned off the TV and never looked back again.


Permaculture in Paradise



Natural building because

we need to reduce the environmental impact: it’s impossible to build a house with no environmental impact, but it’s our responsibility to minimize and localize the damage. By choosing local and sustainable materials adapted to the climate and geographical requirements we will minimize our impact and protect the health of our local ecosystems.  

 Because we need social justice: while building your home you’re also building a different kind of social structure where people depend on themselves and each other to get their basic needs met, instead of handing over their power to governments, corporations and professionals.

 Because it helps empower ourselves: we can build a house without being a professional builder by using local unprocessed materials and techniques that relay in human labor and creativity, producing a different social dynamic.


The power in our ideas and collective action is capable of influencing the way our society thinks, talks and acts regarding building and resources use