Attend our Upcoming Workshop:
July 21 – 28, 2018

An Introduction to Ecological Building Techniques

(rubble trench and stone stem walls, wattle and daub, earth bags, cob, natural plasters and paints)

Attend This Workshop

An Introduction to Ecological Building Techniques (rubble trench and stone stem walls, wattle and daub, earth bags, cob, natural plasters and paints)

Dates: July 21 – 28, 2018

About The Workshop

This six day workshop will cover considerations on picking a house site including passive solar design, building a rubble trench and natural rock and lime mortar foundation, wattle and daub wall construction, building with cob, earth bag construction, natural, earthen plasters, and ways to heat your home in a sustainable and natural way.  During the workshop we will build a rubble trench and rock foundation for a new cabin. We will also build wattle and daub walls for the cabin, and add natural earthen and lime plasters over the finished walls, including adding several clay-based paints. Additionally, we will be building a cob oven and earth bag sofa at the home of a local family that receives tourist groups. Lastly, we will be building a small rocket mass heater inside the new cabin. This complete natural building workshop will introduce you to several different and varied natural building techniques and is the perfect way to either begin your learning journey related to natural building or further develop your natural building skills. This complete natural building workshop will introduce you to several different and varied natural building techniques and is the perfect way to either begin your learning journey related to natural building or further develop your natural building skills.

For this workshop we offer private transportation from Antigua to Santiago Atitlan and vice versa. Lodging options include top-notch hotels with direct access to the lake, a swimming pool, solar jacuzzi, and wood-fired sauna, comfortable hostals with Wi-Fi, or home stays with local families. Included in the price of the workshop is a day-long tour of several communities around Lake Atitlan to better get to know the surroundings and learn about other natural construction techniques including typical adobe construction, bamboo architecture, and more. Also, participants will have the opportunity to participate in several recreational and cultural activities during the course of the week to enjoy the beauty of the lake and learn more about the unique culture and history of the Tz’utujil people.

The workshop begins with dinner on the 21th and ends with breakfast on 28th.

Pickup in Antigua is at 3pm on the 21th. Departure to return to Antigua is 9am on the 28th.

Antigua is beautiful colonial city popular with tourists that is roughly 45 minutes from the Guatemala City aiport. There are reasonably priced shuttles that can take you directly there from the airport. The following link explains in detail the process: (how to get to Antigua from the Guatemala City airport).

We are available to answer any questions you have about travel logisitcs, what to expect, or workshop content. Please ask!

Natural Building Techniques to be Taught

  • Rubble Trench and Stone Stem Wall: Instead of relying on concrete footers, we will explore how you can build a strong, reliable foundation for your home that offers both structural and drainage functions with nothing but rock, rubble, and lime.
  • Wattle and Daub: This simple wall construction technique uses a lattice of wood that is then filled in and plastered with earthen materials. It is among the most anti-seismic building materials known.
  • Earthbags: Filling polypropylene sacks with stabilized earth allows you to build massive, thick, and sturdy walls for your home.
  • Cob: A mixture of sand, clay and straw allows you to build the walls to your home that can then be sculpted into any design that you choose. The thick walls also function as a thermal mass to effectively heat your home.
  • Natural Plasters: A naturally built structure is nothing but a mud hut until you add the finishing touches of a natural, earthen or lime-based plaster which turns your mud hut into an earthen home.

*Each day of the workshop will offer a mix of classroom style conceptual/theoretical instruction in the mornings and several hours of practice with the different natural building methodologies that we will be using. We will also have the opportunity to visit several naturally built structures around the lake and process what we’ve been learning at the end of each day. Each participant will receive electronic copies of several leading books in the natural building niche.

Options for Participation

There are three options for participation in this workshop.

Choose Your Option

Option 1

Kings & Queens

(cost $745)

This option is directed to persons that are coming from abroad and who want private lodging in a nicer hotel. We only have 4 spaces available, so act now! It can be paid for through PayPal and includes:

  • Transport service between Antigua and Santiago Atitlan and vice versa.
  • Private lodging in the Posada de Santiago, Santiago’s most beautiful and visited hotel. The hotel is lake side and offers the use of its its sauna, kayaks, nature areas and dining amenities.
  • Six full days of workshop.
  • A day tour of the lake, in which you will travel by boat to different towns to enjoy their beauty and see magnificent examples of the very natural building techniques you have been learning about and putting into practice.
  • Daily you will be provided with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshments.
  • Numerous activities that engage the rich local Tz’utujil culture and that invite you to experience the recreational possibilities of the surrounding environment.
  • Educational materials.

Option 2

Not Too Shabby

(cost $550)

This option is directed to persons that are coming from abroad that want to save a little bit of money by staying in a hostal or with an indigenous family (you can choose which you prefer). It can be paid for through PayPal and includes:

  • Transport service between Antigua and Santiago Atitlan and vice versa.
  • Private lodging in a clean and comfortable local hostel,  or a homestay with a friendly indigenous family.
  • Six full days of workshop.
  • A day tour of the lake, in which you will travel by boat to different towns to enjoy their beauty and see magnificent examples of the very natural building techniques you have been learning about and putting into practice.
  • Daily you will be provided with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshments.
  • Numerous activities that engage the rich local Tz’utujil culture and that invite you to experience the recreational possibilities of the surrounding environment.
  • Educational materials.

Option 3

Flying Solo

(cost $475)

This option is directed to experienced travelers that would prefer to arrange their own lodging and get to Santiago Atitlan by themselves. It can be paid for through PayPal and includes:

  • Six full days of workshop.
  • A day tour of the lake, in which you will travel by boat to different towns to enjoy their beauty and see magnificent examples of the very natural building techniques you have been learning about and putting into practice.
  • Daily you will be provided with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshments.
  • Numerous activities that engage the rich local Tz’utujil culture and that invite you to experience the recreational possibilities of the surrounding environment.
  • Educational materials.