Our collective The Mudgirls has been running workshops for over ten years. And i wonder sometimes if we are getting kinda formulaic, could i say even old fashioned? with our morning instructionals. somethings are a must do like general principles of natural building, and learning the actual system we are employing through out the day.
i guess im asking what would you want to learn most at a NB workshop.
and what do you think the general principles are?
here are ours
build to your environment, and climate
build with local, upcycled materials as much as possible
build with your community
I may have recently acquired a mountain. This mountain is comprised of Biotite Gneiss, Syenite, and Hornblende Gneiss.
The Hornblende is of the ferro-type, containing around 25% iron. I am not necessarily after the iron - the balance of the content is Silia (obviously) Aluminum (Sapphire) and Calcium (of the limey variety).
The process of charcoal smelting of the abundant pulverized stone would liberate the iron, but produce the "byproduct" of alite and belite - as well as aluminosilicate pozzolans - Roman Concrete (the kind that lasts 2000 years)
Among the abundant "sand" there are many, many brick sized chunks of the nicest, most awesome building stone - Gneiss.
My thought is to experiment with biochar flame (from the pyrolysis of otherwise useless chunks of pallets) and my sand - perhaps with some salvaged Gypsum (sheetrock scrap) for to make MORTAR.
I would love to see the Permaculture folk address the synthesis of mortar from on-site materials - especially on land deficient in limestone (that one is easy)
My chemistry is not strong - but it seems this is doable.
I intend to build a Castle. The CO2 and SOx emissions from the process are air for algae (grown in dilute pee, then used for soap and fuel) - so please, no lectures about "greenhouse emissions" (which would be ironic, seeing as I have to build some greenhouses to grow at 8900 ft elevation!)
Thanks for asking. What pops to mind is: making houses in woodland growing on rock. Steep rock. 1000% grade in places, infinite grade at points, and pretty shallow. The "hollows" are not actually hills, I'm told, but the inverse of hills--they're where the glacier tore big chunks out of the rock and some sticking-up things were left that look like hills but actually aren't.
I love the of the wofati, and earth-sheltered houses--but we may not have a lot of earth even, just big, big, big huge boulderous rock with trees on it.
Connected or reconnected. Fit with the right cycles and in the right season. Nourished and nurtured with natural energy. Aware of place and part.
I am not sure if you go through this, but remember to educate your students on developing in forests or around trees. Many people in this field do this, and the construction often 1. Kills the surrounding trees which often takes years before the destruction is seen and 2. They cut more than a third of the roots and the tree falls over in the wind which can be very dangerous. I know that building small is important for energy efficiency, but if designed properly some straw bail, hemp, cob and other houses can be standard North American size with tremendous self sufficiency. My last point would be to not promote off grid electricity. I learned this some time ago and it took me for a shock. It was explained that if we all went off grid the amount of batteries used would be worse than most if not all mass energy production methods. The solution would be to have a decentralized grid where everyone produces at least the amount they consume on their property that hooks up to the entire grid rather than having a central station. On grid, but producing your own electricity is a step towards decentralization. It sounds like an amazing program you have going and I would love to learn more about it. I will soon be taking a 5 month 'Sustainable Design and Construction' course on alternative building before I start my design firm.