Earth, Straw, Timber:
Proven all-natural ecological building techniques

By Lou Host-Jablonski

Integrated, natural construction techniques are essential to creating greener buildings. Design Coalition has been developing these techniques for several years, hosting workshops, and helping to build structures such as the addition pictured to the right.

This addition to a Madison home was built for a family child care program that wanted a low-toxin, warm and comfortable environment for the children. The children watched and participated throughout the construction process. For more on this award winning child care program, visit the Bridges Family Child Care on Madison's East Side.

This article shows participants from two natural building workshops that Design Coalition sponsored. The materials and construction processes involved are well within the capabilities of do-it-yourself home builders, and also can be adapted by professional builders.

See below for descriptions of the natural building techniques used on this project.

Please note: This article is meant to serve as a brief introduction to a set of integrated techniques, and is by not intended as a comprehensive how-to-build manual.








Left: Many Hands Make Light Work

Natural building techniques:

Faswall Foundation
Faswall is a commercial wall-form material that is 85% recycled wood.
Timber and Recycled Light Framing
The main structural system of this home addition is heavy timbers of Wisconsin White Pine.
Straw-clay (also known as "light clay") is a building material with unique properties.
Earth Plastering
In the hands of an experienced earth plasterer, luscious textures and colors are possible.
Earth Floors
Also known as adobe flooring.
An Integrated Natural Construction System













Faswall Foundation
| Framing | Straw-Clay | Earth Plastering | Earth Floors | Natural Construction

Click here for additional resources about natural building and 'green' construction.

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