Root Cellars in Newfoundland

A root cellar is an underground or partially underground structure used to preserve vegetables and protect them from frost through the winter. Root cellars are often constructed into hillsides and make use of the existing geography. Generally, they are constructed by digging a hole in the earth and reinforcing with wood, rock, cement, and/or other … Read more

Ecological Properties of Natural Slate

Natural slate, which can be used for both roofing and facades, is a material with one the lowest contribution to emissions and environmental impact. Life-Cycle Assessment can be used to assess and quantify possible environmental impacts associated with a product or process, which compiles the inputs, outputs and overall potential environmental effects of a product … Read more

Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

In her book Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism, Julia Watson proposes to revalue the techniques of construction, production, cultivation and extraction carried out by diverse remote populations who, generation after generation, have managed to keep alive ancestral cultural practices integrated with nature, with a low environmental cost and simple execution. While modern societies try to … Read more

Traditional Building Materials in India

Context, climate, craft and sustainability form the pillars of traditional Indian architecture and provide precedents for new cities and structures. Indian architecture seeks identity through local materials with modern techniques. Deeply meshed with cultural and climatic significance, the following materials continue to build contemporary Indian architecture: Jaali is a local term for “perforated block”, and … Read more

Climate Change Challenges Rammed Earth Monasteries

The 15th-century Chhode monastery is tucked into a side valley of remote Mustang, a district in northern Nepal. The monastery, with walls formed of clay and gravel, blends in with the wind-beaten cliffs; its towering roof is held up by wooden pillars. Inside the monastery, a monk is performing a ritual prayer ceremony before a … Read more

Some of the Oldest Buildings in the U.S.

Here is a collection of some of the oldest buildings in the United States. It is interesting to notice that virtually all of them could be considered “natural buildings” made from local natural materials. This speaks to the longevity of natural building techniques! Originally constructed in Ardmore, Alabama in 1808 before being restored at to … Read more