Natural Building: An Intro to Ecological Construction

Natural building by Abundant Edge
Natural building by Abundant Edge

“Shelter is at the core of human development, and our ability to survive. The variety and adaptability of our structures have determined where humans can live, and how we continue to evolve.

Despite this deep connection that we have with the buildings we inhabit, construction has become an industry that causes a lot of destruction to our planet, and even to our own health. In order to build more conscientiously, we need to rediscover the methods and materials that have protected us since the beginning. Natural building has been the default system until only a few decades ago (and still is in many parts of the world) when industries began to process massive amounts of materials to homogenize construction and maximize profits. Returning to natural building can help us get back to a healthy way of development that reconnects us with the world around us.

Natural building is a broad term that includes a range of building systems that place emphasis on minimally processed, non toxic, and local materials, as well as those that are recycled and salvaged. The history of most natural building systems is as old as human civilization. All human shelter started with these techniques. For thousands of years construction advanced in different parts of the world based on what was available and what worked.”

Abundant Edge
“Abundant Edge is an ever-growing group of builders, designers, and artisans who are committed to creating a regenerative future through their crafts. We are optimists in our visions and pragmatists in our work, who value customization through collaboration and excellence through elegant design.”

3 thoughts on “Natural Building: An Intro to Ecological Construction”

  1. Quick question Mr.Owen. Do you recommend building a dome roof on a roundhouse? We are building a roundhouse, but want to build a dome style roof on it, but wonder if it’s safe to start laying the bags that way on top of round walls?

    • Yes, that’s okay if you have a really strong reinforced concrete bond beam. It should be designed by an engineer because domes are incredibly heavy (tons of weight). The dome roof will push down and out due to gravity. The outward component of the force will tend to push your walls outward as well and cause it to collapse without a strong bond beam.

      Consider adding wrap around porches to shade the house and drain roofwater away from the house.

      Also consider if all this makes sense in your climate. How would you insulate an earth dome roof in say Canada?

      • Thank you. You have given me things to think about. I will contact an Engineer and see what he or she comes up with. I understand what you are saying, but I don’t know it all, so I will contact an Engineer. Thank You Mr. Owen


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