A school dedicated to the art and science of NATURAL BUILDING. 550 Program Hours + Hands-On Projects + Natural Building Extravaganza + Comprehensive Curriculum + Top Notch Instructors. Six Positions are Available. Apply Soon. See application survey at the bottom of this page. 3-Day Workshops are also available.
June 10 – October 30, 2013, 21 weeks total
3 days per week: M, T, W; 9am – 5pm
PLUS: Natural Building Extravaganza, August 9-18
3-Day Workshops are also available as part of the Natural Building School
Asheville, North Carolina, USA. The Natural Building School will be hosted at Ashevillage Institute and Sanctuary, with some projects happening off site.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life. Wonderful instructors, beautiful setting and the best brought out of us all. Learning the art and beauty of mixing dirt, clay, straw, bamboo and wood to create nearly any type of structure has been true inspiration.” ~Chris Watson, 2012 workshop participant
The Natural Building School believes that the best way to learn is to “do,” especially when it comes to building. Through hands-on activities, workshops, classes, presentations and field trips, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how to design and build using locally-sourced clay, sand, straw, bamboo, wood and other abundant, affordable and salvaged materials. Students are selected based on: 1) their passion and dedication to be part of the natural building movement, and 2) having a project of their own to follow-up with after the School. If you would like to be considered for one of the student positions, please fill out the survey below.
TOPICS & TECHNIQUES
• Foundation systems: Working with urbanite and stone
• Basic Carpentry: Working with milled and round wood; basic tool use
• Wall systems: Adobe, cob, compressed earth blocks, slipstraw, wattle & daub
• Natural finishes: Exterior and interior earth and lime plasters and paints
• Sculptural details: Bottle work, relief work, niches, corbels
• Construction systems: Floor, wall and roof systems
• Basic additions: Installation of windows and doors
• Bamboo: Harvesting, crafting and building
• Basic trades: Electric and plumbing
Theory & presentations
• The global context for natural building and community success stories
• Passive solar design, Designing a Nest and “A Pattern Language”
• Theory and practice of the Tiny House Movement
• Load bearing vs. non load bearing wall systems
• Basics of engineering and structural integrity
• Natural building as Community building
• Designing and managing a work site
• Budgeting and working with clients
• Permits and codes
Leadership & outreach
• Leadership development: Help facilitate visiting participants and develop team building skills
• Multimedia storytelling: Capture and share your story through documentation, blogging and social media
Natural building is a part of the sustainability movement that is rapidly growing in our world. I love it! I’ll take this knowledge deeper, building and designing projects back home.” ~Shelley Stenzel, Apprentice who went on to start her own natural building cooperative in Chile, Vernaculart.
Today’s building industry uses half of our planet’s resources while generating half of our waste stream. This is due to over-sized, toxic building practices. Yet natural, small footprint alternatives exist that meet our basic needs while using truly local and abundant materials. The natural building movement sits at the nexus of a growing global network of solution-oriented initiatives that affirm and strengthen harmonious ways of living on this Earth. We believe that these practices can play a profound role in supporting a thriving human family and planet, free of financial and toxic soul debt. Natural building is part of a way of life that helps us live into our full natural potential.
ASHEVILLAGE INSTITUTE & SANCTUARY
The Natural Building School is a program of the Ashevillage Institute, a nonprofit that is host to an Urban Farm School, community resilience and leadership immersions, educational tours and special events. Ashevillage inspires participants to walk their talk in their own backyards, neighborhoods and communities. The School’s main campus is the Ashevillage Sanctuary LLC, a premier one-acre, eco-urban demonstration site, residence, guest house and living-learning laboratory that features a 20,000 gallon rainwater catchment system with five recirculating ponds and aquaponic greenhouse; beautiful edible, medicinal, and flowered landscape; natural building projects, including two naturally renovated houses, earthen and timber-framed cottages, a recycled courtyard and wood-fired earthen ovens. The site is located a few blocks from downtown Asheville and borders 60 acres of wooded parkland and trails.
Asheville, North Carolina is an incredible mountain town, full of artisans, organic restaurants, farmers markets, street life, yoga studios. It’s as local local local as any American city gets! Asheville became the first Bee City USA and #1 Beer City in the country, four years running. The vibrant downtown is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the gentle beauty of the oldest mountains on the planet. This region is one of the most bio-diverse temperate climates in the world. There is tons to do outside…besides mudding. It’s easy to fill a weekend with hiking, biking, tubing or some plain ol’ chilling out.
“The quality of information, care and attention given to each participant was extraordinary. It delivered everything it promised and more. We were not only taught the principles and mechanics of each building system but how to draw on our own creative process to apply them. You will not meet a more heartfelt, dedicated team of teachers and assistants. You might even leave with a new community of friends to help you build that project you have always dreamed of.” ~Michael Baral, 2012 workshop participant
Steveo Brodmerkel is a builder and building trouble-shooter (sometimes trouble-maker) extraordinaire. His keen ability to design effective building systems, as well as articulate the process in ways that are easy to grock, makes him a gem to have on any instructor team. Steveo’s very first natural building project is one of the nation’s finest…and that was after just a week of him getting familiar with the basics. Let’s just say “he’s a natural.” When Steveo is not putting materials together (or dreaming of doing so), he is hangin’ with his favorite daughter in the world, Soleil Dia. Either way, you can hear his hearty laugh a mile around!
Janell Kapoor is the founding director of Kleiwerks International, a nonprofit organization and global network of ecological design-build specialists who have worked with people from over 52 countries. Over a decade, Janell has led the initial trainings that launched the natural building movements of Southeast Asia, the Southern Cone of South America, the Southeastern United States, and recently, Turkey. Thousands of teachers, education centers, communities, businesses, training programs, and homes have been created by her students and collaborators. Janell walks her talk in her own backyard at Ashevillage.
Meka Bunch attended his first Cob Cottage Company workshop in 1996 and proceeded to build an incredibly cool two-story cob studio. Meka has since been demonstrating and teaching natural building techniques via public events and workshops, locally and internationally. He has worked extensively with Asheville, NC based Kleiwerks International, and with City Repair’s Village Building Convergence in Portland, Oregon. Meka loves creating benches, garden walls, kiosks, wood-fired earthen ovens and Rumford fireplaces. His work may be seen at Artisan Builders Collective.
Steve Kemble is an engineer who has been involved in the straw bale building revival from the beginning. He attended the first ever class on the subject in 1990, then went on to design his own home and sponsor the second straw bale workshop. Steve co-produced the first video on strawbale, as well as the book, How to Build Your Elegant Home with Straw Bales, and a Straw Bale Home Plans booklet. He has been teaching ever since, including a wide variety of techniques in a number of climates. Steve is trained in Permaculture and also pursues percussion persistently and passionately…He’s been playing the drumset since age 10! Steve is co-founder of MudStrawLove, along with his partner, Mollie Curry. They live in Asheville, NC.
Mollie Curry is co-founder of MudStrawLove with her partner, Steve Kemble. She started her mud career at Earthaven EcoVillage, and has been teaching natural building across the southeast since 1998. Mollie is deeply versed in cob, straw bale, slipstraw, earthbag, carpentry, as well as permaculture. She has a particular passion for earth plasters and paints. Mollie has written articles for various publications on natural building, permaculture, and other practical, spiritual, and emotional topics, including Beauty. Mollie has run her own natural building business since 2003. In her earlier days, she was a wilderness forest ranger and spent much time alone in the wilderness.
The total fee of the course is $5,200. Tuition can be paid in full, or you may choose to do the payment plan.
Payment Plan: Pay a $1,300 deposit + monthly payment installments of $488 over an eight month period. We must receive the first $1,300 deposit before June 10th.
If you would like tips on how to seek sponsorship/financial support, contact us.
3-day workshops are also available.
Please note: The fee includes 21 weeks of workshops + the Natural Building Extravaganza + all materials. Food, lodging and transportation are not included. The Ashevillage Institiute is an easy walk to downtown. We will be happy to connect you with local networks if you need a place to live. Students will need to supply their own work gloves, sturdy work shoes, pocket knife, tool belt, hammer, measuring tape, and a few other basic tools. Carpooling on field trips will be a shared expense amongst students.
Certain interested participants who have diagnosed mental or physical disabilities may qualify for state vocational rehabilitation program funding for Ashevillage Institute programs. For more information contact your state’s Health and Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation office.
We have ten available positions. Registration is first come, first served. To register, follow these steps:
1) Copy/paste and send the application below to email@example.com.
2) We will get back to you within three days to confirm availability.
3) Once confirmed, a deposit will reserve your place. You can either send payment in full or, if you prefer, choose the the payment plan option. If you select the payment plan option, please send one envelope with your $1,300 deposit, plus your eight post-dated checks for $488 each (dated for the 1st of each month, starting with the month that follows your deposit, ie: $1,300 deposit paid February 1st, $488 March 1st, April 1st, May 1st, etc. These checks will be deposited according to their dates. If you have any questions at all, contact us.
4) Mail all payments to: “Ashevillage Institute,” 80 Buchanan Ave, Asheville, NC 28801. Memo: Your name + NB School.
All deposits, payments and payment installments are 100% NON-REFUNDABLE. If you are on a payment plan and do not complete the program, your remaining checks WILL be deposited and we expect this non-refundable policy to be respected and implemented. If cancellation notification is given prior to May 20th, your fee (minus a non-transferable/non-refundable $800) will be transferable to another Ashevillage program within 12 months of notification.
The intention of this survey is for our team to get a sense of your skills and background. Please copy, paste and answer the following questions. Send in an email (in the body of the email or attached as a Word document) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
1. Name, date of birth, phone, email, home address, and name of program.
2. How did you hear about the Natural Building School? Be as specific as you can.
3. What do you hope to gain from participating in the School?
4. How do you intend to integrate what you learn into your life?
5. Do you have a follow-up project? If so, what is it?
6. Do you have someone you would like to sign up with, with the intention of the two of you working together following the Apprenticeship? If so, please list their name.
7. Please describe related experience that you have to building and/or leadership skills.
8. Given you will be part of a team, please share about your background working with others.
9. Please share three interesting things about your life.
10. If you didn’t participate in the School, what would you do instead?
11. Will you be doing Option 1 or Option 2 of the payment plan?
12. Do you plan to do some fundraising? If so, would you like some guidance?
13. Is there anything else that you would like us to know?
14. Please supply one head shot because we like putting a face with the name.
15. Please provide the contact info for one personal and one professional reference.