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A Complete Introduction to Ecological Building Techniques (Cob, Wattle and Daub, Earthbags, Natural Plasters)

November 30, 2019 ∞ 8:00 pm - December 7, 2019 ∞ 7:00 am


About The Workshop

This six-day workshop will cover considerations on picking a house site including passive solar design, building a rubble trench and natural rock and lime mortar foundation, wattle and daub wall construction, building with cob, earthbag construction, natural, earthen plasters, and ways to heat your home in a sustainable and natural way.  During the workshop, we will build a rubble trench and rock foundation for a new structure. We will also build wattle and daub walls for a communal center currently under construction, and add natural earthen and lime plasters over the finished walls, including adding several clay-based paints. Additionally, we will be building a cob oven, an earthbag sofa, and visiting several other natural homes to explore the wide variety of natural building techniques used around the beautiful Lake Atitlan area. This complete natural building workshop will introduce you to several different and varied natural building techniques and is the perfect way to either begin your learning journey related to natural building or further develop your natural building skills.

We FULLY believe that the best way to truly learn about natural building is through hard work and getting your hands and feet dirty. Many of our past workshop participants have expressed appreciation for the fact that the majority of our workshops are dedicated to the PRAXIS of building. Our worksite features several earthen buildings in different stages of completion, from a finished cob cabin to a longhouse in the early stages of planning. If you are a learner through doing, this is the workshop for you!

For this workshop we offer private transportation from Guatemala City to Santiago Atitlan and vice versa. Lodging is at a comfortable hostel with WiFi and hot water in the vibrant and lively indigenous town of Santiago Atitlan located on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Included in the price of the workshop is a day-long boat tour of several communities around Lake Atitlan to better get to know the surroundings and learn about other natural construction techniques including vernacular adobe construction, bamboo architecture, and more. Also, participants will have the opportunity to participate in several recreational and cultural activities during the course of the week to enjoy the beauty of the lake and learn more about the unique culture and history of the Tz’utujil people.

The workshop begins with dinner on November 30th and ends with breakfast on December 7th.

Pickup in Antigua or Guatemala City airport is at 3pm on the 30th. Departure to return to Antigua or Guatemala City is on the morning of the 7th of December.

Antigua is a beautiful colonial city popular with tourists that is roughly 45 minutes from Guatemala City airport. There are reasonably priced shuttles that can take you directly there from the airport. The following link explains in detail the process: (how to get to Antigua from the Guatemala City airport).

We are available to answer any questions you have about travel logistics, what to expect or workshop content. Please ask!

Natural Building Techniques to be Taught
  • Rubble Trench and Stone Stem Wall: Instead of relying on concrete footers, we will explore how you can build a strong, reliable foundation for your home that offers both structural and drainage functions with nothing but rock, rubble, and lime.
  • Wattle and Daub: This simple wall construction technique uses a lattice of wood that is then filled in and plastered with earthen materials. It is among the most anti-seismic building materials known.
  • Earthbags: Filling polypropylene sacks with stabilized earth allows you to build massive, thick, and sturdy walls for your home.
  • Cob: A mixture of sand, clay and straw allows you to build the walls to your home that can then be sculpted into any design that you choose. The thick walls also function as a thermal mass to effectively heat your home.
  • Natural Plasters: A naturally built structure is nothing but a mud hut until you add the finishing touches of a natural, earthen or lime-based plaster that turns your mud hut into an earthen home.

*Each day of the workshop will offer a mix of classroom-style conceptual/theoretical instruction in the mornings and several hours of practice with the different natural building methodologies that we will be using. We will also have the opportunity to visit several naturally built structures around the lake and process what we’ve been learning at the end of each day. Each participant will receive electronic copies of several leading books in the natural building niche.

Cost: $500 per person, which includes:

  • Transport service between Antigua and Santiago Atitlan and vice versa.
  • Private lodging in a clean and comfortable local hostel with WiFi.
  • Two meals a day (dinner is open for you to explore the town of Santiago).
  • Water and snacks during the workshop.
  • Six full days of workshop.
  • A day tour of the lake, in which you will travel by boat to different towns to enjoy their beauty and see magnificent examples of the very natural building techniques you have been learning about and putting into practice.
  • Numerous activities that engage the rich local Tz’utujil culture and that invite you to experience the recreational possibilities of the surrounding environment.
  • Educational materials.

More Information at:





November 30, 2019 ∞ 8:00 pm
December 7, 2019 ∞ 7:00 am
Event Category:


Bahia de Santiago, Santiago Atitlan
Bahia de Santiago, Aldea Tzanchaj
Santiago Atitlan, Solola 503 Guatemala
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(502) 5359-4302


Utz´ K´aslimaal Collective
(502) 5359-4302
View Organizer Website