I started Building Connections to document the projects I have been working –on or been a part of– and to make connections with other fellow natural builders and permaculturists!
My mission has been to connect with people who are interested in a natural builder’s collective. For me, Natural Building is a lot about building community, about working in a team, about creating something beautiful out of simple materials that is also functional and manifests a radically different way of life and living than we are used to these days.
What inspires me, is re-learning to do things myself, to be independent and autonomous, and to take decisions in a team. My objective is to be able to take care of my own housing needs and the housing needs of my community. I want to learn techniques that our ancestors used over thousands of years and I want to build simple structures with my own hands, without heavy machinery.
I am originally from Austria, where I finished my Studies of International Development with focus on Latin America. My student time took me to rural Oaxaca, Mexico, where I studied indigenous organisation, learned about organic coffee and corn production, and I found out about traditional Adobe construction, dry toilets and greywater systems in rural Mexico where water is a scarce resource. A couple of years later, this would become my mayor interest!
After finishing my master thesis in International Development in March 2011, I took a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at the Balkan Ecology Project and it changed my life! I teamed up with Doug Crouch of TreeYo Permaculture and we worked on several projects in Argentina, Portugal and the United States.
Permaculture is a lifestyle, a huge worldwide community of people getting together and finding simple and accessible solutions for today’s challenges. Permaculture refers to a set of logical principles that guide you in designing your piece of land, your backyard garden or your community!
My approach to Permaculture was through my interest in Natural Building. I grew up in rural Austria playing with natural materials in the nearby forest. I remember my passion for building little shelters with the materials I could find around me. The current education system isn’t adapted to spur this kind of creativity, therefore my passion for building only reawakened after I finished University! Since June 2011 I spent most of my time working, work-trading or volunteering at Permaculture places in Europe and the Americas, mainly in Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and the States. Since 2014 I have focused more on clay plastering and design. I participated in a certified course in Germany to do clay plasters professionally.
Courses I attended:
2014 Designer in Clay Plastering at the European School for Earth Building in Wangelin, Germany
2013 Permaculture Teacher Training with Rosemary Morrow in Perpignan, France
2013 Natural Building Internship at Aprovecho, Oregon, USA. This hand’s on program was focused on earthen and lime plasters, timber and roundpole framing, roofing options (green and cedar shakes), rocket stove theory and practice, introduction to forging. http://aprovecho.net/
2012 Natural Cottage Project at Strawbale Studio, Michigan, USA. A start-to-finish project: Timber framing, strawbale building, thatching, cob, and earthen plasters. http://naturalcottageproject.com
2012 WASI Sustainability Training in El Manzano, Chile. This training was focused on food, water and shelter. http://www.elmanzano.org
2012 Bioconstruyendo in El Bolsón, Argentina. Introduction to natural building techniques, including adobe, quincha, super adobe, rocket stoves, cob ovens, geodesic domes and permaculture gardening. http://www.bioconstruyendo.org
2011 Permaculture Design Course at Permaship, Bulgaria. The classic certified PDC with TreeYo Permaculture, following Bill Mollison’s Curriculum of the Designer’s Manual. http://www.balkep.org