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From Burkina Faso to Berlin and back

Diebedo Francis Kéré was born in a poor village in Burkina Faso but thanks to his hard work and luck he travels to study architecture in Berlin. Some years later he comes back home and builds schools using local materials, the available human resources and the traditional skills.

Ecohouse in the Austrian Alps

The Austrian architect Claudia Stahl presents us her newly built natural home. The structure is built from timber, the walls are realized from earthen boards. This way the climate in the house is healthy and the humidity is optimal. The house is about 70 m2 big and has many big windows and sliding doors that guarantee a direct relation for the inhabitants with the natural surroundings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-cKQqP67Dg

Modern wattle and daub from a japanese craftsman

The japanese craftsfman Naoki Kusumi presents a modern interpretation of a wattle and daub wall. He is the successor of an ancient family tradition which he develops and enriches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmK2HRA7BKE

How to renovate an earth plaster

Riccardo de Paoli is an Italian who lives and works in France. His passion is earth plasters. In his blog called “back to earth” he recently published a short movie that shows the gestures for the renovation an earth plaster. Earth plasters are not necessarily bruin dark. They propose a whole range of natural colors.

https://revenirsurterre.com/blog/

Cob houses in Romania

Ileana Mavrodin is a Romanian architect. She has worked for long years in Canada but when she decides a few years ago to come back to her home country she begins to build cob houses because for her this is the best way to connect to nature. She started with her own house but now she designs and supervises the building of houses for other clients.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBBywSB-EuM

My healthy summer 2016

The site “Healthy life” announced a competition – My healthy summer 2016 and I decided to participate with pictures of the oven that we built this summer with love and natural materials.

“Summer is my favorite season, because I spend a lot of time outside: work in the garden, restoration of the houses, herbs gathering, walks… This summer in the Rhodopean village Kosovo we decided to build a small oven. Until 70-80 years ago every house in the village had its own oven in which one a week tasty bread was baked. After we watched several movies on youtube we decided to go for an easy model, shaped directly on the ground: we shaped the chamber from chestnut  branches thrust directly in the ground and covered with a piece of cloth to withstand the earth mortar. This framework was used for shaping a dome chamber from earth and straw mortar. When the mortar was still wet we started a fire which burned for a few hours until the walls were completely dry. Then came the sweetest part… The pizzas that we prepared were extremely tasty. We have been using the oven the whole summer. If we protect it correctly from the rain and snow it could resist until next summer or then we could build a bigger one.

I wish to everyone the occasion to try with your one efforts such a simple oven. The children participated with big enthusiasm and are constantly thinking of new recipes.”

Movie about the use of earth in Bulgaria

Last year in the context of  a European project on the conservation of old knowledge and techniques in building, I gave an interview about the Rahovitza activities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVD-rjGkl7A

Bread oven built in one day

The bread oven has been present in every bulgarian house untill 100 years ago. In the rodopean house which we bought 16 years ago it was built as an external additional  volume with its own roof butt accessible from the kitchen. Unfortunately it had collapsed and as we didn’t have the skills to rebuild it we decided to tear it down.

Since then we have constantly been looking for an opportunity to build a new one. The baking of bread and other goodies is always a nice enevt! I read some books on the topic but still to start the construction seemd to me a difficult task: how to shape the inside camera, how to build the walls, how to make the floor? Since I came across the movies of the american chief cooker Jas Townsend, everything became clear and easy to understand.  Last year we successfully built the easyest and most primitive oven, directly on the ground. This year we will test this slightly improved version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJKxQ9YC7N4

The walls of the camera are made of earth and straw and are incredibly easy to shape. The materials are affordable and cheap. The oven we destroyed was similar…

Earth building seminar in June

A two-day training on earth building will take place on June 25th and 26th in the Rodopean village Kosovo. There will be a theoretical and a practical part. The techniques of adobe, straw earth and earth and lime plasters will bepresented in details. You will find detailed information about the event in the attached brochure.

Раховица_Семинар_Юни_2016

American house from timber, earth and straw

Last year I wrote an article about the book of Paola and Robert Laporte – Econest. In this short movie the two ecobuilders explain how nicely a natural house smells and how much more healthy the inner environment is in comparison with the conventional modern dwellings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRV1eZy5EIo