• Projects

    Restoration of an earthen house in China

    Humble Homes is a site presenting interesting projects of small size but extremely functional houses, apartments, and retreats. I have been following it for two years and I can’t stop being amazed by the ingenuity of fellow architects from all over the world.  Naturally, I was fascinated by an article about a restored earth house in China. The project to which I attach a link is an old Chinese traditional house from a village in the vicinity of Beijing. Local residents did not see any sense in the restoration of a degraded and out-passed dwelling. The house was doomed to demolition until two young architects discovered it: Christian Taeubert and Sun…

  • Projects,  Techniques

    Revival of local building techniques in Marocco

    Salima Naji is a Moroccan architect and anthropologist.  Since 2002 she has been working in South Morocco ans is reviving the local architecture and building practices: “Nowadays we try to import building solutions from abroad but why should we neglect our architectural heritage. The Moroccan building traditions respond to all the climatic and ecological challenges we face in the modern society.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIEZl0RLsWI

  • Projects,  Techniques

    Martin Rauch – rammed earth specialist

    Martin Rauch is an Austrian ceramist who chose to work as a builder. He realizes many and very interesting projects in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.  He has specialized in rammed earth: a technique which compacts earth in wide form-works with the help of wooden or pneumatic paddle. In this short movie he presents his own house and the house of his sister. The two buildings are situated in Voralberg, an Austrian region.   Martin shares about rammed earth: “This is an extremely old building technique which, although it looks easy at first glance, actually requires a lot of practical knowledge and specific skills. I still learn every day after 25 years…

  • Projects,  Techniques

    Eco renovation in the village of Shipkovo – Bulgaria

    Violeta is the happy heir of an old wattle and daube house in the mountain village of Shipkovo, situated between Troyan and Teteven, in Northern Bulgaria, along the Rajdavetz river. The house is almost 130 years old and has preserved it’s authentic aspect – big wooden entrance door, large windows, nice proportions. It belonged to her grand father – a prominent  villager. She feels strongly attached to the place, as she has spent many of her summer holidays. Violeta wanted to renovate and adapt the building to the contemporary needs to spend weekends with her family in the  mountains.  She strongly wished to preserve the spirit of the place and avoid the mistakes accompanying modern renovation – artificial insulation,…

  • Projects,  Techniques

    The old – new Japanese earthen house

    This short movie presents an interesting Japanese house built from timber, straw and earth. The house in bio-climatic, it uses in the best possible way the sun light and is easy to ventilate. The massive inner walls keep the warmth of the only stove for a very long time.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0IYv6u1xYM

  • Techniques

    French site for light-earth building

    The light earth building technique is becoming popular in France and Germany. It’s easy to implement, cheap and guarantees very good insulation qualities. There are already many realized buildings and this motivated the french builders to gather their efforts and realize a common platform for the dissemination of knowledge and examples. At the present time a team of specialists works on the redaction of a handbook of good practices that will be useful for the next projects. You will find more information on the site: terrepaille.fr

  • Projects,  Techniques

    Modern earthen floor

    We all know about the old traditional houses and their earth floor. But there are few such examples of earth inner floors that have survived up to present times. These floors have been easy to realize, cheap and good enough for the everyday use of the family life. This short french movie presents the modern application of an earth floor in a french house that is being renovated with natural materials.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iHFeXG3yAE  

  • Training

    Earth building seminar in the Rhodopes mountain

    The first earth building seminar is full, so I propose a new week-end at the beginning of July: 1st and 2nd of July with arrival on June 30th in the evening. During this training you will get practical knowledge about the different earth building techniques: adobe blocks, light-straw walls, earth and lime plasters, pointing with earth mortars. You will learn to test and create your own mortars and you will learn what you may and may not do while renovating a traditional earth building. Detailed information is to be found in the attached documents. Inscriptions at: varvara_valtchanova@hotmail.com    

  • Techniques

    Canadian movie on natural plasters

    I chose to present you this short Canadian movie on natural plasters in which the craftswoman Sukita Crimmel explains the gestures and the good practices for the application of natural plasters. Used for millennia but forgotten from the modern building industry, earth and lime come slowly but surely back to our modern homes. They offer an incomparable aesthetics  and physical properties.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppn4yfqVA8k