Workshop INDIA

Dear All,

Welcome to a two-day introductory ‘Earth Building Workshop’ (using mud and local/natural materials) at Van Vadi on Dec 25-26, to be conducted by Sourabh Phadke! (see:

This will be followed by a week-long ‘Earth Building Work-camp/ shram-utsav’ from Dec 27 to Jan 2 – to build and expand our existing stream-side dwelling, which presently has a raised mud floor and a clay tile roof on wood-poles and bamboo rafters, but no walls. (The work at the shram-utsav will also include de-silting our stream-beds/water bodies, and harvesting the soil for building as well as gardening.)

As we need to limit the number of workshop (Dec 25-26) participants to thirty, please ‘register’ soon! (About 10 have already confirmed.) In case responses exceed 30, preference will be given to those who reply early, confirming that they will also attend at least 3 days of the work-camp. Your ‘registration’ should include a brief introduction of yourself, with copies marked to Bharat, Neesha and Sourabh. (For the shram utsav, Dec 27 to Jan 2, we have enough work for willing hands, and hence no ceiling on the number of participants.)

On Jan 2, Sourabh may conduct a supplementary workshop on ‘earth building add-ons, finishing, relief work and sculpting’. But the final announcement regarding this will be made on Dec 26 at Van Vadi.

Voluntary contributions are most welcome and helpful! These would be shared: 70% to Sourabh (for conducting the workshop); and 30% to Van Vadi (for food, stay and a great natural ambience). While we may suggest a contribution of Rs 800 per person for the introductory two-day workshop (inclusive of food and stay), a lesser or larger contribution would be equally welcome.

For the shram-utsav / work-camp, we suggest a voluntary contribution of Rs 120 per day towards Van Vadi. Again, less or more would be equally welcome.

Nights will be quite cold and you need to be suitably equipped with a sleeping bag/woolen blanket, pullover, and whatever else you might need, including a flashlight. We presently offer only a floor and roof for shared, rustic accommodation. (If you have a tent, you are welcome to bring it.) There is no electricity or piped water. But also no mosquitoes.

Our rock pool (quite deep) would still have enough water to swim. But non-swimmers should not to venture in it unless there are a couple of good swimmers close at hand to help, and keeping a watchful eye on you.

In the evenings, we hope to have discussions on evolving an ecological forest village community and non-formal learning centre. Post-dinner, there would be music and singing; so please don’t forget to bring your music instruments.

And feel free to pass the word to whoever may be interested.

Looking forward to see you!



Building Case Studies (BCs)


The time is now! Brussels Cooperation members are leaving to Burundi! The project is called Building Case Studies (BCs), and we are going on an explorative mission to build a school for 250 deaf children in Burundi.

Ken De Cooman, Laurens Bekemans, and Nicolas Coeckelberghs have worked together with to bring the concept of Open Source to humanitarian architecture in Case Study n°1. We are now starting Case Study n°3 with this explorative mission, and it's our first step in really building together with the local community.

If you want to follow us and know what we're planning to do, check out our blog or check once in a while our facebook page with the links of "Building Case Studies".

See you soon! Lala Salama!

BCs Team


Cob I: 21st- 24th Oct 2010
Cob II: 28th- 31st Oct 2010

Learn how to build with mud, straw, water and a pair of hands (actually, feet too)!
Workshop participants will take part in the construction of a small cob cottage.
While the focus will be on hands on learning, we shall also learn about the theory of cob construction simultaneously.

Basics of Earth construction
Earth construction methods
Basic design and planning
Soil behaviour and testing
Building anatomy
Cob Fundamentals
Built-in elements in earth
Soil stabilisation and natural stabilisers
Natural finishes
Do's and Dont's

The proceedings are physically intensive and involve full bodied playing in mud.
There are 6 seats per workshop.
Registration fee: 200/- (Participants will have to take care of food, travel, accommodation, chocolates and the rest)
There are NO certificates at the end of the workshop. You can take back a ball of mud though..

Venue: Behind Gram Mangal Learning Home, Mahatma society, Kothrud, Pune.
Workshop Timings: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Please send an email to if you wish to participate.




Together with the Technical University Munich, the University of Architecture
Grenoble (CRATerre - ENSAG), the International Union of Architects (UIA), the
city of Gmunden and the brick factory EDER, BASEhabitat launched for the
first time an international summer school on modern earthen structures.
29 participants from 17 countries from all over the world came to work with
raw erath.

The enthusiasm and commitment of the participants led to the creattion of
this network and a manifesto for building with earth.

TO CONTRIBUTE, please register at >> <<

Manifesto - EARTH WORKS: for humane and sustainable habitat

Within the framework of BASEhabitat´s EARTH WORKS, the international summer school for modern earthen structures and sustainable architecture held in September 2010 in Gmunden (Austria), specialists from 17
different nations met for a three-week symposium.
Forty participants, most of them architects, exchanged their experiences with earth building, tested various
methods of building with earth, and deepened the theoretical basis for this work.

EARTH WORKS was organised and directed by BASEhabitat at the University for Art Design (Kunstuniversität) Linz, in cooperation with the Technische Universität München (University of Technology Munich), Grenoble School of Architecture (CRAterre-ENSAG), the International Union of Architects (UIA), the brickworks EDER/ Peuerbach (A) and the town of Gmunden, and was financially supported by the Erasmus “Lifelong Learning” programme of the EU.

On the basis of this broad experience the following jointly formulated manifesto was produced at the end of the symposium:

At present roughly one billion of people, most of them in developing countries, live in rudimentary accommodation that cannot satisfy even the most elementary basic needs.
Only a minority of the world`s population can afford a healthy and safe living environment. The built environment is generally constructed with materials (for instance cement and steel) which, for their production, require raw materials and enormous amounts of energy that are not available to seven billion people.
Building with natural construction materials offers a convincing alternative to such methods. Among the most economic of the resources that occur naturally throughout the world is cohesive earth.

As a result of their research work, experience and projects throughout the world the signatories have been able to prove that earth building is a sustainable answer to ecological and social problems encountered globally.
Thanks to its insignificant consumption of energy and its excellent potential for providing comfort a building made of earth is the ecologically, socially and economically most sustainable contribution to housing mankind, to climate protection and to activating labour forces, above all in the most densely populated countries on our planet.

In order to exploit this potential certain challenges must be faced and tasks undertaken, these include:
— strengthening the social and political support for building with natural materials;
— promoting research (into materials, construction and building methods);
— carrying out pilot projects and evaluating them;
— examining and disseminating existing knowledge;
— depicting the strengths, possibilities and limits of building with natural materials;
— increased training and further education;
— effective public relations work.

The goal of the signatories is to significantly improve the image of earth and natural materials as building materials and of earth building in general. To achieve this handed-down experience must be combined with efficient modern technologies while maintaining high design and creative standards.

This is where the joint answer lies to meeting the legitimate need of people in developing countries for a living environment fit for human beings and of those in industrialised countries for ensured comfort.

The signatories came together with these intentions and goals in order to make this experience accessible to as many people as possible through the world-wide network of BASEhabitat.

The next steps necessary include an in-depth exchange of experience and knowledge, the implementation of pilot projects, the dissemination of knowledge, and the formation of an image through national and international means of communication and media.

In the interest of achieving these goals the network BASEhabitat is looking for pilot projects, tasks, partnerships, organisations (business and industrial firms, universities, research institutions, political and development associations) and, naturally, financial means for research and development as well as for training and further education.
Important are, above all, the people – within and outside the institutions – who support and promote the goal of a humane, liveable and sustainable housing and living environment according to their possibilities.

Gmunden, September 2010


Manifesto English
EN-BASEhabitat_Manifesto (pdf, 143 KB)

Manifest Deutsch DE-BASEhabitat_Manifest (pdf, 107 KB)

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Manifesto - EARTH WORKS:...
Within the framework of BASEhabitat´s EARTH WORKS,...
clemensq - 6. Jan, 14:22
Workshop INDIA
Dear All, Welcome to a two-day introductory ‘Earth...
clemensq - 29. Nov, 14:19
Building Case Studies...
Hello! The time is now! Brussels Cooperation members...
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Cob I: 21st- 24th Oct 2010 Cob II: 28th- 31st Oct 2010 Learn...
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summer school on earthen...
Altough earth plays a crucial role for a social, fair...
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