what is natural building?
To us natural/sustainable building means using readily available, local, natural materials with little embodied energy to make your own home. This can mean using adobe (sun-dried mud bricks), straw, strawbale, clay, cob, bamboo (an easily regenerated wood source), stone and second-hand/scavenged materials you have access to. Natural building technique are ancient and time-tested and house much of the population of the world. We use these traditional techniques with experiments and innovations people are discovering today to make them a practical alternative for modern days to the resource-intensive conventional building done today. We at Pun Pun focus on building primarily with adobe, bamboo, straw, and clay.
why natural building?
We got interested in natural building for these main reasons. It’s cheap. It’s easy. You can do it yourself. It’s sustainable. It’s beautiful. And it makes a great place to live in, both asthetically and climatically. For our climate, living in an earthen home means cutting down on the amount of resources you need to use to heat and cool your home as it regulates itself. If designed properly and maintained, it can feel like walking into air conditioning in the summer during the middle of the day without any help from electricity. Anyone can build their own home with whatever resources they have using natural materials. We started working with villager groups, farmers, schools, temples, women’s groups, etc teaching and setting up workshops so they could learn to build their own homes. If you have land like most farmers in Thailand do, you don’t need to spend any money or little at all to build your own home if you do it yourself and use what materials you have onsite. This empowers people to be able to provide for one of their main basic needs themselves. It is an easy way to build, not requiring specialists or specific materials so anyone can do it. We know 12 year-old kids and 60 year old women who have built their own structures entirely by themselves. And natural building drastically decreases our carbonfootprint on the earth by reducing the amount of industrialized materials used with high embodied energy.
For information on how to select soil for building, click here.
For information on adobe (sun-dried mud brick) building technique, click here.
For information on other techniques including cob, wattle-and-daub, and earthbag, click here.
For information on earthen plasters/relief sculpture, click here.
For information on natural homemade paints/finishes, click here.
To view our natural building gallery of photos, click here.