Natural Building Workshop - Summer 2016

Cob Building, Green roofs, Earth floors and Natural Plasters.

Things you will learn and experience during this workshop

Cob Building

Cob Building

Traditional mixes and techniques
Earth Floor

Earth Floors

And glass bottle floor insulation
Earth Plasters

Natural Plasters

Preparation and application
Green Roofs

Green Roof Basics

Low cost and low maintenance
Lightweight Cob

Hybrid Cob Mixes

Lightweight aggregate and pulp
Mac SunglassesFoundations


Footings and stem walls
Timber framing

Post & Beam Construction

With untreated timbers
Earth Oven

Our Earth Oven

Enjoy evening meals from our on-site earth oven

Join us for this unique 5 day event spread over two weekend workshops in March and April 2016.

In this workshop series you will learn how to construct a 10m2 cob building using readily available local and natural materials.

This type of building could be used as an office, artist's studio, or sleep-out, and importantly, will be designed meet NZ Building Codes requirements.

There are only 12 places available for the 2 day workshop in April and 15 spaces available for the workshop in March. We are keeping the number of people of the workshop low, so that everyone can participate fully and get the most from the workshops.

The building will contain some of the following design features:

  • A timber-framed structure supporting a green roof and covered veranda
  • Traditional and hybrid lightweight cob techniques for the in-fill wall structure
  • Passive solar design
  • Earth floors with glass bottle insulation
  • Interior and exterior natural earth plasters

Prior to the workshop, the foundation, timber work, and roof will be completed so we can concentrate on the materials and methods for working with cob, earth plasters, and earth floor.


The workshop will be held near to Leigh, north of Auckland, close to the Goat Island Marine Reserve.

Graeme North

Your Tutors

The workshop will be led by Graeme North.
Graeme is an architect who is well known nationally and internationally in natural building, architectural, and permacultural circles for his work spanning several decades.  He was inaugural chair of the Earth Building Association of NZ (EBANZ) and chairs the Standards NZ Committee for Earth Building Standards. 

He was awarded a Winstone Churchill Fellowship in 2010 to study appropriate building technology overseas.

Meals and accommodation

You can bring along your own tent or you are welcome to find other accommodation locally if you prefer. Some options can be found on

There are basic camping facilities available on-site. There will be 2 solar showers and 2 composting toilets. There will also be a kitchen with cooking facilities and access to a fridge to store perishable food items.

We will provide drinks and light snacks each day. On the evening of the 25 and 26th March and the 23rd April, we will also provide a fantastic wholesome evening meal cooked in our earth pizza oven.

Event Video

Workshop Schedule

Day Activity
  3 Day Session: Friday 25 - Sunday 27 March 2016
Friday 25 March
Arrive at 8am. Start 9am. Introduction to the project, foundations, timber frame, roof structure, green roof and stem walls. Making and preparing the cob mix, laying cob. Relax with an evening meal- making your own pizza in our earth wood fired oven.
Saturday 26 March
Applying the cob to the stem walls and installing doors and windows. Hybrid cob mixtures and techniques. Wholesome evening meal cooked again in our earth oven.
Sunday 27 March
Further and advanced application of traditional and hybrid cob.
  2 Day Session: Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 April 2016
Sunday 23 April
We will be using traditional earth plastering mixes and techniques for the interior and exterior walls. Wholesome evening meal cooked again in our earth oven.
Sunday 24 April
Laying the glass bottle floor insulation and applying and finishing an earthen floor.

Workshop costs and bookings

The early bird special offer for these workshops are as follows:

3 Day workshop March 2016:
Friday 25 - Sunday 27 March - $400 per person.

2 Day Workshop April 2016:
Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 April - $270 per person

These prices will be valid for bookings received before the 15th December. After the 15th December the prices will be $450 for the March session and $300 for the April session. All bookings made before the1st December require a 50% deposit with the balance payable no later that the 1st January. Any bookings after the 1st December will require the full amount to be paid.

If you need to cancel before the 3rd March there will be a $50 cancellation fee deducted from the refund to you. Any cancellations after the 3rd March will be subject to a 50% cancellation fee. If for any reason we need to cancel the workshops you will receive a full refund.

To book your place on the workshop send an email to or click the link below.

Book your places now

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