by kaiconfusion

Table of contents

  • IntroIMG_1954
  • Natural vs. conventional building
  • Materials and methods
  • Panya Buildings (pictures)
  • Related topics and links

One of the major factors that puts most of us in deep dependence of our monetary system surely is to have a roof over our heads. Paying over priced rents every month till the end of time or becoming slaves of the banks by paying off the mortgage for house and lawn are about all options we have.
The building sector also is a huge factor for the destruction of the planet and exploitation of our natural resources with the heavy use of cement, steel and toxic chemicals.
Of course there are many alternatives. I will mention some but try and focus on what alternatives are realised at Panya. The buildings and structures here are natural buildings primarily build with mud. This building technique is called adobe or earthen building. The buildings and structures at Panya are mostly build from people with little experience as it is a learning space. There are many examples of buildings around the world with different degrees of quality. For many of them it is hard to tell a difference between natural and conventional building.

Natural vs. conventional building
Why would anyone want to live in a mud house?
Houses like at Panya as” unperfected” as they might be can cost between absolutely nothing if all building materials and tools are on site or not probably more then a few thousand Euros depending on size and style. Another unbeatable advantage is that literally everyone can build it. Mud houses are sustainable and ecologically sound, building is very fast and easy to learn and they are quick and easy to build, too. They are much more energy efficient, they are biodegradable and recyclable. That means everyone can have his own house with almost no ecological impact at all and no financial dependencies!
The only thing in our way might be the authorities which we need find creative ways to deal with! In probably most western countries, the building codes will make it difficult or even impossible to build natural buildings.
Before we start such a project we need to look into laws and regulations of the country we want to build in!
In anyway it shouldn’t be a reason to stop us! Mud houses and other natural buildings if yurts, tepee, or wood structures have been build for thousands of years. Some of them have proven to be more earthquake resistant than conventional concrete buildings. The reason why it would be illegal to build like that, is to protect the profits needed so badly to keep the system running and us firmly tied to it!

Materials and methodsP1010955

Adobe brick
Most buildings are build from adobe bricks which are made in a mud pit to mixing the ingredients needed together without the need for tools.
Mud bricks are made from a mix of about 70% of sand and 30% clay plus fibres which can be chopped straw or coconut husks or rice husk etc.,which is then all mixed together with water until a thick consistency is developed. The mix is then filled in a mold which is a wooden form to give the brick their shape. The bricks are then laid in the sun to dry and become useable after about two weeks. For building the bricks will be laid just like conventional bricks with the mortal being mud as well.

Wattle and Daub

Another building method and still to be found in very old European houses and used at Panya is called wattle and daub. A wooden grid structure is build as walls. Straw is covered in mud to a kind of mud dread lock which are then smeared onto the grid structure to slowly build a mud covered strong wall. Once finished and dried these structures are very strong and have even proven to be earthquake resistant.

The plaster is to make the wall look nicer and to make it last longer as the plaster is a protection from rainwater.
There are many different recipes and ways to make a natural plaster and finishes. Plasters can for instance be made from a mix of clay, sand, water, tapioca rice husks. After plastering the walls, paint with a pigment can be applied on top to give it a different colour and to make it even more water and dust fall resistant. Turmeric for instance can be used to give it a light yellow touch. As with the brick making you work with your hands without the necessary need for tools.

Roofs in Asia are generally made from straw in a very simple manner, others are made from bamboo shingles and of course the widely used corrugated iron roofs. Most roofs are not permanent and need maintenance every couple of years nevertheless they are reliable, sustainable and almost for free.

Panya houses:

IMG_1850  IMG_1959  IMG_1938  IMG_1928IMG_1889IMG_1949

Panya Sala

Panya dorms.                                                                                          Panya kitchen.

Panya compost toilets.

If you are still asking yourself why anyone would want to live in a mud house or if you want to start building right now there are some links for more information’s about natural building.

Related topics and links:

Google pictures Earthen Building

Wikipedia sustainable building

natural building, adobe brick building , small house movement, earth ship buildings, straw bale building,
earth bag building, wattle and daub/ wattle and cobenergy-efficient building…

Web resources:
Related articles


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