Natural / Alternative Building Photo Gallery

These images are provided as a service. Don't use them for personal profit. Feel free to use them for educational purposes. If you use them, please let me know—because I'm curious. I would request that you provide visible source citation (www.potkettleblack.com). Thanks.


The 2008 Natural Building Colloquium — East will be from July 27 - August 2. I go to this one every year. Check it out.


Natural Building Colloquium East, 2004, 2005, 2006:
Building With Spirit

Megalithic stone raising, roundwood timberframing, earthbags, earthen floors, earthen & lime plaster, strawbale, slate roofing, straw-clay, earth oven, cobwood & cordwood, bale-cob playhouse, wattle-and-daub birdhouses, reciprocal roof, temporary art, colloquium lifestyle.


International Straw Bale Building Conference (ISBBC) 2006
An awful lot of photos of the 170-some participants, and the activities.


International Straw Caravan
A week or so before the 1999 International Strawbale Conference (held near San Francisco, California USA), a group of strawbalers from around the world (mostly Europe) met in Tucson, Arizona USA at Judy Knox and Matts Myhrman's house to kick off a several-day tour of straw-bale and natural buildings in the American Southwest and on the West Coast. (Judy and Matts are the principal founders of the strawbale resurgence, publishers emeritus of The Last Straw, and Matts is co-author of the seminal book Build It With Bales.) I was very fortunate to be a part of this tour with these wonderful people. Twenty-four photos of many different styles, sizes, and price-ranges of straw-bale houses.


Photos from The Canelo Project
The Canelo Project is directed by Athena & Bill Steen, co-authors of The Straw Bale House book, The Beauty of Straw Bale, and the booklet Earthen Floors. The grounds, located on the southern edge of Arizona USA, contain many beautiful, functional, low-tech, low-cost, owner-buildable examples of natural building. This section is in three parts: thirteen photos of people (with many links to their respective organizations and involvements), thirteen shots of natural buildings on the grounds, and twenty-three pictures of the illuminating deconstruction of a weather-exposed freestanding straw-bale test wall.


Canelo Project, again
Some additional photos.


Southwestern Ireland, 2001
A giant mixed bag of something like 400 photos that the Dearest One and I took on our honeymoon. Castles to thatch to stone circles. (Opens in a new browser window.)


Colorado Natural Building Workshop, 1999
Twenty-one shots from the 1999 event held in Colorado USA. Earthships, strawbale, earth plaster, rammed earth, rammed tires, earthbags, unmilled wood, stacked stone...


Natural Building Colloquium - East, 1998
Twenty-one photos from the 1998 event held in Maryland USA, attended by people from all over the US and the world. (What's a "colloquium"?) Strawbale, bamboo, unmilled wood, slipform stone, earth oven, earthbags, poop in a bucket, PV...


At the raising of a small timber frame in Trumansburg NY, 2002
No captions, no real info. Just a few actual photos of a few actual people in the act of assembling an actual timber frame.


Timberframe raising, Strawbale Raising, Lime-Stabilized Clay Plastering: Ecovillage in Ithaca NY, January and April 2003
An large and unusual strawbale-timberframe-stickframe duplex under construction.


Large cob sculpture, 2003
A gorgeous piece of work in the strawbale duplex above.


Out On Bale, (un)Ltd
a.k.a. Judy Knox and Matts Myrhman. A couple pages of human-interest-type shots, plus a few barely showing a terrific bale-wrap retrofit project.


A Strawbale Retrofit and Timberframe Addition
A bunch of shots of Sam & Kappy's place in Maryland, USA. Good stuff happening here. Added: A six-photo update, including sawdust-clay infill and the making of an earthen oven.


Strawbale House near Frederick, Maryland, USA
Loadbearing, non-cement plasters, solar hydronic radiant heating, evapotranspirative graywater system, composting toilet. And did I mention that it's code-approved?


A Strawbale Addition
Another project in suburban Maryland.


An Artist's Desert Strawbale Compound
Four photos. Arizona, USA.


Miscellaneous
Anything that I don't have enough (good) pictures of to make a separate category (augmented by some reprints of photos in other sections simply to bring all related images together in bunches). Nineteen photos, fourteen of which are exclusive to this section, include a rustic owner-built geodesic dome, appealing use of driftwood, an old log cabin, earth ovens, straw-clay, gabions, and probably more that I'm not remembering...


Cob / Adobe / Rammed Earth... Dirt Walls
A sorta-subset of Miscellaneous section, this one devoted to dirt walls. Four of the nine photos are exclusive here. (Since making this directory, I've probably added other photos in other sections that would be appropriate here... but which aren't here. Maybe sometime I'll find the time to update these sections.)


Cob
Three more cob shots. Only three, but they're pretty big.


Stones
This is sort of a subset of the Miscellaneous section (augmented by some reprints of photos from other sections in order to bring all related images together in bunches), but is devoted to stonework. Twenty of the twenty-three shots are exclusive to this section. Quite a few of the photos are from Chaco Canyon - the site of significant native American ruins in Arizona, USA. (Since making this directory, I've probably added other photos in other sections that would be appropriate here... but which aren't here. Maybe sometime I'll find the time to update these sections.)


Earthbags
This is sort of a subset of the Miscellaneous section (augmented by some reprints of photos from other sections). Three of the seven pictures are exclusive to this section. (Since making this directory, I've probably added other photos in other sections that would be appropriate here... but which aren't here. Maybe sometime I'll find the time to update these sections.)


Underground Shelters
Nine of the fifteen pictures are exclusive to this section. (Since making this directory, I've probably added other photos in other sections that would be appropriate here... but which aren't here. Maybe sometime I'll find the time to update these sections.)


Strawbale
This section represents a wide variety of strawbale stuff, nearly all homes. It starts off funky and low-tech briefly, then careens off into a sloppy mixture of mid- and high-end houses because I got frustrated trying to put them into some kind of logical order. Sometimes there just ain't no logic to things anyway. Twenty-two of the sixty-one pictures are exclusive to this section. (Note that since I first posted these photos, I've added several more pages of shots in other sections which aren't included in this grouping.)


Strawbale Fire!
Yes, they can burn - usually, it only happens before they're plastered, or under highly unusual circumstances. And, typically, "burn" isn't really the right word for it.


Snow! (for balance)
A smattering of pretty pictures of snow on straw and stuff. Hopefully a little bit thought-provoking, too.


The Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
Photos inside and out of a big German-immigrant farmhouse from the 1750s in Maryland, USA. Some fascinating approaches and solutions.


Biosphere 2
Here's a piddling three shots of that infamous closed-loop greenhouse. (Snicker, snarl, or palpitate, no matter how you weigh in on things, ya gotta admit that it was a pretty good idea.)


Rastra
Rastra is a hollow-core block material used as stay-in-place insulating concrete forms. Some people say that it's environmentally-friendly: it's made with recycled foam chips, decreases the amount of concrete that would otherwise be used in a monolithic pour, and insulates better than solid concrete or hollow-core concrete blocks. Personally, I think there's more effective ways to diminish the environmental and financial costs of our buildings. These seven pictures show a large theater project of Rastra in Austin, Texas, which includes a couple Rastra/strawbale hybrid offices.


Bruce & Cheryl's Lilac Farm
I love this restful, gorgeous, off-grid, high-functioning owner-built place in the harsh climate of northern Minnesota, USA. Bruce and Cheryl have given me permission to post these nine pictures taken during a couple too-brief visits with them.



Collections which include photos by others, or are by others entirely

Bruce & Cheryl's Strawbale Studio
Fifteen photos of the construction of a strawbale studio in northern Minnesota USA, with bonus photos of a strawbale pit greenhouse, solar shower, and underground house. Photos and captions courtesy Bruce and Cheryl.


Build Here Now!
An offsite link to articles and photo tours of a natural building & permaculture convergence held annually at the Lama Foundation near Taos in New Mexico, USA. Photos by myself and others.


Mikal Jakubal's Strawbale Vault
Nineteen illustrative photos of Mikal's construction of the 16'x40'x20'-tall strawbale vault in seismically-active and rainy northern California, USA. Pictures and thorough captions courtesy Mikal Jakubal.


Sun Ray
Mind-blowing, inspiring structures made with roundwood, milled wood, cob, strawbale. Twenty-two captioned pictures of his work in the Pacific Northwest, USA, provided courtesy Sun Ray. An additional few photos of his work that I took, bunched together here from other sections for the sake of surfer convenience, follow in a Sun Ray Addendum.



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