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Natural Building Workshop coming to Vancouver Island

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Looking for some hands-on experience with natural building? There will be a natural building workshop this summer in Sooke from July 15th to August 1st covering timber framing, clay and fiber wall construction and traditional roof construction.

The workshop starts with a week of timber framing, which gives hands on experience in mortise and tenon timber joinery - a true craft. It offers you a unique opportunity to work with timbers as well as with others of like mind. For some, this experience could be a doorway into the rich world of wooden architecture and perhaps the beginnings of a career in timber framing. Regardless of your intent, the process of transforming a tree into the "bones" of a home is magical.

The clay and fiber (straw and/or wood chip) wall is the core of the building system. Learn how to efficiently wrap a building with a 12" thick blanket of dynamic insulation for health, comfort and building longevity. Called "light clay" construction, the walls provide a balance of thermal mass and insulation and allow the free diffusion of water vapour through the wall.

Finally, with their growing confidence, the students will learn basic roof construction and build the major components of this all important "hat", which will protect the walls and direct many millions of gallons of water over the life of the home. A well-executed roof should not only be beautiful, but last for many years.

The workshop will be directed by a renowned expert in the field of natural building, Robert Laporte of the EcoNest Building Company. Also, there will be a one day seminar by an award winning eco-architect and building biologist, Paula Baker Laporte, FAIA, called "Homing in on your nesting instinct". This seminar will be of particular interest to anyone planning to create a custom home and will address how to get the most out of the process through incorporating natural building, health and ecology.

The site for this building/learning project is at 7708 West Coast Road, just minutes from the town of Sooke. There is room for camping on site and natural healthy lunches will be provided.  For details about the workshop program, including an excellent video showing the steps of the workshop, see the Econest website www.econest.com, or Keary's affilate page on econest.

Keary Conwright is a natural home designer and builder living in Otter Point.