Workshops Overview

Building Houses with Straw, Mud and Manure


A series of 5 workshops to understand, build and design ecological houses with local, natural and repurposed materials

(for both professional and amateur builders and designers)

Natural building materials and solar passive design are crucial to reducing the energy consumption and the ecological footprint of a house. These innovative building techniques are based on centuries of tradition and on an understanding of the natural environment in which we live. These techniques are nowadays rediscovered through the inventiveness of designers who take advantage of what nature has to offer in order to create buildings that fit with modern comfort standards.

Throughout the summer of 2016 we invite you to come to the Gündönümü farm (Silivri/Istanbul) and build 3 small houses with us. You will leave with a better understanding of the benefits of these materials in terms of health, comfort and ecology.

Gündönümü farm and its owners Aysun and Mehmet Sökmen are the initiators of the “8bin100” (8100) project which intends to create 100 sustainable communities in each of the 81 provinces of Turkey. Building these houses is a first step towards establishing the “8bin100” project in Gündönümü farm and presenting future partners with a concrete vision of the project.

Each of these houses will be entirely built by teams of volunteers and during the 5 different workshops of the season you will be able to discover the usage of materials such as straw (straw-bale, slip straw), earth and manure (mud-brick, plasters, earth bags…), recycled tires, wood (structural frame, roof) or reeds (roof). Each workshop will focus on a particular technique and will allow you to acquire a solid knowledge and a practical experience sufficient for you to start building your own project. Each workshop will be widely based on a hands-on approach and experimentation, giving you tips on how to handle the material and how to face the surprises that may come by. Each workshop will include theoretical knowledge to allow you to understand and choose materials, and design your building accordingly. Finally, each workshop is a unique opportunity for you to built a house from foundations to roof.


Slip-straw (lightweight loam) Workshop

June 25th – July 3rd

The first of our projects will be a 5x4m house built using the slipstraw technique which allows for highly insulative earth and straw walls. We will complete this building from foundations to roof within the 8 days of the workshop.

> Details

Straw-bale Workshop

August 6th – August 14th

Our second building will be an occasion to practice straw-bale walls building. Straw easily ranks among the best natural bulding materials. It provides the highest possible insulation levels and is very easy to handle on the worksite.

> Details

Mud brick Workshop

August 20th – August 28th

Mud brick building has been around for the past ten thousand years and still offers advantages unmatched by conventional building. In this workshop we will learn how to produce and assemble bricks to build a small house.

> Details

Plasters and walls finishes

September 3rd – September 11th 

Because of the importance of plasters in natural building, a full workshop will be given on the subject of plastering techniques, including mud and lime mixed with cow manure, straw, eggs, molasses, marble powder or pigments .

> Details


October 1st – October 9th 

The last step before entering a house is to have a strong, water resistant, easy to clean and comfortable floor. Mud and wood flooring require traditional techniques that can be improved to get long lasting and beautiful surfaces.

> Details

Pin It on Pinterest