If in general you’re looking for some good, natural building workshops to learn about a variety of techniques, designs and options, check out the workshops provided by EcoNest in Ashland, Oregon and the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, CA. EcoNest specializes in clay, timber and straw and has a variety of workshops in both their Ashland and Vancouver Island, BC locations. The Solar Living Institute has long been considered in expert in solar energy and natural building and continues to offer up sustainable living workshops in and around the Bay Area.
Straw Bale Building Workshops
If you’re looking specifically to learn more about building with straw bale, there are a number of organizations that teach the principles of this technique. First up is the California Strawbuilding Association which hosts an annual conference in the spring. They will also open a 3-day Strawbale Building Basics Workshop this October in Woodland, CA for $325. Andrew Morrison offers a series of straw bale how-tos and hands-on 7-day workshops around the country with upcoming classes in Meadeville, PA and Sacramento, CA this fall.
Cob House Workshops
Cob houses are built from straw, mud and other natural materials like timber and plaster. Learning hands-on with a knowledgeable instructor is key to getting the recipe right. An impressive list of cob and natural building workshops can be found at CobWorkshops.org. Otherwise, check out the offerings of the Barefoot Builder—they are hosting a 2-week workshop starting in September in Woodbury, Tennessee. The Cob Cottage and their associates also offer up a variety of workshops related to cob construction around the country.
Earthbag homes were pioneered by architect Nader Khalili and Cal-Earth Institute and you can enroll in a workshop to learn from the masters on how to build Superadobe houses. Two, one-week Superadobe workshops will happen this fall for $1600. Mother Earth Buildings will also offer a combo earthbag and straw bale workshop this month in Berne, New York.