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Natural Building Course

October 8, 2017 @ 08:00 - October 14, 2017 @ 17:00

Take the first step to a sustainable future by learning hands-on natural building skills. Understand the alchemy of how different types of earth work, and do not work together, their potential and limitations. You will also explore questions around sustainable living based in Peter McIntosh’s experience living off-grid since 1999.

This October, Peter will be hosting the second CPD accredited course at Jakkalskloof Farm, an organic mixed-use farm which also provides training in Biodynamic agriculture.

If you’re serious about building naturally and sustainably then you’ll know that each technique has pros and cons. That is why our natural building course is designed around the principles of understanding earth, how it works and does not work together. You will leave with the theoretical understanding and practical grounding of a range of techniques and materials, so that you are able to make the most appropriate decisions regarding materials and or sustainability once you are ready to begin your project.

Our course is comprehensive and covers a range of materials and techniques based on Peter McIntosh’s professional and personal experience working with these approaches and from having lived off-grid since 1999. Although the course needs to be comprehensive in order to give a feel for the materials you may work with, you will be empowered to be successful and make rational choices whatever the given situation.

Building & Design skills you will learn:

  • Earth theory and earth tests
  • Basic site layout and measuring
  • Passive solar design
  • Foundations
  • Walls
  • Arches
  • Natural plasters
  • Openings
  • Off-grid solar energy design

Materials you will work with:

  • Cob
  • Mud brick/adobe
  • Rammed earth
  • Rock
  • Compressed earth brick (CEB)
  • Straw bale
  • Light earth (straw clay mix)
  • Glass bottle bricks

Facilitator: Peter McIntosh

Peter has been building with earth since 1999 and as a result he has gained a unique level of experience and knowledge about the various natural building materials and techniques in South Africa. On a mission to spread the word about natural building, he has been teaching and running natural building courses since 2010 and has honed the craft of transferring the knowledge and practical skills so you leave feeling confident and empowered to start your own project.

Peter walks the talk and he’s been living off-grid and practising permaculture in community living for the same period. We grow as much of our own food as possible, and our home is designed according to passive solar gain with various green technologies that he installed and maintains himself, from solar energy, grey water harvesting, solar food drying and sanitation to name a few.

His passion for sustainability means that he is continually looking for ways to increase his understanding and improve his skill-set, including building with plastic waste and tyres. Recently he’s set his sights on social development and innovation within the industry. He is working closely with the City of Cape Town on several natural and sustainable building projects in some of the poorest communities in the city.

Who should attend:

The course is CPD accredited for architectural professionals, but anyone that is interested in sustainability, building their own home and/or with a desire to live more lightly on the planet is welcome.

All that is needed is an eager mind, willing hands and a reasonable level of fitness.

Venue: Jakkalskloof Farm, Swellendam

Lying at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, the picturesque town of Swellendam is bursting with heritage, culture and architecture with excellent restaurants and accommodation on offer.

Our venue, Jakkalskloof is located 13km from Swellendam on the R60 towards Ashton and Robertson. Jakkalsloof is an organic mixed-use farm which also provides training in Biodynamic agriculture on a two year student apprenticeship programme. The farm offers a comfortable campsite with self-catering kitchen, three showers and separate flush toilets. With breathtaking views of the mountains and stars, and limited cell reception your stay will be sure to relax and unwind, with a swim in the farm dam to provide relief after a day’s building activities.


Vanessa from Nourish will be providing the catering for our natural building courses this year. Nourish is an organic vegetarian restaurant and shop in Swellendam that serves fresh organic locally sourced produce.

Expect hearty, soul-filled nourishing lunches and teas!


This 7 day course costs R4500 p/person. You will be provided with vegetarian lunches and two teas daily. Accommodation costs are not included; please email us to find out about the options available.

For more information about these CPD accredited natural building courses simply drop us an email at naturalbuildingcollective@gmail.com.

To see what previous participants had to say, visit the Testimonials page; or visit the gallery for photos from our previous courses.


October 8, 2017 @ 08:00
October 14, 2017 @ 17:00
Event Category:


Jakkalskloof Farm
Swellendam Western Cape South Africa + Google Map
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