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Earthbuilding School

In-person workshops & internships

We are proud to serve a growing international community of

students, builders, designers, homeowners and educators

who create healthy and beautiful living spaces that don't cost the Earth. 

Upcoming Workshops for 2024

Announcing our Southern Hemisphere Spring Workshop Series.

If you book more than one workshop, we will give you a 10% discount.

The Earthen Finishes & Earthen Floors workshops will be offered back-to-back.

Adobe Brick and Cob Construction

13-15 September 2024, NELSON      Cost: $570

Over the 3 days we will cover two types of Earth Wall Construction - Adobe and Cob - using local materials. The workshop has a strong focus on hands-on practice and the development of high perfoming mixes. It is taught at our Adobe yard in (hopefully sunny) Nelson.

Soil Sampling

Making & testing a high-perfoming Cob Mix 

Making & testing high-performing Adobe Bricks 

Logistics of Adobe and Cob Construction

Building Site Set-up

Innovative Shuttered Cob System

Laying Adobe Bricks

Construction details services, windows & top plates

Tips on easy ways to finish earthen walls

We teach to the NZ Earth Building Standards 

Lime Plasters & Tadelakt

11-13 October 2024, NELSON      Cost: $570

Over the 3 days we will immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of lime plasters. The workshop has a strong hands-on focus with just enough theory to give you a solid foundation. We will be working on both sample boards and a real building.

Theory of Lime Plaster Technology

Materials and Mixes

Tools and Equipment

Plaster Prep and Substrates

Lime Plaster Base and Top Coat

Compatible Surface FinishesTadelakt (polished lime plaster) for wet areas

Decorative techniques (Sgraffito and Al fresco painting)

Tips on maintenance

Earthen Finishes

15/16 November 2024, NELSON     Cost: $380

During this fun 2-day workshop we dive into a wide range of options of how earthen walls can be finished, from high-performing simple surfaces to more creative textures and techniques. Clay speaks to the senses, has amazing health properties, and is cheap and forgiving to use. There will be a strong focus on hands-on work and practicing techniques, and you will leave with enough theory and recipes to be able to reproduce what you have learned.

Simple finishes for adobe and cob walls

Earthen Plasters

Decorative techniques (inlay, plaster cut and relief) 

Clay Paints and Alis

Breathable sealers

Ingredients and Tools

Tips for professional detailing

Printed Handout with Recipes

Earthen Floors

17/18 November 2024, NELSON     Cost: $380

During this fun 2-day workshop we teach you two different earth floor techniques from start to finish. Earthen floors can be installed over a variety of substrates, are cheap when DIY and are wonderful underfoot. There will be a strong focus on hands-on work, and you will leave with enough theory and recipes to be able to reproduce what you have learned.

Developing and testing mixes

Making Adobe Floor Tiles

Installing a 2-layered poured earth floor 

Laying Adobe Floor Tiles

Finishing and sealing the floor surface

Materials and Tools

Tips for professional detailing

Printed Handout 

Intro to Earthbuilding

This is a video one of our students made about a 5-day workshop that covered cob oven building, earthen floors, earthen plasters, Adobe brick construction and artistic play with natural paints.


Retrofitting with Natural Materials Workshop
Verena Maeder and Scott Davidson

Specialty Natural Building Workshops

Book us to run an earth building training or workshop at your place

We are very happy to come to your place to run a workshop or training. This can be anything from a fun 1-day pizza oven building play-shop, to a week-long specialized training in earthen plaster techniques for trades people, to facilitating working bees or community builds.

We usually require clients to be responsible for organizing the on-site logistics and advertising of their own event, but can of course help with this if needed.

For workshops we teach in a team of two and the charge for tuition is $1200+GST per day (for longer trainings we charge an hourly rate for preparation and planning), plus travel and accommodation.

A discount can be negotiated for community or school projects, please do not hesitate to talk to me about your options.

Natural building topics we can cover

  • Development and testing of different earth building materials (Adobe bricks, plasters, floor mixes, cob mixes, etc)

  • Earthbuilding design and construction (both load-bearign earth walls and hybrid earth-timber construction)

  • Set-up of large scale brick production and building sites

  • Different natural building techniques: Adobe brick technique, Cob, Light Earth Infill (LEM), Strawclay, Wattle-and-Daub and experimental earth building, strawbale, Hempclay

  • Different natural plasters: Earthen plasters, lime plasters, Tadelakt 

  • Natural paints and wall finishes: Casein paint, alis, lime wash, natural pigments 

  • Different plaster artistry and mural techniques: Sgraffito, al fresco painting, relief bas, inlays

  • Different earthen floor techniques: Adobe tiles and poured earth floor, including finishing options 

  • Pizza ovens made of cob 

  • Restoration of historic earth buildings 

  • Low-impact appropriate technologies such as compost hot water, compost toilets, rocket stoves and rocket mass heaters

  • Restoration of historic earth buildings 

  • Elemental therapeutic and somatic encounters with Earth - Water - Fire - Air  

  • Workshop Testimonials

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