Austin Event: Natural Building Intro

Energy & Sustainability Home
Austin Event: Natural Building Intro

An Introduction to Natural Building Materials and Systems
Presented by Gayle Borst, Texas registered architect, LEED AP, natural builder
Saturday, September 20, 2008, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Habitat Suites Hotel
500 E Highland Mall Blvd
Austin, TX 78752
$50 per person, includes snacks and beverages

Natural building utilizes minimally processed, nontoxic materials and systems in a manner appropriate for the climate, site and intended use. It incorporates primarily regionally-available natural materials rather than typical high embodied energy, processed commercial materials.

This is one definition of natural building, but it doesnít reveal the limitless creative, aesthetic, and functional possibilities that natural building presents. Imagine opportunities for:

  • Thick, structural, load-bearing walls sculpted with seductive curves, niches and bas relief
  • Earthen-plastered walls burnished to glisten in the sun or behind a flickering candle
  • Richly warm-colored earthen floors polished to a leather-like luster
  • Brightly-colored lime exterior plaster ripe with depth and hand-applied character
  • Sculpted earthen ovens that not only bake incredible pizzas and bread but stand as works of art
  • Soft-edged straw bale garden wall and arched entryway with a curvy juniper gate

These are just a few of the many options. Whether your tastes are contemporary or traditional, your building needs residential or commercial, or your budget large or small, there are natural building solutions that can match and exceed conventional building practices.

We invite you to an introduction to a variety of natural building materials and systems, with an emphasis on those appropriate for Central Texas. Through slides and words, we will explore:

  • Straw bale walls and Cob walls, ovens and other features
  • Cordwood walls and Roundwood structure and decoration
  • Compressed earth blocks and Earthbag construction
  • Earthen floors
  • Natural plasters of lime and/or earth
  • Rubble trench foundations and reciprocal roofs

Come and investigate how beautiful, functional, safe, environmentally-responsible natural building could be part of your life. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or would hire professionals for our natural building project, this introduction is designed to inspire your journey.

Space is limited. To register, please call Gayle at 512-478-9033 (Austin, Texas; U.S. Central Time) or send her an email.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

View more articles by Luke Iseman


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.