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Natural Building Workshop – Earthbag, Bottle Building and Rendering Workshop

October 1 - October 3


About the workshop

For thousands of years, ever since humans decided to build a shelter in which to live, earth shelters and natural building techniques have been used to construct homes throughout the world. Natural building structures are becoming popular again as a sustainable building choice

Bottles have been used to construct entire houses adding light, insulation and creativity, recycling locally available materials and minimising waste. Together with earth or daub the most beautiful structures can be formed.

Earthbag construction has also be used to create inexpensive, strong and long-lasting structures such as housing and bunkers that can be built relatively quickly. Unlike concrete, brick or wood, no energy is needed to produce the earthen fill other than gathering on-site soil. So, it uses very little energy compared to other durable construction methods.

These simple natural building techniques are versatile, sustainable, healthy and fun providing endless options for artistic expression to combine in your home and garden, as well as other projects around your house such as fences, tool sheds or animal housing.


The Project – Earthbag, bottle building and rendered bench seat

Over this long weekend you will be building an outdoor garden circular bench seat and bottle wall. You will be constructing the bench seat from earthbags and render then constructing the back wall of the bench seat with bottles and render. It’s a creative project that involves a range of different natural building skills and learning.



Workshop Outcomes

This workshop will provide you with basic natural building skills especially earthbag construction, rendering, working with bottles and other recycled materials, and bottle wall building. This workshop combines theory with practical hands-on sessions over three full days. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to be able to make your own bottle walls, bench seats and other creative features in your home garden, school or community garden. The workshop also includes theory, evening discussions, presentations and films after dinner Saturday and Sunday. This allows for further information and theory on earth building to be gained.

You will be taken through the process from sourcing the materials from the land to construction and completion so you will be able to replicate the process yourself. You will also learn:

  • What natural and ecological building is, its terminology, concepts and principles
  • Choosing appropriate natural building technique suitable to place and situation
  • Rendering techniques and options for different situations.
  • Identifying suitable materials from your site
  • Building with earthbags and bottles
  • Soil testing, how to make render and different rendering techniques.

There will also be opportunities to see and discuss other inspiring natural buildings and on-site structures such as a straw-bale building, bamboo, wattle and daub and an earthbag dome building.

About the Trainer 

Sam Vivers
Director, Viva Living Homes – www.vivahomes.com.au

  • Environmental straw bale building company
  • Bachelor of Economics (Agriculture)
  • Diploma in Building
  • Licensed Builder and Supervisor
  • Master Builder with Master Builder’s Association
  • Cert IV – Training & Assessing
  • Certified Carpenter
  • Building Thermal & Assessment Course (Australian energy rating course)
  • NSW Representative & President of Australasian Straw Bale Building
    Association (Ausbale)
  • Member of Earth Building Assoc of Australia (EBAA)
  • Runs straw bale demonstrations at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Day
  • Straw bale building course (TAFE accredited) to builders, owner builders,
    engineers, architects and councils
  • Teaches Strawbale Building Courses at AREC, Natural Building Courses at
    Milkwood and Narara Eco Village


  • 22 years+ building homes. 17 years straw bale & earth homes, started in the
    year 2000, building one of Australia’s first straw bale homes
  • Built 3 of his own straw bale and earth homes.
  • Built 50+ straw bale and earth complete homes for clients.
  • MBA Excellence in Housing Award Winner in 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020

Onsite accommodation:

Workshop participants receive PSI rates for on-site accommodation. Rates include breakfast and dinner. See camping; twin share or private double accommodation options here.



October 1
October 3
Event Categories:
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
+ Google Map
(02) 4568 2036