Appropriate Building Methods - A way of building with locally sourced materials

5 Day Making Workshop Short Course Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Wales Monday 21st to Friday 25th July 2014

Date: 1 June 2014

Starting from experimental making with a limited range of materials, learn to make building elements which fit loosely together to form buildings which sit appropriately within the slowly changing physical and institutional topography of the city. Building structures from locally sourced materials is the ultimate way to ensure your structure is low impact and ecologically sound. This course explores ways to use earth, green timber, straw and stone amongst others to build beautiful, functional structures. It explores the culture of making and the contribution this makes to effective change for transitional communities in situations of rapid change and scarce resources, particularly in informal urban settlements.

The course aims to provide students with the opportunity to design and make buildings using materials found on site or available locally. Skills are site based, focusing on those of mason (wet trades) and carpenter (dry trades). A hands-on construction project runs throughout the course. This involves all students in a cyclic process of experimentation and focused group criticism followed by modifications to the original proposal. As the course progresses and the skills, ambitions and interactions of the students become clear, a built form evolves which is quite unique. The final product which is left standing as students leave is more a large scale model than a finished building. Its form, never predictable at the start of the process is a way of learning about the process by which technology and human agency are transformed into a culture of making. The seeming triviality of the objects being made is banished within the group as the work proceeds by constant self-conscious communication and iterative endeavour. Meaning is attached to the building elements being made by clearly identifying prototypes and other precedents. This consolidates the learning process. The end of the course is marked with a performance given by the students in which lessons learned are made explicit.

The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in sustainable building. It is particularly suited to architects, students and self-builders as it offers a hands-on experience of tools and materials. Participants will learn skills necessary in constructing structures out of a wide variety of materials. They will also learn how to apply this knowledge in a range of scenarios and for their own projects.

The course is taught by Professor Maurice MitchellDr. Bo Tang and Odel Jeffries.

Course fee: Waged £430, Low Waged £330, Concessions £200.

To book a place, please visit:

For further information, please contact Dr. Bo Tang

5 Day Making Workshop Short Course Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

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Book a place: Here
Contact: Dr. Bo Tang