Workshop in Chiang Dao, March 2015.

Have you ever wanted to build your own home?  Interested in eco building but don’t know much about it?  Fancy a holiday with a difference, getting your hands and feet dirty building with muddy earth?  Come and join our workshop at Chiang Dao Roundhouses and find out exactly how these amazing roundhouses are made.  Rice husks (hulls) and sand, lime and mud, bamboo and local materials combine together to make a roundhouse with a domed roof.  The thick walls will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.  You may have heard of earthbag domes.  Well, ours is a rice-husks-in-bags dome!

I will be facilitating the workshop, after building and perfecting this method for the past 2 years, as you can see from all the previous Blogs.

The workshop will start on 10th March (arrival of participants 9th March) and end on 20th March.  Cost for the workshop will be I0,000 Baht.  Accommodation (for 10 people only) will be available on site in Roundhouse dorms and meals are included for a further 2000 Baht.  Other accommodation is available nearby in guest houses in the village.  A non refundable deposit of 2000 Baht will reserve your place, and the balance is due by the end of February 2015.

A Roundhouse made from bags of rice husks, earth, sand, bamboo and other local materials.

A Roundhouse made from bags of rice husks, earth, sand, bamboo and other local materials.

This is something like the dome we are planning on building in the workshop.  However, all buildings are different and develop their own personality as the building progresses.  I wonder what the final building will look like?  It is one of the exciting things about natural building, at least my natural buildings.  No plans, just ideas, plus using all the experience I have had building the other 9 round buildings on the site.

The foundation will be in place before you arrive for the workshop.  I will show you, using photographs, exactly how it is made.  This is the theory part of the workshop.

This is the framework of bamboo and steel that I call a ‘birdcage’.

This is the framework of bamboo and steel that I call a ‘birdcage’.

We will begin the practical by building a spectacular ‘birdcage’ using bamboo and steel, and adding in the windows and doors (all second hand teak wood).

Next is to add the infill of bags of rice husks.  This work goes very quickly as the bags are light weight.  We will need to re-make some of the bags to go into the ceiling as these need to be smaller than the wall bags.

Bags filled with rice husks attached to the birdcage make up the walls.

Bags filled with rice husks attached to the birdcage make up the walls.

Smaller bags are attached to the domed roof.

Smaller bags are attached to the domed roof.

Now we get the chance to get muddy!  Our plaster is a mix of mud, sand, rice husks and lime, and some straw.  We need about four layers on the walls before the final finish of smooth and beautiful plaster.  As we will not have time to let the coats on this building dry so that we can get to the final plaster, we will finish off one of the other buildings on site, so that you will have a chance to mix and apply different kinds of plaster.

Mixing the mud plaster for the walls.

Mixing the mud plaster for the walls.

Covering the bags with mud plaster.

Covering the bags with mud plaster.

Applying the final layer of smooth plaster to inside walls.

Applying the final layer of smooth plaster to inside walls.

Applying the final layer of smooth plaster to inside walls.  Note the shelves, made from woven bamboo covered with plaster, and the bench seat, which has an earthbag base.

In 10 days we will also not have time to put up the roof.  I am intending to try a new method of split bamboo tiles for this roof.  We will spend some time discussing (with photographs) different types of roofing and may even work out some completely new ideas!

To book your place or for more information contact me at maggimck@yahoo.com or through my website www.chiangdao-roundhouses.com

A finished roundhouse.

A finished roundhouse.

A ‘finished’ roundhouse – not that they are ever completely finished as long as one has imagination, mud to paint, straw to sculpt and more and more ideas…..

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4 comments on “Workshop in Chiang Dao, March 2015.

  1. Mickey says:

    Do you have any pics of the past workshop ..and how did it go.?

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    • Yes, Mickey. New blog coming up in the next few days about the workshop (which went very well! Thank you for asking.) including photos. Hope you enjoy it!

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      • Mickey says:

        Maggi
        Can’t find the info of the last workshop..
        But I have a few questions .
        I am in the Philippines and wanting to help some local folks with housing .
        Question
        Do you think this method of rice hulls is easier or cheaper than earthbags?
        I have built a earthbag house ..so no problem doing it .but the next project I don’t have ready soil..need to buy..
        And rice hulls here are very cheap and also flour sacks..bamboo..cheap ..labour cheap ..under 250 baht per day

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  2. Hi Mickey,
    Still have not got around to the blog – sorry about that. But, if you scroll to the beginning of all the blogs you will find that there is a step by step description of each stage of the building..Rice hulls (husks) are much easier and cheaper than earth bags. Not only that but they are drier. During the rainy season inside the domes is lovely and dry, but inside my earth bag dome it is damp (I have asthma so this important for me). In the rice husk bag dome books etc are all perfectly dry and one person who did some laundry hung clothes to dry inside, and some outside overnight under cover, and those inside were dry but not those outside. I can really recommend it. The only thing we don’t know is what happens in the future, as no one has any rice husk bag buildings more than a few years old. I am confident, however! I am more than happy to be with you step by step to answer any questions. It is great that you are considering building this way! I am sure you will have some innovative ideas as you build, all of which can add to the body of knowledge of rice husk bag homes! The major differences in the new dome (workshop) is that I used wooden pillars to hold up the dome, and I am now in the process of putting a split bamboo tile roof on top of the dome, which has already been covered with lime plaster. Looking forward to hearing about your build!

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