Inspiration: Tadelakt

For the past week I have been learning about tadelakt. We began by creating test tiles and tadelakt balls, all as practice to create a shower cubicle. I shall be posting pictures of that shortly, but for now gorge on some beautiful images of Tadelakt!

Tadelakt is a nearly waterproof lime plaster which can be used on the interior and exteriors of buildings. It is the traditional coating of the palaces, hammams and bathrooms of the riads in Morocco. Its traditional application includes being polished with a river stone and treated with a soft soap to acquire its final appearance and water resistance. Tadelakt has a luxurious, soft aspect with undulations due to the work of the artisans who finish it; in certain installations, it is suitable for making bathtubs, showers, and washbasins and confers great decorative capacities. Traditionally, tadelakt is produced with the lime of the area of Marrakech. Tadelakt is a Berber word meaning to rub.”



Community Rebuilds Straw Bale house update

It’s been a hectic few weeks since the last house update, big changes have happened.
As well, we have been very busy with extra curricular activities that I will endeavor to update you this week!

The exterior plaster coat (scratched to allow the next layer of plaster, lime this time, to key into the first layer) dried up nicely, with only a few, acceptable, cracks.

We framed the interior walls, this really changed how we view and use the space. no longer is it one large room.

On the outside of the house, we applied a lime plaster. Kelly Ray Mathews came to share his expert knowledge, a large amount of sass and occasional epic laughs. We are using lime on the outside as it is a much tougher material than earth. It will stand up to more physical abuse while still staying moisture permeable. This is essential when using strawbales so that any trapped moisture in the bales will escape and not cause rot. We flew around the building in a record breaking single day!

Some of our walls are lathe and plaster, while others provide sheer strength to the building, so must be drywall. The lathe took a long time and nearly drove Dorte insane. The gaps between the lathe provide a space to push the mud into, this creates a tight fit and holds the plaster to the wall.

Drywall was screwed to the sheer walls and the ceiling. It was incredible that a wall the same size, took a few hours to lathe and 10 minutes to drywall. We want to use as little drywall as possible, it is a manufactured product made from gypsum that takes quite a lot of energy to produce. The lathe was beetle kill pine.
I thought the room would feel much smaller when we put the ceiling drywall up, but it wasn’t the case. I think because it’s white it bounces a lot of light around giving the feeling of a larger space.

The seams were taped, then mudded over to make the ceailing one whole piece. we spent a long time making sure there were no sharp joins that would be visible to the eye.

Next in was windows! Our house has eyes, or glasses now perhaps?
Our shiney new windows arrived and were installed in a day. We had a long discussion on the pros and cons of U value (insulation) verses E value (Emmitance – how much light comes through). When shopping for windows on a budget, we have to balance many options for the best possible result, having higher insulating windows usually wont let as much sunlight through. Meaning that while they won’t lose heat so quickly, they also don’t allow as much solar gain to be collected from the abundant sun.

Work continues on the house at a blistering pace, we have our schedule set for the next month and there isn’t much time to spare.
It’s an exciting month though, many changes to bring the nearly complete house into a liveable home!

Aprovecho yurt update


This update has been a long time coming, it’s been over a month since I left Aprovecho… but as they say, better late than never!

During the Spring Practicum at Aprovecho, and more recently the Sustainable Life Skills – Natural Building Week, the earthen yurt that we built in 2011 with Kiko Denzer has been developed!

During the Spring Practicum a woven bamboo roof has been installed by Gonzo and the team, to support a planned living roof.
Nyria also completed a stunning wrap around deck as her personal semester project.

Then during the SLS Natural building week, in a project led by Chris Foraker (from the same workshop series as this) These fantastic sculptures were added to the outside plaster. The mix was mostly earthen with some lime added for extra sticky.

I was able to live in the yurt for 3 weeks and it was a delight.
Such a pleasure to live in a round space!