Materials and Methodologies that We Use


A Brief Outline

The Whole Earth Building Foundation uses earth in various methodologies in its building programmes. Our methods include earth brick (adobe), cob, straw bale, rammed earth (pisé de terre), wattle and daub (torchis), light clay (leichtlehm), sandbag and earthbag. 

Through the production process, earth requires simple application tools such as moulds, presses, shuttering and masonry tools that are accessible to a wide population of masons and self-help builders. It allows local populations to take charge and thus contributes to the expression of the democratic right to control our living environment.

Earth is a porous, breathable material with a constant relative humidity of 50%, creating a healthy environment. Earth regulates the climate in the building naturally. The earth is not fired therefore the unique moisture-regulating and heat-accumulating properties are preserved. Its transformation into a building material is realised without any changes in its composition and properties and produces no chemical or industrial waste. The elements of construction with earth are solid and reliable, easy to maintain and repair. Earthen walls provide thermal mass, which helps to modulate interior temperatures by absorbing excess heat during the day and slowly releasing it at night.

In many places earth (clay, silt, sand) is present in its natural form 20 to 30cm under the fertile top layer and can be extracted locally. Earth is often a by-product of road and waterway projects.

“Ever since humans learnt to build homes around 11 000 years ago, earth has been one of the most widely used construction materials in the world. A third of the world’s population lives or works in a building constructed of earth.”  Houben and Guillaud, CRAterre-ENSAG  


Earth Brick (Adobe) – Click here
Straw Bale – Click here
Sandbag and Earthbag – Click here
Wattle and Daub (Torchis) – Click here
Rammed Earth (Pisé de Terre, Taipa) – Click here
Light Clay (Leichtlehm) – Click here 
Cob – Click here 
Compressed Earth Bricks (CEBs)  – Click here
Timber – Click here
Living Green Roofs – Click here
Thatched Roofs – Click here
Earthen Floors – Click here
Recycling and Economic Benefits and Facts – Click here
Earthen Plasters – Click here



What We Do