The Earth Builders Guild

The Earth Builders Guild

The Earthbuilders’ Guild is an organization dedicated to the Betterment & Advancement of Earthen Construction of homes and commercial buildings.  We invite you to join us in this mission of preserving and promoting the age old building methods of adobe, rammed earth and compressed earth block construction.  The commitment of people in this industry stretches across family traditions, meaningful work, environmental concerns, and joy of working with the earth.  We want to insure that we continue to make history through our building process while improving them to create safe, comfortable, long lasting structures.

Earth Builders Guild


Earth building and Plasterworks
since 1996 specialized in:

  • Clay Plaster
  • Lime Plasters (basics tadelakt, authentic stucco’s)
  • Traditional Decorations (sgrafitto, fresco, limewash, marble imitations, etc.) and Restorations
  • Thermal Insulation, Radial heat systems, Damp Wall Treatment
  • Rammed Earth


  • enviromental-friendly materials
  • workshop-made colours
  • strict planning and communication
  • fully guaranteed, certificated and insured

Learn clay plastering with a Grundtvig grant

Grundtvig Course – Clay Plaster Part I 
New Educational Approach in Sustainable Natural Building Part I
(Clay Plaster – Module 1) L9/2012

Workshop for Educators and Trainers in Earth Building across Europe
Date: May 12th 18 h – May 20th 10h  2012

Introduction into the teaching methodology of the training course “Clay Plaster”
based on the training materials of module 1 – clay plaster basics
as developed in the European Leonardo da Vinci Project Clay Plaster
Assessment methods of ECVET – <<New>>
Course languages: English or German

Trainers: Burkard Rüger (Lehmbaukontor Berlin-Brandenburg), Uta Herz (FAL e.V.)
Place: Earth Building Workshop, House Khademi in Wangelin

individual grants for participants from EU countries via the European Programme Grundtvig mobility.

Duration: 54 hours
Course Fee:  740 EUR
Accommodation and board: 770 EUR (8 nights)

Comenius/Grundtvig course – Clay Plaster Part II

New Educational Approach in Sustainable Natural Building Part II
(Clay Plaster – Module 2) L21/2012
Workshop for Educators and Trainers in Earth Building across Europe

Date: July 14th 18 h – July 22nd 10 h 2011

Introduction into the teaching methodology of the training course “Clay Plaster”
based on the training materials of module 2 – clay plaster design
as developed in the European Leonardo da Vinci Project Clay Plaster

Course languages: English or German


Trainers: Irmela Fromme, Lehmbaukontor Berlin-Brandenburg (DE), Uta Herz, FAL e.V. (DE), Andrea Silbermann (DE)
Place: Earth Building Workshop, House Khademi in 19395 Buchberg, OT Wangelin
: 54 hours
Course Fee:  740 EUR
Accommodation and board: 770 EUR (8 nights)


The first module offers all the introductory theory of earthern plasters, soil analysis, mixing, applications, different substrates, problem solving and analysis – and the discovery process which is central to best practice in teaching this subject. For the first time participants who successfully pass an ECVET clay Plaster exam will be awarded an ECVET certificate. Read more about ECVET earth building 

The second module follows on with in-depth discovery as to finishes, pigments, mixes, applications, ornamentation, techniques, analysis and colour theory. The finishing of all clay work should be seen to be an integral part of any clay course. 

Information about the courses and to to apply for a Grundtvig grant


Europaeische Bildungsstaette fuer Lehmbau » ECVET.

AsTerre – Association Nationale des Professionnels de la Terre Crue


AsTerre – Association Nationale des Professionnels de la Terre Crue.

L’ Association nationale des professionnels de la TERRE crue AsTerre fédère les acteurs et actrices de la construction en terre crue en France.

Elle regroupe des artisans et des chefs d’entreprise, des producteurs de matériaux, des architectes, des ingénieurs, et des organismes de formation professionnelle. Elle accueille aussi des représentants d’organismes régionaux (parcs…) ou d’autres associations développant des activités dans le domaine de l’architecture de terre, valorisation des patrimoines nationaux, architecture contemporaine, recherche sur les matériaux et les techniques.

The National Association of Professional Earth Builders –  Asterra brings together those involved in  earthen construction in France.

It brings together artisans and entrepreneurs, producers of materials, architects, engineers, and professional training organisations.

It also hosts representatives of regional organisations  or other organisations developing activities in the field of earthen architecture, development of national heritage, contemporary architecture, materials research and technology.

L’association Touraterre announce ‘Le Village’, celebration of architecture 10th to 25th September

L’association Touraterre est ravie d’annoncer la tenue de l’atelier d’architecture 2011 ‘Le Village’, du 10 au 25 septembre prochain à Cavaillon (Vaucluse.)

Join us at conferences and many colorful which will mark two weeks of work, dream and achievements.
Announcement (pdf)




Theory, Teaching and Dissemination of a Vernacular Technique International Conference, Lyons, 10-12 May 2012

Organized by the Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA, UMR-NRS 5190) and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art
From 1785 onwards, the builder and master mason François Cointeraux actively
promoted a construction technique of vernacular origin, known as pisé de terre (or ‘rammed earth’), which was at that time confined to southeast France. His cahiers or fascicules from the Ecole d’architecture rurale (School of Rural Architecture), published in Paris in 1790-91, were rapidly translated into seven languages (German, Russian, Danish, English, Finnish, Italian and Portuguese). They attracted the attention of major architects such as Henry Holland (1745-1806) in England, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) in America, David Gilly (1748-1808) in Germany and Nicolaï L’vov (1751-1803) in Russia, founder of a flourishing school of earthen architecture in Tiukhili near Moscow, based on Cointeraux’s school of the Colisée in Paris. Through his publications, Cointeraux generated an almost universal interest for this material, as cheap as it was abundant, and encouraged its adaptation to rural or residential architecture. This success can largely be explained by a desire to revive rural architecture, which was in perfect harmony with both the physiocrats’ line of thought and the actions of agricultural societies. However, Cointeraux never managed to popularise its use widely and lastingly in France. His numerous publications did not achieve their expected uptake with the institutions concerned. He
is nonetheless representative of a culture of invention and innovation, highly characteristic of the first industrial revolution and the birth of modern architecture. The aim of the conference is to present a synthesis of the extensive research carried out on François Cointeraux over the course of the last twenty years and to re-situate his work in the wider context of the evolution of ideas and techniques.

Cointeraux conference call for papers

House of Five Dreams

House of Five Dreams

The House of Five Dreams by Jones Studio inc is a light-filled masterpiece that rests upon a lower level made from massive 4 foot-thick rammed earth walls. The 30,000 square foot house is huge, but most of its volume rests comfortably inside the earthen walls, which serve as a gallery for the owner’s collection of art and artifacts. The luminous residence above is protected from the sun by a movable screened wall which opens up to provide views of the Sonoran Desert.

Juana Briones House demolished

Only Pieces Remain: the Juana Briones House

The Juana Briones House, parts of which were built in 1844, has been completely torn down by property owner Jaim Nulman, who fought off historic preservationists, latino activists, and descendants of Briones for years.

This is a shame for those interested in historic preservation, and it would be interesting to see what was discovered in the process of taking the building down. I’m a great believer in the preservation of historic buildings, but one of the great sustainable aspects of earth building is that it can be returned to the earth at the end of its useful life. Here we see that in action.

You do however gain the most information when taking a structure down, and it would be good to learn if anyone documented the building as it was demolished.

Holy Cross Church restored

Holy Cross Church 2010

STATEBURG — The Rev. Tom Allen might want to cringe when he hears some people describe his Episcopal Church building.

“A lot of people, they call our church ‘the dirt church,’ ” he says. “Well, it’s not really the dirt church. It’s the brick church.”

Forgive people if they don’t get it just right. The Church of the Holy Cross is one of a kind among South Carolina churches.

That’s because it’s made of Pise de Terre, a fancy term for rammed earth.

Photo Gallery

Holy Cross

The tiny community of Stateburg is set apart by a unique collection of buildings made from rammed earth, most notably the newly restored Church of the Holy Cross. Click here for a tour of the church and nearby Pise de Terre structures.

Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.

Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church’s 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway.

He convinced his other committee members that using Pise de Terre would give them more church for the money.

Walter Anderson, who currently lives in and maintains his family’s collection of Pise de Terre buildings across North Kings Highway from the church, says his great-great grandfather was influenced by the 1806 work “Rural Economy,” by S.W. Johnson, and began using rammed earth in the 1820s.

“When you look at some of the buildings around here, you can see a progression of his confidence in the material,” Anderson says.

For whatever reason — perhaps some thought it too crude or perhaps because of the loss of cheap slave labor after the Civil War — this type of construction didn’t spread far.

And that’s too bad in a sense, because time has proven that Pise holds up pretty well.

Of course, just about every other part of the Church of Holy Cross needed a significant renovation after termites were discovered in the sacristy in 2001.

Charleston architect Dan Beaman of Cummings & McCrady and Charleston engineer Craig Bennett with 4 SE, Inc. helped the congregation with a decade-long assessment and restoration.

The $1.6 million restoration, paid for in part with a $250,000 Save America’s Treasures grant, replaced major sections of the termite-damaged trusses and roof panels, as well as the floor panels. Termites also had dined on the base of the pews and original Henry Erben organ.

Beaman notes the Pise actually is only visible in a small cross-shaped section outside. The exterior is covered by a coarse layer of stucco, while the inside also is plastered.

The structural challenges included finding the extent of the termite damage and devising a way to keep the roof on the structure in heavy winds — since the earthen walls would make it difficult to strap on the roof.

Instead, the roof is secured because it’s made of the same heavy concrete tiles that likely replaced the original wooden tiles in the early 20th century.

Beaman says the first thing they told the contractor on the Holy Cross restoration was this: “You’re not going to touch the Pise.”

That’s because the rammed earth really is what makes this church unique.