Natural Building Practicum

The Natural Building Practicum (NBP) is phase two of the Natural Building Semester.  The NBP is an eight week program focused on three primary learning objectives:

  1. Build confidence through experience with natural building and design techniques learned during the Shelter Series.
  2. Provide Sustainable Livelihood training helping students interested in pursuing a career as a designer/builder understand the basics of starting and marketing a business.
  3. Develop design/build leadership abilities through student determined design/build projects.  More information below:

Student Design/Build Projects

During the Natural Building Semester each student is expected to design and build a project using skills and techniques learned earlier in the semester during the Sustainable Shelter Series.  Design/build projects are an important part of Aprovecho’s educational model based on the belief that only through practice does one acquire the knowledge of a new skill or technique.  By taking the leadership role in a project’s design and implementation students are able to witness the entirety of the building process while gaining confidence through experience in specific skill areas chosen by themselves.

The design/build process includes guidance and practice in the areas of:

  • design
  • drafting and modeling
  • developing timelines and budgets
  • material acquisition and processing
  • client communication
  • crew leadership
  • and a variety of natural building techniques

Support for the design/build projects is provided by Aprovecho’s staff giving students a safe place to make mistakes, learn new techniques and discover new ideas.  Students are expected to present their design/build projects at the end of the course adding an important installment to their personal portfolio.  Below are just some examples from students of past design/build projects:

Stacey Delgado’s Gnome Home

Sara Tamler’s Barrel Oven

Chris and J.J.’s Earthen Relaxation Pools

Connor Anderson’s Blacksmithing Shop

Jeffrey Hart’s Tiny Home Dome

Brett Sasine’s Tipi

The Natural Building Practicum is primarily for students attending the Natural Building Semester.  This program can however serve students with the appropriate amount of pre-existing experience.