Centre for Alternative Technology

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A Way of Building: Using locally sourced materials

  • Fri 26th - Mon 29th July 2019.
    Course starts at 2pm and ends at 4pm on the last day.
    Course fee including full board accommodation £440.
    Course fee only (camping off-site nearby possible) £272.

  • Dates, Times & Fees

Course details

Building structures from locally sourced materials is the ultimate way to ensure your structure is low impact and ecologically sound. This course explores ways to use earth, green timber, straw and stone amongst others to build beautiful, functional structures. It explores the culture of making and the contribution this makes to effective change for transitional communities in situations of rapid change and scarce resources, particularly in informal urban settlements.

The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in sustainable building.

Particularly suited to architects and self-builders as it offers a hands-on experience of tools and materials.

The course aims to provide students with the opportunity to design and make buildings using materials found on site or available locally.
Skills are site based, focusing on those of mason (wet trades) and carpenter (dry trades).
A hands-on construction project runs throughout the course.
This involves all students in a cyclic process of experimentation and focused group criticism followed by modifications to the original proposal.
As the course progresses and the skills, ambitions and interactions of the students become clear, a built form evolves which is quite unique.
The final product which is left standing as students leave is more a large scale model than a finished building.
Its form, never predictable at the start of the process is a way of learning about the process by which technology and human agency are transformed into a culture of making.
The seeming triviality of the objects being made is banished within the group as the work proceeds by constant self-conscious communication and iterative endeavour.
Meaning is attached to the building elements being made by clearly identifying prototypes and other precedents.
This consolidates the learning process.
The end of the course is marked with a performance given by the students in which lessons learned are made explicit.

Students will learn skills necessary in constructing structures out of a wide variety of materials.
They will also learn how to apply this knowledge in a range of scenarios and for their own projects.

The main tutors on this course are Maurice Mitchell and Bo Tang

Things you need to know

Due to the nature of this course some practical work will be done outside. We strongly advise you to bring waterproof clothing and steel toe-cap boots are mandatory.

You must be over the age of 18 years when this course starts.

Booking, Fees and Cancellation policy

To book a place on a course, please choose one of the following options:

• Book Online- the “Book online” button is either below, or in the top right corner of the screen and follow the instructions.

• Call the Courses Department on 01654 704 966 with your bank card details.

Please note: a £100 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place.

The balance of the course fee is due 28 days before the start of the course.

Our course fees include full board accommodation, tuition and materials, unless otherwise stated.

Please also note our Cancellation & Refund Policy
a) The £100 deposit and 1 day course fees are non-refundable.
b) For courses of 2 days or more when you give us this notice of cancellation:
• 28 days or more – refund minus your £100 deposit.
• 8 to 27 days notice – refund minus your £100 deposit for sales of £200 or under. On sales over £200 - 50% refund.
• 7 days notice or under – no refund.
c) CAT reserves the right to cancel any courses. Deposits and fees will be returned in full should this happen.


Course Fees.

Start Date

Bed & Breakfast the night before the course starts

Book Now!

Email courses@cat.org.uk
or phone 01654 704 966

There are places available on this course.

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