"Until modern times the Chinese rejected the Euclidean model. Their building designs were informed by geomantic principles that recognized the straight line as the path of the dragon, the personification of destructive energy. This energy could be tamed by making it flow into curves and spirals. The Chinese understood in those days that straight lines fostered disruptive behaviour. Perhaps it is time to consider what a deadening effect the boxes we inhabit may have on our thoughts and emotions; of how our dependence on the straight line may cause us to behave."
(Alick Bartholomew, contemporary water researcher)
"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."
(Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet)
WELCOME to phanganearthworks
We are excited to welcome you on this site and hope you get inspired by what you read and see. This website serves the following purposes:
inspire and teach others the necessary skills to embark on their own "dream home adventure" (see workshops)
What participants had to say:
I now want to stop dreaming and start doing. (Anna, AUS)
You appear to know your subject very well and share your skills and knowledge with total openness - I very much appreciate that. (David, UK)
document the developments on our Thailand jungle hillside property (see galleries)
compile and make available materials centering around the sujects of alternative and natural building in general and earthen and earthbag construction in particular (see resources)
compile and make available materials centering around the subject of darkroom meditation retreats, also known as kaya kalpa
-------------------------------------------- EARTHBAG BUILDING
Popularized by Iranian architect and builder Nader Khalili since the 1970s, natural building in general and earthbag building (EB) in particular are becoming more and more relevant in a world where housing becomes less and less affordable. Building with earthbags allows the use of local, natural materials for the filling which substantially lowers the embodied energy commonly associated with the manufacture and transportation of building materials. Using earthbags results in extremely durable and strong structures (in a whole range of climates), for a minimal amount of money (compared to conventional construction methods).
Permaculture, an approach to intentionally designing agricultural systems and human settlements, strives to create highly efficient, self-sustaining ecosystems that benefit all forms of life. It is based on the understanding of interrelationships of elements in a system and aims at minimising "waste" by using the output of one element as the input of another. The result of intelligent permaculture design is an increase in resource efficiency, productivity, yields, environmental restoration, and natural harmony. Permaculture pattern thinking can be applied to environments of any scale – from backyard gardens to farms to entire regions.
phanganearthworks will host another two-week Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course, dates are: • 8 February - 20 February 2014
What participants of our past PDC courses had to say:
The last day of the PCD course. Time has flown by, it has been such an inspiring and empowering experience! The beginning of a new chapter in my life. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels that there must be a way to live happier, healthier, meaningful lives and reconnect with nature, ourselves and each other. (Danielle, Belgium)
This course has inspired me to export the permaculture ideas to schools and teaching farms all around the world. (Jeff, UK)
Beautiful site, great people! (Siegfried, Canada)
This PDC inspired me to become a better person (Dimitris, Greece)
I feel ready to tackle my own urban garden and integrate a food forest and other elements. (Julia, USA)
I am mentally prepared and inspired to do this design work for a living and for volunteer efforts. (Tom, USA)
I am inspired to get involved NOW. (Henry, Scotland)
I knew most of the principles and facts - I had read the manual - but the course brought it together nicely and explained the links between the different subjects/chapters extremely well. (Charles, Scotland)
On Living in a Box
"The straight line leads to the downfall of humanity." (Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Austrian Artist and Architect)
Our culture insists on boxes. You wake up in your box bedroom, you go downstairs to your kitchen, listen the news coming from a box, you get into your box and drive to work, you go up in a box, you walk into your office which is just another box, and turn on the box on your desk. In the evening you drive home in your box, maybe do a bit of work around your box, or turn on the box, before retiring into your box.
People don't realize how all these boxes affect our thinking and way of being! The human species has evolved with more natural shapes. When you do live in a natural shape you find that simple things are more enjoyable. It's worth at least experimenting not living in boxes, working in boxes, watching boxes.
(adapted after an interview with roundhouse builder Tony Wrench, seen in Ecovillage Pioneers, a film about the natural building movement in the UK)
was co-founded by natural builders and permaculture designers Hubert Huot and Julien Balmer in 2008 and is dedicated to disseminate and popularize permaculture ideas and earthbag building. After extensive study of alternative building methods in general, and earthen construction techniques in particular, among others at the Earth Institute in Auroville, they met on Koh Phangan in 2007 and began conceptualizing what little later became an earthbag adventure.