Natural Building

A shift in attitude comes of making what you need for yourself. You change your outlook from ‘I want, so I have to buy…’ to ‘What’s here? What can I best do with it?’…It’s enormously satisfying…Once you learn to create your basic building materials from the ground beneath your feet, your vision opens up.” 

— Ianto Evans


Earthen building is the oldest and strongest form of architecture in the world. And we love it! We’ve been building and experimenting with Earth and other natural materials at Mama Roja since the beginning. We have been slowly hand-building our community spaces and cabins, learning and sharing along the way.


Our dedication to creating self-reliant shelters leads us to use resources that we have naturally available and all around us:  sticky, clay-rich earth, long foxtail grasses, pine needles, bamboo, hardwood trees, stones…

In our experiments with different types of building, we have had a lot of success (and now have several beautiful cabins), and we have also had a few failures too. All part of the learning process.



Natural Paint: the way to go! Great colors, easy and inexpensive to make, non-toxic, and it doesn’t compromised the “breathability”of the earthen walls.


Way back when… Our very first Earth Bag half wall, before plastering:

Feet are useful tools:

First we built this cabin out of locally-harvested and recycled woods (because it was fast to build!), then we came back later and added earth- and straw-insulation to protect it from the elements and stabilize the interior temperature:

No project is complete without a pizza oven:

Our first guest cabin: we experimented with lots of different Earthen building techniques: earthbagging, adobe bricking, barreque, wattle-n-dawb…

The kitchen extension, a good use for recycled bottles:


More experimenting with the materials Mother Nature gives us.  Here with skinny bamboo and mud, to make the bath hut near the yoga shala:


Natural Building still means getting things level and built to last. Squaring up the window lintels:


As we grow, so does the Community Kitchen. More spacious and more beautiful:



Starting Earth Bag waiting bench at the Castle Bath House:DSC09116

Getting the adobe bricks in line:

neil bricks

Zen Plastering:


The view from the Throne in the the Castle Bath House:


Inside the bedroom, with finished wooden floors and ceiling, clay-and starch-painted walls, and built-in closet:


More images coming soon!