The Art of Natural Building The Art of Natural Building
Design, Construction, Resources


Joseph F. Kennedy, Michael G. Smith and Catherine Wanek
Format: Soft Cover
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: New Society
ISBN: 0865714339
Copyright: 2001

The search for housing that is healthy, affordable, and environmentally responsible is leading a growing number of people to take a fresh look at building techniques long shunned by the modern construction industry.

Recently, books on specific techniques such as straw-bale construction, cob or rammed earth have become available, but there has been little to introduce the reader to the entire field. The Art of Natural Building fills that void wholly by being a complete and user-friendly introduction to natural building for non-professionals as well as architects and designers. From straw bale and cob to recycled concrete and salvaged materials, this anthology of articles from leaders in the field focuses on both the practical and the esthetic concerns of ecological building designs and techniques. Above all, this empowering guide demonstrates that anyone can design and build a home from natural materials that is beautiful, low-cost, and environmentally sensible.

Profusely illustrated, The Art of Natural Building is divided into five sections. The first provides an overview of the natural building movement from the various perspectives of sustainability, lifestyle, and health. The second section looks at planning and design, followed by a section that focuses on specific techniques and the vast variety of materials used in natural building. Next, examples of diverse natural dwellings are shared – from a Hybrid Hobbit House to a thatched studio and a cob office. Finally, complementary systems, such as solar appliances, composting toilets, and alternative power systems are covered. Packed with additional resources and a bibliography, this is the encyclopedia of natural building.


“…(A) beautifully thought-out and executed book, written and edited by a veritable Who’s Who of the natural building community… a trustworthy symposium of natural building’s most admired and experienced practitioners offering years of collective experience and wisdom.”
-- Judy Knox & Matts Myhrman, Out on Bale Ltd.

“Destined to become a classic.”
-- Permaculture Activist

“Highly recommended! Should be required reading for all students and builders – and everyone who wants a safe, secure, comfortable, enjoyable and sustainable home.”
-- David A. Bainbridge, co-author of The Straw Bale House

About the Editors

All three editors are central practitioners in the natural building movement. Catherine Wanek is the publisher and editor of The Last Straw Journal. Joseph F. Kennedy has expanded the boundaries of ecological architecture with NASA’s space station habitability module. Michael Smith is the author of The Cob Cottage (Chelsea Green, 2001), among other books.

Purchase The Art of Natural Building here >>>