7. PermaConstruction

direct mini-link to this page >> http://bit.ly/PermaConstruction


Full recording available to

students of the Academy

This class provides a solid introduction of the science & technology of the home, covering bio-climactic principles as well as choice of materials, location & design context.  But we also question the great emphasis which is put on more & larger construction by the alternative movement these days.   BioConstruction or EcoBuilding are terms which technically mean 'construction which promotes life' or 'ecological building', not something which is centered - yet again - on consumerist values: putting human whims & comfort above all else.  How or when are these 'bio' & 'construction' terms used in contradictory ways?   

So we coined a new 'perma-construction' term, to emphasize the fact that permaculture design does have very clear guidelines about what materials to use when, which are often ignored in most eco-building.   See Class 2.5 on Resources (slides 16 onwards in presentation) & Class 4.2 also - we have two whole classes on this basic issue because it is easily 'forgotten' when we became enamoured with a particular material or technique... that we forget what sustainability means.

Houses or Homes

There is such a large amount of interest in 'eco'-building in the permaculture movement that maybe it's pertinent to deeply question why that might be - since of all the very urgent changes we need to make to re-direct the economy toward a more sustainable direction, not one of them really require building more houses or more comfort for 'first world' people.

In fact our most urgent tasks are to re-build the homes of the thousands of species we have destroyed the habitats of, .. ironically in the efforts to make ourselves more 'at home'.

Not to mention all the houses lying around empty... what about "Reuse, Repair, Recycle" etc.?

Kiva House Design

Vídeo de YouTube

Nicholas Burtner discusses an ancient Native American house design called kiva, and how we can put a permaculture lens on it to fit into an eco-architectural landscape.

On Houses

 Kahlil Gibran

Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls.

For even as you have home-comings in your twilight, so has the wanderer in you, the ever distant and alone.
Your house is your larger body.

It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless. 

Does not your house dream? and dreaming, leave the city for grove or hill-top? 

Would that I could gather your houses into my hand, and like a sower scatter them in forest and meadow.

Would the valleys were your streets, and the green paths your alleys, that you might seek one another through vineyards, and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.

But these things are not yet to be.

In their fear your forefathers gathered you too near together. 

And that fear shall endure a little longer. 

A little longer shall your city walls separate your hearths from your fields.

And tell me, people of OrphaIese, what have you in these houses? 

And what is it you guard with fastened doors?

Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?

Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?

Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?

Tell me, have you these in your houses? 

Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?

Ay, and it becomes a tamer, and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires.

Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron.
It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh.
It makes mock of your sound senses, and lays them in thistledown like fragile vessels.

Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.

But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.

It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.

You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.

You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.

And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.

For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.

Jason McLennan on the Future of Green Building

Jason McLennan is creating incentives and new practices so that the built environment improves health and well-being while increasing our access to a diverse and productive natural world.

Integrative Design - Phipps: A Case Study

"Integrative Design" = Permaculture Design, only with less strict ethics & principles 

Using a unique integrative design approach to construct one of the world's greenest buildings, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is leading the way to a more sustainable future with its Center for Sustainable Landscapes, slated to open in spring 2012. In this video, "Integrative Design -- Phipps: A Case Study," learn more about how this process works and can be used to achieve the highest green building standards. You can also learn more about the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at phippsCSL.org.