EARTH BUILDING WORKSHOP

Earth Building workshops are held at Chitubu Demonstration Centre. Earth building is an alternative and innovative method of building structures using many different materials such as tyres and sacks filled with sand.

The Project Workshop

SCOPE Zimbabwe Chitubu Centre provides space for the training including the site of the building which was inspired by permaculture design. SCOPE land is within a vlei, hence giving participants an opportunity to learn about earth building foundations in difficult spaces. The spaces built will be used for SCOPE meetings.

The training is designed in such a way that it allows for theory on introduction to earth building concepts followed by practical and engagement in the actual construction of earth domes. The methodology for the workshops are participatory, involving presentations from the facilitators and practical tasks in groups.

Courses covered in the training workshops:

  • Introduction to the Earth building course

  • Earth Building course Theory

  • Foundation work

  • Building Walls

  • Openings & Arches + buttresses

  • Ceiling & skylight

  • Plumbing, Electrical

A 15 day Earth Building workshop was held at SCOPE Zimbabwe – Chitubu Demo Centre in August of 2019. 27 participants came together for this training. Participants were drawn from schools, communities and like minded organisations with interest in green building. The aim of the workshop was to facilitate the spreading of green building concepts through establishment of green spaces at SCOPE centre using rammed earth techniques of tyre and sandbags. The workshop ended with the participants establishing two conjoined rammed earth structures using old tyres and sandbags which we yet to be completed.

The introduction also helped the facilitators to understand needs of the participants and thematic issues that required attention. In the end the two structures could not be completed leaving the participants unsure of the roofing of the tyre structure and the complete doming of the sandbag structure.

Earth is a useful resource in construction. Sandbags and tyres can be effectively used to construct very solid and stable earth walls that can be resilient to the climatic shocks such as cyclones, strong winds and other extreme weather events. Rammed earth can be spread into communities as a way of green building, that is not only comfortable but accessible to communities.

The training began with a participatory status reflection by participants to check the group’s expectations, fears, and to share the background of SCOPE Programme, permaculture and the relevance of earth building in this. This created awareness to the participants on why SCOPE was engaging in earth building.