Earth Building: Design and Practise (5 days, Chiang Mai)

2022 Dates: 7 – 11 February; 20 – 24 June; 25 – 29 July; 19 – 23 September, 19 – 23 November

2023 Dates: 21 – 25 January; (workshops proposed after March will be announced in January 2023)

Click here to see the full calendar.

Workshop organized by BaanDinDoi and hosted by ‘Earth Home’ near Chiang Mai (

Note: Another 5 day workshop ‘Earth Building: Design and Practise’ is organised in Chiang Rai: The objectives and content are the same, here are the only differences:

Chiang Mai: Stay in a room made from earth bricks; price 10,200 (discount options available).

Chiang Rai: Stay in a tent (or in a nearby resort/home stay) price 8,200 (discount options available).

Chiang Rai: Two additional days are proposed to gain more practise.

This five day course is especially suitable for those who:

  • want to gain a basic understanding of how an earth building provides thermal comfort and energy savings (in any climate)
  • have a plan to build an earth home (or any small-sized building such as a guest room, meditation/yoga/music room, outdoor kitchen etc),
  • seek an overall introduction to earth building and discover it by practise


  • Experiencing the satisfaction, effort and time involved in building by yourself. This will help you to find the right strategy for your future project (using machines, getting help from friends or volunteers, hiring workers or a contractor etc…)
  • Reflecting on your building project and making a draft design of your home that will be discussed with the group and the instructor.
  • Learning several ways to lower the building cost (design, materials, technique etc)

Classroom sessions

  1. Advantages and limits of building with earth and other natural materials
  2. Composition of and where to source the soil
  3. Basic knowledge of load-bearing, non load-bearing walls, building structure and bracing
  4. Walls reinforcement, connexion with the foundation and the roof
  5. Thermal mass and insulation
  6. Passive cooling and heating strategies
  7. Protection against rain, waterproofing the walls

Hands-on sessions

  1. Soil testing, additional use of fibers and sand
  2. Adobe technique: testing the bricks to find the right ratio for your mix. Preparing the mix and making bricks. Preparing mortar. Laying the bricks by hand, and by using tools. Levelling the wall.
  3. Installing wooden ‘gringo’ blocks to install windows/door frames, electric plugs, drawing, shelves etc
  4. Cob technique: Preparing the mix and testing it. Making patties to make a small wall.
  5. Wattle-and-daub technique : Finishing to make the frame with bamboo and wood. Preparing the mix and making the wall.
  6. Earth plastering (by hand and with tools): base coat, finishing coat, decoration (earth paint, simple sculptures). Learn how to find the right ratio.

Design session

  1. Basic of bio-climatic design. Bioclimatic design refers to the design of buildings and spaces based on local climate, aimed at providing thermal comfort, making use of solar energy and other sources (wind, rain water, trees, plants etc.). The main objectives are: saving conventional energy, saving money, protecting the environment, avoiding using polluting materials to create healthy indoor living conditions.
  2. Examples and case-studies of design
  3. Comments on the design of earth buildings at Earth Home
  4. Thinking of your own design for your building project
  5. Discussing your draft design with the group and the instructor

Organisation of the course: In addition to this combination of classroom/hands-on sessions and one specific day focusing on design, you will also learn through several short videos during the day and some evenings.

The course is designed to cover many topics to help you plan a realistic project that gives you enough information to avoid making mistakes.

After the course

  • You will be given printed handouts and the digital version of the training materials including additional documents (PDF files, Videos) and useful links if you wish to learn further
  • You will have the possibility to ask questions related to the course for free
  • If you want assistance to help you start your project, a 12 months support and guidance can be provided for 5,200 bahts. This includes
    • questions by email related to the planning, design and construction to help you to make decisions and start the project.
    • Three video calls
    • help for an adequate bio-climatic design, in order to make the building energy efficient
  • You will be invited to participate in our building projects (Learn by building workshops), on our land (Chiang Rai), at a discounted price (15%). This will allow you to get more practise and learn other skills
  • You will be invited to participate in our building projects (maintenance, extensions or new buildings) on our land (Chiang Rai), for a reasonable fee.

General information

Workshop in English, limited to 8 participants

Trainer: Alain Madec, natural builder and founder of ‘Baan Din Doi’.

Course schedule:  8.30 to 18.00 with several breaks; Lunch break: 12.00 to 14.00

All meals will be vegetarian food with some meat and fish options. Wifi available.

We ask all participants to refrain from any illegal drug use or excessive drinking while staying in the place.


You will stay in a adobe bricks room. The bedroom has its own private toilet and bathroom.

Safety/sanitary measures (covid 19)

We want to provide a safe environment for us and every participant. We organised the workshop and our place to ensure safety. Thus, the classroom sessions are in a open room (natural ventilation) and the hands-on sessions are outdoor.

Price and discounts

10,200 baht/person, including instruction, accommodation for five nights, all meals during the course. If you wish to stay one night before or after the course, please contact us for details.

Registration for more than one person: 400 bahts discount per person

Early birds: 9,800 baht/person and 9,600 baht/person for a couple for registration until two months before the start date

For more information or registration, contact us at