Earth Building: Design and Practise (5/7 days, Chiang Rai)

2022 Dates: 19 – 23/25 December

Click here to see the full calendar.

Note: Another 5 day workshop ‘Earth Building: Design and Practise’ is organised in Chiang Mai: 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 5-day workshop will help you to understand the advantages of a well-designed earth building: sustainable, natural, (in some case) affordable, healthy, long lasting and energy saving. The 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),
  • are curious about building with earth


  • 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)

Organisation of the course: In addition to this combination of classroom/hands-on/design sessions, you will also learn through several short videos and by observing and commenting our building.

The course is designed to cover many topics to help you plan a realistic project that gives you enough information to clarify your project and avoid making mistakes. If you want to gain more practise, a 2 day ‘Guided Practise‘ is proposed as an option after the first 5 days, as detailed below.


  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


  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.


  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

And … You will also learn by observing and commenting our buildings, and through several short videos.

Guided practise

Spend more time practising to get more confident and gain more autonomy, under the trainer’s guidance.

Day 1: Adobe: you will prepare the mortar, lay properly leveled bricks and make additional bricks

Day 2: Plastering (base coat and finishing coat): you will prepare the mix to the right ratio, apply the plaster and learn more techniques to achieve a smooth plaster avoiding cracks.

After this course

  • You will be given 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 to 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

Course in English. The course will be held at ‘Baan Din Doi’, 30 minutes from Chiang Rai city and will have a maximum of 6 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

Living situation

Participants will stay in a tent (one or two people). We propose this simple accommodation to help making the workshop price more affordable to people. We plan to have rooms for guests in the near future and we hope you will enjoy simplicity for now ! However, if you prefer to stay in a nearby resort/home stay, you will need to have your own transportation to come to the course every day.

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 at our centre.

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:

  • Practise sessions outside. Use of individual equipment (tarp, trowel etc)
  • Available hydroalcoholic gel
  • Negative rapid ATK covid test required to join

Price and discounts

Stay at BaanDinDoi: 8,200 baht/person, including instruction, accommodation in a tent, all meals during the course. Option: 2,600 bahts for the 2 day ‘guided practise’.

Stay in a nearby resort/home stay: 7,200 baht/person, including instruction and lunches during the course. Price for additional meal, breakfast or diner: 100 baht/person. Option: 2,400 bahts for the 2 day ‘guided practise’.

Registration for more than one person: 400 bahts discount per person (for the 5 day course only).

For more information or registration, contact us at