Natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality.

The basis of natural building is the need to lessen the environmental impact of buildings and other supporting systems, without sacrificing comfort or health. To be more sustainable, natural building uses primarily abundantly available, renewable, reused or recycled materials. The use of rapidly renewable materials is increasingly a focus. In addition to relying on natural building materials, the emphasis on the architectural design is heightened. The orientation of a building, the utilization of local climate and site conditions, the emphasis on natural ventilation through design, fundamentally lessen operational costs and positively impact the environmental. Building compactly and minimizing the ecological footprint is common, as are on-site handling of energy acquisition, on-site water capture, alternate sewage treatment and water reuse.

Our natural building techniques at Artisanal Structures rely heavily on human labor over technology. Local ecology, geology, climate, the character of the particular building site, and the needs and personalities of the builders and users define all of our projects.

Little Pond, Nazareth, PA

Little Pond is a cozy 1,400 sq. ft. two story three bedroom two bath timber-framed home on a rubble-trench foundation with straw-bale infill walls and lime plaster walls. It features a liveroof greenhouse room and a 58' long breezeway connecting it to a second residence on the 32 acre property. Timbers, flooring, and other wood elements were salvaged from a 150 year old local barn. The model home for Little Pond is “Laughing House” built by Cob Cottage Company.