Earth Build Europe 2021, Friday 7th May.


Book your place on Earth Build Europe 2021, starts 8:45am (London) 9:45am (Paris), doors open 15 minutes earlier.


Attendees: Get help with the conference software.  Speakers: See our guide for film makers.


Europe's earth building heritage came under sustained attack in the 20th century. Slowly our earthen heritage is rediscovering its place as a key contributor to the built environment. Happily Europe is currently experiencing a rapid growth in skills, knowledge, competence, experience, research and regulation, but it is also experiencing cultural resistance, climate crisis and network challenges.

Earth Build Europe [] offers ways to understand the threads of these multiple challenges and in this event we discuss how they weave together and how they can be enlivened, strengthened and grown. We are blending voices from Organisations, Industry and the Digital World, bridging the gaps between different disciplines and actors, skills and knowledge, users and producers, designers and practitioners, regulators and funders and the wider, seemingly indifferent, society.

How the event works:

The hosts will lead three conversations, each featuring three or four 15 minute presentations by our key speakers. During the presentations attendees can pose questions which are addressed in  the three Q&A sessions. Our engaging speakers, all known outside their own countries, will lead the Q&A with the conversation host. There are no expectations that we will find answers to all the questions but we hope to stimulate a good discussion. Between each conversation we have an opportunity to share short films from across the continent and beyond sharing new knowledge, earth projects old, new, under construction and upcoming earth events.

POST EVENT NOTE: Please find the recorded presentation via the video icons where available.


09:00 CONVERSATION 1: How do we grow our earth building network?

Opening remarks with your host Rowland Keable, EBUKI.

About the host...

Rowland works with rammed earth as a material in a wide range of situations. This includes consulting, bringing the technical knowledge of the material to a design team in a new build context. Rowland also provides technical liaison, working with commercial and academic testing facilities in the context of live projects and research work. Teaching mainly to academic students and small workshops. Training particularly on-site in a commercial setting. Regulatory work, writing, developing and harmonising national standards.



The natural building knowledge network

Oliver Swann, Natural Homes




When our vernacular heritage was built, material choices were drawn exclusively from a pool of natural materials put together by highly skilled, lifelong artisans. Contemporary building is standardised with much of the knowledge placed in the hands of the material manufacturers. I believe if earthen and other natural building models are to thrive, the natural building ‘community’ must cooperate to become an ‘industry’ by re-establishing its vernacular heritage using contemporary knowledge networks.

About the speaker...

Oliver has 25 years of experience in digital marketing including consulting in knowledge and risk management. He has consulted for Ericsson, Google and Firefox and lectured in digital marketing all over the world. He has been active in the natural building world as a publisher at since 2006. 

Where can European collaboration take us?

Lydie Didier, Asterre



I am going to talk about who I am to answer that question, about the net and the work that it takes to have one, about where we stand today depending on where we are looking from. I'm going to ask everyone else to start answering the question. There are many possible answers, and they depend upon our compass and our choices: I am going to talk about the engine-nearing option(s) and the warm data option(s), and about the part(s) that we cannot foresee. Earth Build Europe is a prompt, not a past tense, come and build with us.

About the speaker...

Lydie studied landscape ecology at Grenoble University and earthen architecture at CRAterre-ENSAG. She is a member of the board of AsTerre and active in AsTerre’s training committee. She works transnationally having coordinated EU funded projects and teams such as Learn•Earth, PIRATE and JUMP!

Potential alliances across the eco-build sector

Herbert Gruber, ASBA




Many alliances between European organisations have existed since 2008, especially in preparing European ECVET Training. Since 2015 the European Straw Building Association (ESBA) has tried to focus their common forces on communication and dissemination, supported by the results of other European or Interreg projects like UP STRAW. Herbert talks here about the arduous path of joining forces and mediating between organisations, about setbacks and successes in dealing with individualists, as can be found not only in Europe's green parties but also in the committed non-profit organisations in the field of sustainable building.

About the speaker...

Herbert is Chairman of the Austrian Strawbale Network (ASBN), Co-president of ESBA and partner in several European projects (Jump, ACTeco, Leonardo-Group and STEP). ASBN has offered straw bale and earth building courses since 2010 and professional ECVET courses since 2017. He is the author of four books about straw bale building in Europe.

Long lasting, robust earth building networks: What's the secret?

Maria Brown, ESTEPA




Earth building networks exist around the world well before Earth Build Europe (EBE) came to life. Let us find out what is similar and what different, let us learn from each other. Different socio-cultural backgrounds trigger different ways of turning ideas into facts, throughout the years and in spite of global challenges.

About the speaker...

Maria is an architect and the founder and president of ESTEPA Association (Spain). She has built 30 buildings with local materials, mainly earth. She has 25+ years as a programme designer/trainer in earth building, energy and safe habitat. Nomad by nature, after long-term living and working in 19 towns/cities of 7 countries on 3 continents she spends most of her time in Senegal where she's involved in gender-based development programmes.



Q&A Session No.1
10:20 - 10:50










Video & Networking Break from 10:50 - 11:40

Short films about new publications, books, research reports, web resources etc. Send us yours by the end of April. Films should not exceed 3 minutes. See our technical support.


11:40 CONVERSATION 2: Climate Crisis - is our response enough?

Opening remarks with your host Louise Halestrap, EBUKI & CAT.



Earth’s potential to de-carbonise construction

Peter Walker, University of Bath




The built environment is responsible around 40% of global greenhouse emissions and consuming around 40% of all raw materials. This is simply not sustainable. Alternatives to current practices are urgently needed. This presentation will explore the role can earth building materials play in reducing the wider impact of construction. The presentation draws on nearly 30 years experience working with earth construction materials.

About the speaker...

Pete Walker is Professor of Innovative Construction Materials, and Director of the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, at the University of Bath, UK. A Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, he has undertaken research and consultancy into a range of earth construction materials and techniques, including rammed earth, compressed earth blocks, and clay plasters.

Will Environmental Product Declarations have significant impact?

Horst Schroeder, Dachverband Lehm



LCA/EPD are methods to quantify inputs (energy consumption) and outputs (CO2 emissions) of a production system on the base of standardized procedures. Using these instruments, a quantification and objective comparison of inputs / outputs in earth material production with other mineral building products is possible. The EPD system enables a more precise definition of production processes of earth building materials. On this base, EPD can contribute to a reduction of CO2 emissions.

About the speaker...

Dr.Eng. Horst Schroeder is a graduated civil engineer and a founding member of the German Association of Building with Earth (Dachverband Lehm e. V.). For twenty years he was the chairman of the association and has been its honorary president since 2012. Up to 2012 he was a lecturer in the fields of “earth building” and “planning and building in developing countries” at the Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany. He has been active in research and teaching and has worked as a consultant for various German and international organizations. He is author of the book “Sustainable Building with Earth” (Springer: 2016).

Can industry and the market outcompete carbon-tech?

Ulrich Röhlen, CLAYTECH



The inherently low environmental footprint of clay-earth products is often superior to that of the carbon-tech products available on the market. Other mineral-based building materials may have greater application potential than clay-earth but these products have a high environmental cost. The production methods require many more resources, or a great deal of heat and energy is expelled in building with these products. They are therefore in many cases "environmentally oversized". Earthen-clay products, on the other hand, are proportionally much better suited. The low energy cost necessary for their production and processing, as well as their reusability, contribute to this. This lecture will give a short overview of the clay-earth products and systems offered by the company CLAYTEC which is used extensively in German earthen-clay building.

About the speaker...

Ulrich Röhlen studied architecture at the FH Aachen and graduated in 1992. While studying he worked in the clay construction craft company LEHMBAU BREIDENBACH founded in 1984 and headed the clay shell works at many historical timbered and new constructed projects. After a few years working as a freelance architect he has been working since 1996 for the earth building material producer CLAYTEC as technology and sales director. Ulrich is a board member in the Dachverband Lehm e.V., deputy chairman of the standards committee "Earth Building" at DIN and was a member of the Standards committee “Plastering Mortar” at DIN. He is co-author the “Earth Building Rules” and bearer of the “German Prize for Monument Protection”. With Prof. Christof Ziegert he wrote the specialist book “Earth Building Practise”.



Q&A Session No.2
12:45 - 13:15








Video & Networking Break from 13:15 - 14:05

Short filmed tours of buildings, collaborations etc. Send us yours by the end of April. See our technical support.


14:05 CONVERSATION 3: How is the culture of earth building evolving?

Opening remarks with your host Tom Morton, EBUKI.



Earth, a global cultural dialogue

Sergio Sabbadini, ANAB & Terra Migaki Design




In recent decades, clay architecture has seen a strong evolution. Yet the industrial design sector is still embryonic. Terra Migaki Design has brought together professionals from different disciplines to develop this area through specific research, international competitions, workshops and exhibitions. The use of 3D printers with clay mixes, the development of technologies and compounds, the use of "Industrial Clay", the enhancement of earth's performance in particular products and, finally, the use of clay in countless areas of experimentation. These experiences show how the world of designers and clay experts needs greater synergies. For this reason, the transmission of skills at an international and interdisciplinary level plays an important role.

About the speaker...

Sergio is an architect that specialises in 'ecological and alternative technologies in construction' at the Centre Européen Ecologique Terre Vivante (France). In 2003 he founded, where he develops projects in green building. He has been in charge of the 'earth construction' sector for National Association of Bio-ecological Architecture (ANAB) since 1996, with a role also of European ECVET trainer on clay plasters (Learnwithclay partnership). He founded Terra Migaki Design in 2015 which promotes the use of earth in the design sector internationally. Since 2008 he has been teaching at Politecnico di Milano as a Adjunct Professor.

Are aesthetics a useful driver for designers?

Stephan Jörchel, Dachverband Lehm




The role of Architects and Engineers in our construction culture – why do aesthetic matter and how does what architects think affect our built world. Can we shift values in design to deliver a better architectural culture? How to connect the design approach with other reasons for earth building like functional and ecological aspects?

About the speaker...

Stephan has been secretary of the Dachverband Lehm e.V. German Association of Building with Earth since 2006 and a member of a wide range of workgroups and projects on behalf of the German Association of Earth Building including DIN Standards, Further Education, Product Declarations. He is an advisor on many international projects and a lecturer of Ecological Building and Building with Earth. He has been managing workshops and fairs since 1998 and since 2015 he has lectured in Sustainable and Earth Building at the Anhalt University of Applied Science.

Heritage or brave new traditions?

Hildigunnur Sverrisdóttir, Iceland University of Arts




Almost a century ago, in his novel A brave new world, writer and critic Aldous Huxley warned against blindly and religiously adopting modernist ways. A century later, life in the world is reaching a certain turning point – or probably a point of no return - facing a dystopia result of the western modernist thought regime of technical development and precision, quantification and organisation – but also rationality, mass production, extortion. In Huxley‘s novel, the protagonist meets a young man who is neither of the old times, nor of the new times. He has learned all he knows from two books, a scientific manual and the works of Shakespeare, reflecting what is probably a common feeling of many, on one hand there are catalogues and excel sheets minutely describing the details of everything, to the point that it has no meaning anymore, and on the other we have a somewhat romantic and (over-) dramatized (dis-) connection to our outer and inner nature.

Methods have to be changed and returning to natural materials and artisanal methods might provide us with guidance towards a more sustainable future, to be sure. In this talk I will speculate on what the traditional Icelandic turf house might be able to teach us and thus contribute to our future ways of living in the world.

About the speaker...

Hildigunnur Sverrisdóttir is the Head of Department of Architecture at the Iceland University of the Arts. Previously, she has worked as a practicing architect and as a researcher, consultant and artistic director in the field of architecture and the man-made environment. Hildigunnur has extensive experience in teaching and academic work. She has taught at the Iceland University of the Arts since 2006 and has been a visiting professor and lecturer at architectural schools and universities abroad, including Yale School of Architecture, Kunstakademiets Arkitektskole in Copenhagen, KTH in Stockholm, UIB in Bergen and UCLA and MIT in the United States. Hildigunnur has been an active member of the research group Turfiction, focusing on the Icelandic building heritage from various perspectives, and has in that context appeared as a commentator on CNN andThe Architectural Review, in addition to participating in the Swamp School at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2018.

Using earth building to reaffirm our humanity

Becky Little, Rebearth




Creating with earth is all about relationships, with people and place, with the past and with nature. When we work with soil in our hands we become immersed in a sensory experience rooted in time and place, that also reminds us where we came from and where we will end up. Working together we can harness community and connection, empowerment and belonging. Responding to diverse local materials and climates, with wisdom and ingenuity, we recognise that earth is not a commodity or resource, but something we borrow and recycle, so that others, human or otherwise, may thrive in our presence and in our passing.

About the speaker...

Becky Little has repaired and built with earth, in Scotland and beyond, for almost 30 years. She also strives to innovate and experiment with these traditions and share her experience as a teacher and mentor in construction and the wider world. Her recent work in European projects such as Pirate, Jump and Cobbauge, have helped her develop a deep understanding of the benefits of collaboration and co-creation at a time when many aspects of life are restricted and constrained. Currently she is working as a builder and trainer on community and heritage projects and as an artist on the land exploring themes of sustainability, identity, healing and change.



Q&A Session No.3
15:40 - 16:10










Video & Networking Break from 16:10 - 17:00

Short presentations on upcoming earth events. Send us yours by the end of April. See our technical support.

Earth Build Europe Closing Comments 17:00 - 17:30
followed by Networking until 20:00


Earth Build Europe 2021

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