EcoNest Natural Building Workshops and Timber Framing Workshops

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EcoNest Workshops through the Eyes of our Students

Just as every student takes away a different nugget of wisdom from an EcoNest workshop, each student sees the emerging nest in a different way. While we are using ancient building methods and materials, our students are using cutting edge technology to share their views of the project. While they are getting down and dirty at the construction site, Robert and students take a little time each day to snap photos and share them instantly with us so we can follow along in real time. The best part of receiving these photos is seeing how different people see the same project.

EcoNest's Perspective

A beautiful timber frame built by Dwellings and erected by Dwellings and our EcoNest students. 

Jason's Perspective

"Beyond all the technical instruction we received, what struck me was the mindful way Robert started the workshop with a day of chisel sharpening. I was in hog heaven, calmly honing a blade in the beautiful outdoors, really focusing on the necessary preparation that carried us through the whole week. Really a powerful experience working with everyone."


Chelsea's Perspective

"Participating in the EcoNest workshop has changed the way I think about design. As an interior design student, I was ignorant of the flaws in today's conventional building techniques and materials – unaware of the negative impact  they have on human health and the environment. Working with Robert Laporte, hearing about his experiences, learning from his wisdom, and witnessing the care and passion he puts into building someone's home has left me inspired and optimistic about a future in natural building. Every morning of the build, I would wake knowing that I was contributing to something meaningful. I want to feel that way about all of my future projects."


Ivan's Perspective

"I had reservations about participating in a building WS, and before the WS started I fessed up with Robert Laporte, master builder and WS task-master, that I didn’t have any experience in construction, my skills going from minimum to none.  His answer was “yet.”

As the WS developed, I realized I had been given a privileged opportunity to share a piece of life with Robert, whose teachings went well beyond natural building. Essential to the WS is the creation of a social environment among the students, so the WS sails through a tapestry of community-based effort. We are all there to learn, we are all equal under Robert (no joke), men/women, black/brown/white, big/small, tall/short, and we are all assigned tasks according to our experience/abilities. Learning goes quickly, as it is  passed around from Robert to the group, and from the most experienced to the green ones."


Ivan and his wife are preparing to host a workshop and build their own EcoNest in 2017! Read more of their story here.


Lori's Perspective

"How do I even begin to put words together regarding the workshop?!  I don't know how many times I said it was amazing.  It was very rewarding to have the opportunity to take part and be taught how a Light Clay Straw building is constructed.  The EcoNest books provide a glimpse into the process but cannot provide the experience - just like when it is said that pictures don't do the actual any justice.  Doing the workshop and building the EcoNest really felt like we were doing something truly valuable - healthy, green, sustainable, real.  As part of the built environment and as an interior designer, it is easy to get caught up in the mainstream and commercialism of what building has become.  Working on the EcoNest is really a reminder of how we should take a step back, and really contemplate what we should be designing, how we should design, and the products we specify for design.  The workshop was motivation and a base for new knowledge/education for what GREEN building should really involve.  I loved each and every moment, from the trust we were given as complete amateurs to the confidence we gained in such a short, fulfilling time."