natural building workshop students, building a cob cottage in portugal
workshop students building a cob cottage in Portugal

In this Advanced Natural Building Workshop we are building an earthship classroom for Christoph & Mario’s permaculture project in southern Italy. There are no skill requirements. You will learn everything you need to build a house from foundation to roof.

From April 26th to May 30th we will start another 35-Day Advanced Natural Building Workshop near Badolato in southern Italy. This workshop will provide you an opportunity to get hands-on experience in Natural Building, all the skills and especially the confidence you need to build a little cabin for yourself. The highlights of this workshop are a natural rock foundation, a wooden frame and roof, light-straw-clay, straw bale as well as cob walls, earthen floors, earthen plasters, a rainwater harvesting roof and even cob sculpting, Tadelakt and an integrated greenhouse to make this building an earthship.

CertificationNatural Builder Certificate
DateApril 26th – May 30th
Building StyleEarthship
Instruction languageEnglish / English & German
LocationBadolato, CZ, southern Italy
a cozy earthship building interior, with a greywater planter, clay plastered walls and natural rock floor
cozy earthship interior

an earthship classroom for Christoph & Mario’s permaculture project

In this year’s 35-Day Advanced Natural Building Workshop we will build Christoph & Mario an earthship classroom for their permaculture project. They would like a big room of about 20 m² that can host up to 15 students, 2 showers and a little kitchen area to prepare snacks. Imagine the following plan without the bedrooms:

a plan for an earthship natural building that we used in an advanced natural building workshop
example plan for earthship with 2 bedrooms
a cozy one room earthship natural building in Taos, New Mexico
cozy one room earthship

Advanced Natural Building

This 35-Day Advanced Natural Building Workshop consists of 25 days of theoretical instruction (in English or English & German) with lectures & graphics as well as hands-on construction for 7 – 8 hours a day. The successful completion of this Workshop gives you a Natural Building Certificate.

In this Advanced Natural Building Workshop you will build a complete building from foundation through floors and walls to the roof with your own hands. We are trying to use only natural materials, so you know exactly what you are working and surround yourself with.

a group of graduated natural builders on a reciprocal roof
a group of graduated natural builders on a reciprocal roof


Because this is an area with possibility of light earthquakes, we will talk about earthquake protection and apply what we learned on the building.

We will build a green house extension to make this building an earthship, and passively heated even in winter. The green house will include grey-water planters that are fed from the sink and showers.

Natural Builder Certification

You will receive a Natural Builder Certificate, all the teaching materials by email and the Sustainability Skills – Natural Builders Handbook, which is a summary of the workshop building steps, upon graduation.

Workshop Requirements

There are no skill requirements for the 35-Day Advanced Natural Building Workshop! That said, it certainly won’t hurt if you know some things and put it to good use or share it with others. Nobody is perfect and we are always curious to learn other ways of doing things.

trimmed cob wall in a natural building
trimmed cob wall

Workshop schedule

  • Sun Apr 25, 4 pm: Opening Circle / Welcome Dinner / Introduction
  • 1st week: Foundation / Plumbing / 1st Floor
  • 2nd week: Wooden Frame / Roof
  • 3rd week: Walls / Electrical / Windows
  • 4th week: Walls / 1st Plaster
  • 5th week: 2nd Plaster / 2nd Floor /
  • Sat May 30, 10 am: Closing Circle

There is often someone who leads yoga or some other movement practice in the morning and/or the afternoon. We like to have one evening a week to show slides, videos or have workshop related debates. The rest of the time you can spend on your own, join a jam session around the fire or contribute something to share with the group.

voluntary morning yoga session at a natural building workshop in Portugal
voluntary morning yoga session

Workshop Hosts: Mario & Christoph

A picture of Mario & Christoph
Mario and Christoph on a hike at a permaculture workshop

Christoph and Mario would like us to come up with a smart design. Although the primary purpose of the „tiny earthship“ will be to serve as a classroom where lectures or workshops can take place, it should also be usable to accommodate guests and workshop students.

Badolato Borgo and Badolato Marina in the background, the location for this advanced natural building workshop
Badolato Borgo and Badolato Marina in the background

Read more about Christoph & Mario, their permaculture project and the workshop location: Badolato.

Important information


You will be camping in the lovely olive grove. Compost toilets, hot and cold showers, a dining area, yoga/dance space and a cozy hangout communal area with fire circle will be offered for maximum comfort and enjoyment during this wonderful and transformational time together. Wifi may be available onsite, if not, you can get a prepaid sim card at the airport (vodafone for 18,99€ with 40 GB including limited international calls).

If you don’t want to bring your tent, Christoph & Mario offered to provide one for a one time fee of 50€ for the whole workshop. This could save you some kilos of luggage maybe even reduce your air fare.

There are also 5 beds available for rent in the main residence building upon request.

straw bale walls in a natural building, not yet plastered
straw bale walls not yet plastered

Workshop Instructor

Robert 'Cob-Rob' Brendler enjoying a cob mix at a natural building workshop
Robert ‘Cob-Rob’ Brendler

Robert ‘Cob-Rob’ Brendler has been doing construction work since the age of 12 when he accompanied his grandpa on construction sites during his summer vacation. He’s a Jack of all trades, experienced in Masonry, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical Wiring, Home Automation, Cob Building & Sculpting, Green-Roofs, Non Violent Communication, Teaching and Team-Building and is bringing it all together to give you a complete experience from foundation to roof. Robert loves the Natural Building Community and bringing together the kind of people that are interested in it. He loves teaching and the look on faces when people succeed in doing things they never imagined they could do.

Robert supporting on the roof at a natural building workshop
Robert supporting on the roof

Registration & Payment

The fee for the 35-Day Advanced Natural Building Workshop is:

  • 2000€ (includes tuition, camping, meals)
  • 1900€, if paid in full by March 15, 2020
  • 1800€, if paid in full by Feb 16, 2020
  • option: save another 250€ with a work trade

Payment can be made by bank transfer in Euros, using Transferwise, Paypal, Zelle or Venmo. To hold your spot  in this workshop you will need to pay 50% of the fee with the balance due by one week before the workshop start date. Please contact to register.

We always offer 4 work trade discounts, 2 in the kitchen making breakfast in the morning and 2 onsite in the morning before breakfast or in the afternoon between class and dinner. Each work trade is for one hour a day for 10€ off per day or 250€ off the tuition cost. To apply for these work trade positions please contact

Also please contact for more information. Optional via Whatsapp +4915158593588.


Aliona and Robert in Chile 2019 creating a new style of cob dancing!
Aliona and Robert in Chile 2019 creating a new style of cob dancing!