Houses and buildings are the "nuclei" of any site, through which the majority of energy and resources flow to be either wasted or maximized for best use. And yet, most permaculture courses barely touch on physical structures! We here at Atitlan Organics think that your house and other structures deserve a LOT more attention as integral and essential parts of your overall permaculture design. That's why we've teamed up with Abundant Edge to offer the Natural Building Course, a one-week course founded in the permaculture principles and covering all things natural building. From stone to cob to natural plasters, you'll learn a wide range of natural building styles and technique which can be put to use in any climate or region of the world. Learn how to reduce your footprint and maximize your efficiency all while creating beautiful, durable structures! We like to think of it as "Permaculture for Zone 0."

Each day is split into two parts: a hands-on practical in which you get the chance try out different techniques in natural building, and a classroom session which delves deep into topics such as stone foundations, building with cob, and troubleshooting design flaws.

A dynamic adventure awaits. We can't wait to meet you!






what is natural building?

Natural Building is many things. Broadly speaking, it is use of natural and renewable materials to create shelter for ourselves: something humans have been doing for literally millions of years. Depending on where you live and the resources available to you, natural building can mean creating structures with cob, adobe, straw bale, rammed earth, wattle and daub, wood, bamboo, or stone, among others. But beyond the techniques and materials used, natural building also means connecting deeply with the place you are in; valuing and honoring the ecosystem in which you live; building with consciousness so that your own home does not contribute to the destruction but rather the regeneration of the environment; reduction of waste through the use of recyclable and renewable resources; a  vastly reduced toxic load for your home to carry and for you to live in; reduction of maintenance and upkeep costs when more energy efficient models are incorporated into the design of your home itself; and a beautiful, unique structure. By turning our gaze to the homes and buildings which surround us, we discover huge potential for a more sustainable and regenerative lifestyle!





Using a balanced blend of practical work in the community and interesting presentations and group discussions, participants gain a well-rounded and dynamic understanding of natural building. Throughout the week we will learn about and work with a variety of materials and techniques. Each day will also include presentations, labs, or group discussions on a variety of topics including: Site Design and Preparation, Plasters and Natural Paints, Wall systems, Foundations, Trouble-Shooting, and much more! On Friday, we'll take a walking tour to visit natural builder Charlie Rendall's exciting projects in and around San Marcos la Laguna.

Natural building doesn't have to be all-or-nothing! There are many ways that each one of us can incorporate the skills and perspectives of regenerative design to transition our homes into more sustainable, harmonious sites. The practical skills and design perspective that you will gain on this course will leave you not only inspired but also empowered to enact change in your own home!


in addition to the course, our all-inclusive tickets covers:

6 nights stay at the beautiful Bambu Guest House, a naturally-built hotel on stunning Lake Atitlan.

Bambu Guest House, Atitlan Organics, Introduction to Natural Building, Permatecture, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, Course, Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America

3 meals a day plus snacks, coffee and tea at the Bambu's amazing farm-to-table restaurant. It's seriously plate-licking good! 

Farm-to-table restaurant, Bambu Guest House, Atitlan Organics, Introduction to Natural Building, Permatecture, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, Sustainability, Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America

Facilitation, excursions, course material, note packs, and other electronic information. 

Rocket Stove, Natural Building, Introduction to Natural Building Course, Permaculture, Permatecture, Atitlan Organics, Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America, Sustainability, Regenerative Design


We value regenerative design knowledge and truly believe that it can help create a better world and future for us all, therefore we have decided to keep our courses affordably priced. In addition, we have a few partial scholarships available; contact us for more info on them.



weekly schedule:

introductions natural building

Day 1 : Orientation

  • Orientation & Introductions

  • Farm Tour

  • Overview of the Week

  • Explanation of Final Design Project

cob natural building

Day 2 : stone and cob

  • Stone foundation tutorial and placement

  • Testing and selection clay subsoil

  • Cob mixing tutorial (tarp, also pit mixing?)

  • Practical: Wall building

  • Presentation: Siting and design

rocket oven natural building

Day 3 : wattle and daub

  • Wattle and daub (bajareke) wall systems.

  • Wall strapping filling, and splitting bamboo.

  • Practical: garden wall

  • Presentation: Intro to wall systems

  • Presentation: Intro to foundations

plasters natural building

Day 4 : earthen materials

  • Rammed earth

  • Light straw clay

  • Practical: adobe

  • Presentation: Intro to roof systems

  • Presentation: Intro to appropriate technology

roofing natural building

Day 5 : Plasters and finishings

  • Model house design on landscape demo

  • Rocket stove demo

  • Presentation: Intro to plasters

  • Presentation: Natural paints and finishes

  • Presentation: Intro to flooring

project design natural building

DAY 6 : Plasters and bamboo

  • Base coat plasters

  • Plaster test lab

  • Field trip with Charlie Rendall

  • Presentation: Wood and bamboo framing

last day natural building

DAY 7 : project presentations

  • Recap

  • Project Presentations

  • Course Conclusion


Daily Schedule

Natural Building Schedule


Pictures from Past Courses



Can't Make the Upcoming Course?

Don't worry, we run them every month! No matter when you'll be in Guatemala, we're sure that you can find a date that works for you. 




Oliver Goshey, Lead Facilitator, Introduction to Natural Building, Natural Building Course, Natural Building, Regenerative Design, Sustainability, Permaculture, Permatecture, Tzununa, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Central America

oliver M. goshey

Oliver is an accomplished natural builder who has worked in eleven countries on six continents. After six years of working in the industrial building trades and as an maritime engineer he apprenticed with the Cob Cottage Company, specializing in cob and earthen plasters and finishes. Abundant Edge is the culmination of years of passionate research, travel, and experimentation with earthen building materials and regenerative design techniques. Oliver promotes healthy lifestyles that repair and advance ecosystems through symbiotic design and compassionate construction.


Travel and Logistics

The workshop always starts on Sunday afternoon. Participants are expected to arrive by 4pm, but are welcome to come and check in at the Bambu Guest House any time throughout the day.

Once the course starts, all food, lodging, training, and travel is covered and included in the cost of the workshop. 

The course ends Saturday at noon, following a big brunch, student presentations, and goodbyes. We can help arrange shuttles to and from the airport, Antigua, or anywhere else. Just let us know if you need this service.

Upon registering for the course, we will send an email with lots of course info, FAQ and a food allergy questionnaire. We can accommodate almost all requests including vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian diets, etc.

directions to the bambu guest house