We began building in early 2012 – this is the first of the cabins for The Yoga Forest, a yoga and permaculture retreat centre in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlan Guatemala.
While reinforced concrete isn’t very natural, it was the only foundation that I and the lead builder felt comfortable with on such a steep slope. I’ve since learnt more about natural foundations and how to work with slopes so the next cabin (immediately next door) will have a lot less concrete and steel in its foundations.
Now we can start with the more natural part of the build!
The structure is bajareque (pronounced ba-ha-reck-kay – read my earlier post about it here). In short, it’s a hardwood post frame, strapped on both sides of each post with many lengths of thin bamboo that are tied on with a fibre extracted from the leaves of the Sisal agave cactus. The void space is then filled with rocks and an earthen mortar, making a very affordable, natural and earthquake-resistant house.
They can be very beautiful too and that’s what we’re planning for this cabin.
This post is getting a bit big now, so read on in Part 2…