Christina Ott first became interested in cob back in 1999 when she took a cob basics workshop in Vermont with Amber Wigget. She was immediately hooked on natural building and decided to pursue it full time starting with a Cob Cottage Co. apprenticeship. After spending a couple of years traveling and getting experience with other builders, Christina founded her own natural building company, Barefoot Builder, in 2005. Christina now lives in a cob house on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. She splits her time between teaching workshops, consulting, and contracting
I am very excited by the new possibilities open to this generation of natural builders. We are finally seeing natural building move toward the mainstream and now is our chance influence a new building paradigm. I see the Natural Building Network as being an extremely useful support structure for the people who are shaping what it means to be a professional natural builder. I’m excited to have an opportunity to contribute to the natural building community and to help support the work of all of us natural builders and enthusiasts.
Eddie Hooker started with NBN in early 2010 as the Membership Coordinator. He’s been involved in natural building since 2004, mostly in Colorado. While pursuing his B.A. at the University of New Mexico, he learned of the depletion of our water tables, and concerns around sustainable desert living. Now in Oregon, and a recently Certified Sustainable Building Advisor, he is a core member of City Repair’s annual Village Building Convergence. He sees the strength of NBN in its potential to make natural building accessible to the many people who are waking up to the need for a sustainable world, and seeking building options. This accessibility will come by introducing natural builders, with the information and skills, more broadly to the general public. Let’s make natural building a viable option, one that every architect and builder hears requests for every day.
Biography for Candidacy by Ya-Yin, LIN
As an architect, I practiced in a conventional way for more than ten years designing huge concrete and steel buildings like hospitals in Taiwan.
With the intention to balance myself as a part of the land developing party, I then joined “ The Society of Wilderness” as a volunteer for many years and finally returned to my hometown establishing a branch of this N.G.O., which inevitably diverted me to a whole different searching for real life.
Attending the Cob Cottage Company’s natural building apprenticeship program proved to be a true bless that had a decisive influence on me. For I wasn’t sure there could be ways for my belief and professional career to consolidate as a harmonious one.
After the completion of my apprenticeship in Oregon forest, I came back to Taiwan starting my own architect’s firm focusing on natural building. Earth, rice straw, thatch, bamboo, driftwood, rock and urbanite are what I have and use most ever since with whatever techniques available and feasible according to the local labor. I am now happy with my life in which I earn my living while working with people who wish to live simply and stamp lightly on earth as I do too.
Michael G. Smith
I’ve been a part of the natural building community since 1993, when I helped start the Cob Cottage Company. Since then I have taught over 100 workshops ranging from 1-day earth oven workshops for kids to 8-week technical trainings for professional natural builders. I have written or co-written three books, including “The Hand-Sculpted House” and “The Art of Natural Building.” I also consult with owner-builders on natural building design, materials and techniques. I enjoy sharing my experience with students and clients, as well as with builders around the world through the web site “Green Home Builder” where I have been the expert on cob and light straw clay for 10 years.
Starting in 1994, I was one of the primary organizers for the first three Natural Building Colloquia. Since those early days I have been thinking about how to help natural builders share information so that we can learn and achieve more than each of us could alone. I’m grateful that NBN was created as a means to those ends, and believe there is a lot of unrealized potential in the organization. What excites me most is using NBN to help facilitate communication amongst practicing natural builders who need technical or political support with their projects.
I have some relevant experience with other non-profit organizations (I’m on two other Boards). I’m a clear communicator, experienced with meetings and creating documents. I have a lot of familiarity with the natural building movement and a vision for where it may be going. I’d like to see what I can do with these skills to help NBN move through its current period of transition into a phase of greater clarity and responsiveness.
Currently based near Seville in Spain, by trade I’m a graphic designer.
My interest in natural building started while traveling across
Europe, seeing straw bale houses, clay floors, walls and rocket
stoves. Using natural materials, working by hand if possible and
helping to connect the traditional to the modern have all been
influences in finding out more.
As a designer I’ve been involved extensively over the last few years
with natural building: as well as working with the NBN I have helped
builders with designs for print and web, and with project submissions.
I’m currently providing the main design work for this year’s European
Straw Bale Gathering.
My practical natural building experience so far extends to projects
and workshops I’ve participated in, but as a freelance designer I
bring skills that are useful to any organisation: communication, an
understanding of day-to-day responsibilities, and an awareness of the
importance of good presentation.