O.U.R. Ecovillage is a sustainable learning community and demonstration site located in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. My work at O.U.R. included the designs of the natural buildings, planning, organizing and facilitating learning programs, and supervising construction activities. An important step for the community was the cretating of a development plan for the housing area. From information and sketches generated in Permaculture studies, workshops and information sessions I generated the drawing that became the base document for the current ongoing development of the land.

Visions for O.U.R. Village  is a slideshow that was created for the members of the community to illustrate thoughts and ideas that eventually became part of OUR conceptual plan .

Mark Lakeman (http://communitecture.net) produced two beautiful renderings .

The following buildings are only a selection of the Natural Buildings at O.U.R. Ecovillage. Built largely by participants in learning programs under leadership of many experienced builders, they represent the communal effort of creating beautiful, functional places.

The Healing Sanctuary

is a hybrid building featuring dry stone foundation, cob and straw bale exterior walls, light clay interior walls, earthen floors and natural plasters. The post and beam structure supports the living roof. This building was designed with community input to serve as multiple use facility for ecovillagers: as gathering space, for meditation, birthing room, bodywork sessions, counseling, and more.

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The Art Studio

is a hybrid building featuring cob and light clay walls, a log frame structure natural plasters and a living roof. Recycled materials compliment the natural choices: reclaimed 2×6 T&G boards for the floors, 1×6 ceiling boards and galvanized metal siding. The Art Studio has three distinct components:

  • The North lower studio space for use as pottery or other Art space with windows to the North looking into the woodland.
  • The Front, Southern living space for Guest teachers, Artist in residence , approximately 300 square feet with sleeping alcove, small kitchen, desk space and sitting area.
  • The upstairs gallery/classroom/library , a quiet space with separate access; bright and sunny with views of the gardens.

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The Chillage

was a design collaboration with Natural Building students. This is a covered outdoor space serving the ecovillage summer population as hang-out space with wireless internet access, as covered dining area and outdoor classroom. The Chillage features a Rumford Fireplace, sculpted cob walls, stabilized earth floor, natural plasters and a living roof.

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