"If you find yourself at a Cal-Earth workshop it is because you have a dream, a passion to learn. In one week you can gain skills and network with people to give your dreams real shape. For this reason I think the workshop was stellar. Led by fabulous and wise instructors, I was able to make with my hands and my new friends the images I saw on the website. I gained confidence that even I can do this and I can continue to dream."
-Cal-Earth Workshop participant
Education and training are essential to Cal-Earth's vision. We believe that shelter is a basic human right and that every person should be able to build a home for him or herself. For those interested in learning to build with the earth, Cal-Earth offers intensive workshops throughout the year. Give us a few days of your time and we will teach you hands-on how to build your home, your school, or your community with the earth beneath your feet.
Don't have four days or one week to spare? Try a weekend introductory workshop first--the tuition can be applied to any longer program in the future.
Cal-Earth also offers the opportunity to participate in a long-term apprenticeship course following completion of one of our workshops. For more information visit the long-term program page.
What happens during a Cal-Earth Workshop?
These are hands-on retreats for people who want to learn to build from earth and the elements. The workshops give the chance to focus on learning the unique Earthbuilding (Superadobe) techniques developed at Cal-Earth as well as traditional earth building techniques, in the serene and instructive setting of the Cal-Earth prototypes. Mentored by the works and words of Nader Khalili, and taught by Cal-Earth's associates and teachers, the holistic learning methods during the intensive retreat continuously convey techniques and concepts to the participant, through all five senses at once. Four thousand years of earth architecture and ceramics, Geltaftan and Superadobe technologies, rammed earth, and adobe are transformed within the student in a brief period into the designs of the future.
What are the subjects taught?
Below is a list of topics covered in our workshops. Teaching methods are in the tradition of Nader Khalili with philosophy, design theory, and principles taught through the expression of the hands-on experience.
- The principle of the arch
- Superadobe basics
- Soils practicum and discussion
- Super-adobe with stabilized earth
- Plaster workshop with stabilized earth
- Learning to read blueprints, elements of design, placing windows and doors
- Contrasting domes with vaults, vaulted roofing system, dome geometry
- Site planning, orientation, simple solar passive strategies
- Compass theory and application
- Waterproofing, foundations
- Ceramics discussion and Introduction
- Building with brick
Tuition Costs per person:
Included in the tuition is a full set of educational books and DVDs from Cal-Earth. Additionally, breakfast is provided each morning of the workshop, and on-site accommodations are available. For more general information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
In certain cases the apprenticeship programs may be extended to finish hands-on projects or continue into a long-term internship program where the apprentice is involved with a specific Cal-Earth research and prototype project. This option is only available if there is space in the on-campus housing during the months of Feburary, May, and September.
Short term accommodation at Cal Earth is offered in our emergency shelter domes, at no additional cost. Historically, these small structures were built in order to explore and demonstrate emergency shelter possibilities and are, as such, unfinished, rough and raw structures. As they are emergency shelters, they are subject to the climate. The structures may or may not be waterproof or insulated depending on when/why they were built. Anyone wishing to stay in these structures must understand their condition and plan accordingly by bringing weather appropriate materials needed for comfort. We do not provide bedding, mats or any manner of camping equipment. Please be self-sufficient, realistic, and plan properly. In addition, you are welcome to bring your own tent and camp on-site. There is no electricity in the domes but the main house on-site has electricity as well as a full kitchen and bathroom with shower. There is also wireless internet available if you would like to bring a laptop. After you are accepted you will be contacted to arrange your on-site accommodations if you choose that option.
If for some reason you are unable to attend the workshop you registered for, your deposit may also be applied to another course that same year if you notify Cal-Earth at least two weeks before the start of a course.
If you wish to withdraw completely and cannot reschedule, $100 of your deposit will be refunded (to cover the cost of the study materials sent when you registered) if you notify Cal-Earth two weeks prior to the start of the workshop. Any cancellations within two weeks of the workshop will not be refunded. The full amount of your deposit will only be returned if for some reason you are not accepted to the program.
DIRECTIONS TO CAL-EARTH
From Los Angeles take 10E or 210E to HWY 15N
Closest airport: Ontario, CA
Recommended Local Hotels/Camping Facilities:
Courtyard By Marriott (760) 956-3876
SpringHill Suites by Marriott: (760) 948-8982
The Holiday Inn Express: (760) 244-7674
La Quinta Inland Suites: (760) 949-9900
The Green Tree Inn: (760) 245-3461
Hesperia Lake Park Camping: (760) 244-5951