Hello, my name is Pablo and I'm new here, I've been studying permaculture in Bs. As. and now I'm living in a city nearby the Iguazú Falls in the Atlantic Forest of South America. Here the weather is super-humid, with a great deal of rain all over the year. The temperature though is not as tropical as I expected, so in summer we have 35 ºC and in winter we can have near 0ºC. My question is the following, what kind of materials and techniques would you advice to build in this conditions? I particularly like building with mud or any other similar material, i also consider it usefull as far as keeping the indoor levels of moisture low. Nevertheless, i dont know how much downpour it can take... Any sugestions. Here we also find bamboo, lots of wood, the land composition is 65% clay... thanks!
The first step to being really dry is to get your self up on a mound, especially if you can get nice porous soil under you, lots of gravel and sand. If you want to build with local materials I cannot help you, but if you are willing to haul in some fairly inexpensive materials I would look into Ecodomes from the Monolithic Dome institute, they are looking into was in inexpensively insulate them. If you build out of mud (or cob would be a better choice, clay sand and straw) then you need to have a good waterproof roof on the structure to make sure no water gets in to wash away your walls.
Hi there, thanks Emerson and Scott thanks for the Cob book, very helpful indeed. I've got Genot Minke's "Building with Mud", and recently visited a couple of permaculture projects in the province, the oldest is a family farm thats been applying permaculture concepts for 16 years. So they have a couple of impresive buildings made out of mud. Stone foundations, including a basement (great natural fridge), wooden structure, bamboo "knitted" walls to give structure to the mud walls. Apparently not many problems due to heavy rain, stone foundations and big roof took care of that! Hopefully I'll be able to visit some more in Paraguay as well! And if i go south i'll check out some projects in Patagonia that are interesting as well.