Earthbag building in Zambia, a kindergarten for village children.


This is an earthbag dome in Limulunga, Zambia close to a lake shore near Mongu where twenty three other villages around the lake hope to build similar natural buildings. The 4m (13ft) diameter dome, built by Paulina of Earth Hands and Houses, is for the village kindergarten and only cost £500. It was built with the help of twenty five people from the village over two weeks.


It might look like the exterior is plastered with clay but this is a lime plaster with a local mineral pigment. Lime is used externally to protect the dome from rain. A clay plaster exterior would wash away leaving the earth bags vulnerable. Domes in arid and semi-arid climates might not need a protecting roof but in regions like this where there is significant rainfall a roof is needed.

In this region of Zambia the hottest daytime temperatures are around 37C (99F) and the coldest evening temperatures about 10C (50F). The windows have a very simple frame, no glass, just mosquito nets. In the hot summer days it's a cool place for the village children to learn and play.

  Paulina talking about natural building  

Paulina talks about
natural building


Cassava gluten binds the clay...

The plaster inside the dome uses clay with marsh grass from the lake and cassava (below right) for gluten to bind the mixture. Paulina teaches natural building workshops all over the world with recent projects in Mali, Turkey, Poland and France. Here are more pictures of the Zambia earthbag dome project on Paulina's Facebook page.



Paulina with women from the village