Natural Building, a 900 Year Story of Natural Materials.

 
   
 

If you ever doubted the use of natural materials to build a home these nine buildings are a testament to its longevity. We'll take you back to the oldest, continuously lived in wooden home in Europe in leaps of 100 years to the 12th century. 

Between them these homes are built with stone, lime, clay, bamboo, wood, bark, straw, heather, rice starch, cow dung and reed. Even the straw, as a base coat in a thatch, can and has survived in Britain where there are about 250 examples of the original thatch base coats from the late medieval period (1350-1600).

   
           

100 years old

 

200 years old

 

300 years old

 
     
           

This is the bath house at Noatun Farm in Ovre Pasvik, Norway in the Pasvik nature reserve. This little building was built by Hans Schaanning around 1907. Find out more about the stories old natural buildings tell.

 

This is a rubble stone lime mortar thatched cottage built in 1811 in Blaise Hamlet near Bristol, England. The cottage, along with the rest of the hamlet, is owned by the UK's National Trust. You can find out who the architect was on Facebook here.

 

This cottage had it tough from time to time. It's Leanach Farmhouse in Culloden, Scotland. It has a rich history that included being used as a field hospital during the Battle of Culloden in 1746 when the cottage was still a teenager.

 
           

400 years old

 

500 years old

 

600 years old

 
     
           

Tulou have walls of rammed earth several metres thick. They consists of a lower section of stone held with a lime, sand and clay with rammed earth above. The earth is mixed with sticky rice and re-enforced with bamboo sticks. The walls are inclined toward the centre so gravity pushes them together. These homes are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

This house, built when Henry VIII had just come to the throne of England, features beams that are decoratively carved and engraved with the initials of the owner Thomas Paycocke. The impressive green oak framed house in Essex, England, now belongs to the National Trust.

 

This is Alfriston Clergy House English house in Sussex was built by a prosperous farmer in 1350 using only natural materials that have now survived for almost seven centuries. In 1395 it was bought by the church and over 200 years later, around 1600, the house got its first glazed windows.

 
           

700 years old

 

800 years old

 

900 years old

 
     
           

This is a ‘Loft’ from Sondre Tveito in Telemark, Norway which now stands in the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. The tiny door leads to the ‘Bu’, the ground floor room used for storing food. The upper floor was for unmarried women in the working seasons. The loft has a runic inscription dating the house to 1300. You can see a panoramic view of house at the Norwegian Folk Museum

 

This is one of Norway's stave churches. Stave churches are typically some 8m (26ft) tall made entirely from wood without a single nail. They are the most elaborate type of wooden construction found in northern Europe. This one is in Borgund and was built over 800 years ago. You can find out more about this and other stave churches at stavechurch.com.

 

This is the turf roofed Roykstovan farmhouse at Kirkjubour on the Faroe Islands. It was used as the bishop's residence back to the 12th century. It is the oldest inhabited wooden house in Europe, lived in by the same Faroe family since 1550. Part of the building is a home with other parts on view to the public. Take a 360 degree tour inside the home.

 

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  More natural homes to enjoy...