Kata Polano

Kata Polano is the owner/operator of Earthen Built, which specializes in the Artistry of Natural Building, Design, and Detail. She has been building with the earth since 2008, offering clients a healthy and creative alternative for their built environment. She currently lives in the West Kootenays, British Columbia, Canada.

A Journey Through the Natural Building Techniques: Light Clay Infill

Light Clay Infill a.k.a Leichtlehm Leichtlehm, said from the throat easily by any native German speaker, translates directly as “light loam”. Loam is a composition of earth including relatively equal parts of sand, silt, and clay – which makes Leichtlehm easily translated to “light clay”. Light Clay Infill is a fairly old building technique, and quite a basic one at that. Many of you are probably familiar with the Tudor style buildings that make English and German architecture famous. Well,…

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Case Study: Eagleyew – A High Efficiency Natural Building on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada

The Story of Eagleyew: A High Efficiency Natural Building on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada I’m pleased to say that I have been building Natural Buildings for a number of years now. My work has taken me up and down the West coast of North America, with a focus in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been calling Vancouver Island home for the last three years, and have had the pleasure of working on some amazing Natural Homes in the area. From cob…

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A Journey Through the Natural Building Techniques: Straw Bales

When it comes to insulating your home you may feel as though your choices are quite limited. You are likely to be standing in the aisle of your local hardware store, gazing up at various fiberglass insulation, rigid insulation, cellulose, or even spun rock insulation called Roxul, and wondering which is the healthiest for you and your family. If you’re lucky, you might even see some sheep’s wool available to stuff into the cavities of your walls back home. Here…

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A Journey Through the Natural Building Techniques: Cob

Hopefully, through my last articles, I’ve created a curiosity in many of you about the creative world of Natural Building. But before you decide to march off into your backyard, stick a shovel into the ground, and start building your very own cob cottage, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of what cob building actually is. If I had a dollar every time someone asked me if Cob means Corn on the Cob, I’d be a little richer!…

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El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara

A Journey through the Natural Building Techniques: Adobe

The word adobe comes from the Arabic word al-tob, which means “the brick” and from Coptic tube, which also means “brick”. A brick is precisely what adobe is, a sun-dried brick of clay-soil and sand, with fiber added in some instances as well. These fibers, which add tensile strength, are usually straw, hair, or even horse manure. Yes, I said horse manure! Building with adobe is one of the oldest building techniques in the world, and some of the world’s oldest standing buildings were constructed with adobe.

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