In our latest Bio-Architecture workshop in Tibá we had the pleasure of the company of two Xavante bio-constructors from Barra do Garças in Mato Grosso.
While they were here Geovane and Watsuwamri from the São Marcos village learnt the various techniques we offer to do with earth construction, green roofs, cascaje, dry toilets and agroforestry. These techniques were of interest to them, for the family houses which traditionally would have been semi-temporary huts constructed from timber, leaves and grasses have been quickly replaced by concrete block and terracotta brick. This has had the double impact of not only becoming less ecological it has quickly destroyed the relationship to circular forms and curved spaces, as they are not conducive when building with these other materials. They were really interested to see how easy and flexible it is to build with pau-au pique and adobe and are keen to go back and start replacing some of the concrete walls with earth.
As a bonus, we were able to learn some techniques from them when they constructed a mini-malocca for us to demonstrate the traditional use of bamboo and leaves in making roofs and walls. It was quick and easy to make and produced a very beautiful result – we are excited to experiment with it on a bigger scale soon! See this page here for steps on how to construct this type of palm thatch.