Guba – February Update

Guba PhotoAs we near the end of the fossil-fuel era, communities around the world must reinvent themselves for the post-petroleum age. What the challenges in food production, housing, energy, education & transportation we will face in this transition? How can we design our dwellings, villages, towns & cities to enhance our quality of life while providing employment, education & health care & regenerating the plant’s life-support systems? More significantly, how do we capitalize on the benefits of technology & design at the global level & infuse them into our local communities so that we can enjoy a thriving future?  These questions, raised by Andres Edwards in his book Thriving Beyond Sustainability, are some of the issues Guba is addressing by seeking alternative ways of designing food & transportation systems, dwellings & energy, & education in our communities.

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For these reasons our training space needed to be versatile & well connected to the outside where much of what will be learnt will be put into practice. We provide training in Permaculture farming, natural building techniques & natural resource management, Everything we build & grow at our farm must utilise easily transferrable & sustainable skills & resources so that our communities can replicate elements suitable to their context. So we ended up designing our training space ourselves with support from local Bruce Jameson, who not only pulled together our ideas into working drawings but also put us in contact with Henry Dlamini.

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Henry is an experienced all-round builder with an eye for detail & a passion for learning. He has a brilliant team of young men whom he mentors as he works. The results of which are evident in the quality of their work & ability to adapt with the Guba team as we all learnt & applied natural build techniques new to us all. With so much development happening in a relatively short space of time, we have been very glad to have Henry & his team onside to push this build forward.

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Many of the natural build techniques they are employing have been tried & tested by Guba’s building team, David & Wawa, during the construction of the composting toilet & shower rooms. Both teams of builders have supported each other to produce high quality results & a great working atmosphere.

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As with all our buildings, the training space is orientated north so that we can better regulate passive cooling & heating inside. The roof is tall to accommodate large windows around the south & west aspects & a verandah. Above the kitchenette & storage room on the eastern aspect we have raised the roof to house an office space or study area which will be accessed externally via a stairway leading to the doorway & a living roof stretching the circumference of the veranda.

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This gum pole & adobe brick build should comfortably house 30+ training participants & provide enough room for small group work spin offs. At present we are training under a large Macadamia tree in front of our temporary office &, although we have been extraordinarily lucky with the weather so far, we are looking forward to enjoying the shelter of this purpose built space by mid-2012!