Exploring Natural Material Performance for Safer Design

Build Simple provides information for builders and planners about best practices for natural building.

Simple Resilient Structures Blog combines recent research with accurate construction information.

Engineers and designers not yet experienced with the limitations and inherent qualities of natural materials need some guidance to understand practical natural materials construction processes. They may need new techniques to estimate material qualities in remote areas.

Builders working in hazardous areas need to understand how different construction details may mean life or death to someone in the future.

Design for seismic hazard is complex. Risks are serious. How can we begin to make recommendations?

This site focuses on the simple buildings needed throughout the developing world. Low-rise houses, clinics and small school buildings are often built in modest sizes. If builders and owners have understandable guidelines they can build safer.

Help us to change the paradigm of natural materials from traditional hovels that can kill to the better houses that families rising out of poverty save and work towards.


  • Low-rise
  • Low-skill
  • Low embodied energy
  • Unprocessed materials


  • Redundant
  • Economically sustainable (low-cost walls, simple labor-intensive businesses strengthen local economy)
  • Socially sustainable (self-propagating, adaptable to local cultures)
  • Environmentally sustainable (climate responsive, using low toxicity local materials that can be harvested in ways that do not degrade local ecosystems)


  • Safely designed/ engineered buildings and site walls.