Online Natural Building Course

In this Online Natural Building Course you will gain a basic understanding of natural building as well as building with cob and other earthen materials.

Currently in session

What is this course?

This Online Natural Building course will cover the basics of natural building, while also sharing the larger issues we face with our built environment, the changes that need to happen, and how to make those changes. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures that you can watch at your own pace, as well as live sessions, you will be guided through the basics of analyzing site soil, mixing and building with cob, and building a small project.

Why this course?

Our lead instructor, Sasha Rabin, has over 20 years of experience teaching hands-on natural building courses.  Although Natural Building is a very hands-on, tactile experience, we have created a curriculum that will allow you to be guided through the process of learning these techniques at your own pace, on your own site.  

Our goal with this course is to broaden the access to natural building education and knowledge.


Why Quail Springs?

Quail Springs has been teaching Natural Building Courses for over a decade, and has been on the leading edge of testing and research for cob building practices.  We have the unique experience of learning from both living in the structures we have built, as well as working with engineers and researchers to further the legality and accessibility of these methods and materials.   Our teaching staff are farmers, activists, builders, and thinkers who not only teach, but also advocate at a regional level for policy change from agriculture and sustainable groundwater use, to building codes. 

Video Lessons

Swipe or drag to learn more about each lesson in the course.

Our Built Environment

How do we deepen our relationship with the buildings that surround us? Here we'll explore how our homes, neighborhoods and cities affect the way we live our daily lives.


Methods and Materials

In this lesson we will go over many of the common types of earthen building methods, including cob, light straw clay, wattle and daub, adobe, and more.


Codes and Advocacy

Understanding building codes and how to use them is complex. Here we look at understanding permitting and codes, as well as how to legally work around them.


A Fire-Safe Solution

The need for fire-safe building practices has never been more urgent. Here we look at how earthen building materials can be used to build more fire resilient structures.


How-to: Adobe Bricks

Adobe bricks can be used in almost any natural building project. Knowing how to make them and having some on hand will make most of these projects easier and faster.


Project: Rocket Stove

Rocket stoves can be built and used in a variety of ways. Here we will show you how to mix cob, earthen plaster, and build a rocket stove designed for outdoor cooking.


Project: Cob Oven

A cob oven is a traditional style of a wood fired oven. In this lesson we will show you how to build your very own and finish it with a coat of earthen plaster.

1h 22m

Project: Earthbag Walls

Earthbag walls can be used as retaining walls, garden beds, foundations for buildings, and more. Here we share our tips and techniques for building with earthbag.


Earthen House Tours

Here we will take you on a tour through 7 different earthen buildings here at Quail Springs, showcasing the unique features of each as we go.


Passive Heating & Cooling

Follow our friend, Brad Lancaster around his house in Arizona as he shows us how he uses various methods of passive heating and cooling.


Live Sessions and Q&A

We offer 3 optional live sessions (6 hours total) where you can ask the instructors all of your natural building questions.




6.5 hours of video lessons

3 live group sessions and Q&A

4 months of online support

6 months of Access to all content

List of resources and books

Companion text to all video lessons

Online Natural Building Course - Features

Ayla, a former student posing next to her earthen oven
"This course has been very informative and inspiring. It was very helpful to be able to ask questions and get responses from the instructors. Before taking the class I was getting stuck so I was very happy to have access to more information and guidance. The online format made it possible for me in 2021 and I look forward to more opportunities to learn about natural building!"
Ayla Stern
2021 Online Natural Building Course Alumni



for those who can afford to partially sponsor another person's tuition




for those who can afford to pay the standard tuition cost



reserved for those with lower relative wealth


Scholarships and self-determined sliding scale cost options available on a case by case basis. BIPOC and historically underrepresented students will be prioritized. Contact us here to inquire.


Scholarships and self-determined sliding scale cost options available on a case by case basis. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and historically underrepresented students will be prioritized.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Meet Your Instructors

Sasha Rabin
Sasha first came to Quail Springs on a cold snowy night in early 2008 to visit friends who had recently started calling the place home, and the warmth of the people there brought her back. She is passionate about creating a beautiful life, including the structures that house us for so much of our time. This passion leads her to practice those things that help us remember who we really are and why we are here – activities and creations which remind us of our connections to each other, our food, our shelter and the earth. At Quail Springs, Sasha enjoys the feeling that there is another way to be in the world, and loves how beautifully this is shared and planted like seeds within the site’s many guests. Sasha Rabin fell in love with natural building in 2002, when she began her building career with an apprenticeship at the Cob Cottage Company. Since then she has taught extensively through organizations that she co-founded, Seven Generations Natural Builders and Vertical Clay, and through collaborations with The Yestermorrow Design Build School, The Canelo Project, Cal-Earth, The Solar Living Institute, and Quail Springs Permaculture. Teaching natural building has brought her as far as the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) Jordan and PRI Kenya. Sasha currently sits on the Quail Springs board of directors, as well as the Cob Research Institute. After living at Quail Springs for a decade, she has relocated back to northern CA to be closer to family. She also runs her own natural building organization, Earthen Shelter, and although she enjoys the act of building, her true passions lie in the teaching and sharing of natural building with others. Sasha was drawn to natural building due to her interest in the impact that shelter has on our lives and what it means to live in beautifully created homes, of natural non-toxic materials. Building a non-toxic home is a profound experience. When people create shelter together their lives are changed forever through connections with one another and the shelter itself. Just as people are inspired when learning how to grow food, people are inspired when creating the structures we depend on for comfort and health.
John Orcutt
In 2013 John left his job as a coral farmer seeking a more fulfilling life helping people build shelter for themselves. He spent the next three years as a nomadic natural builder and student. After studying at the Earthship Academy in New Mexico and the Cal-Earth Institute in California, John joined a crew of superadobe (earthbag) builders from Cal-Earth and built in California, Arizona, and Nepal. In April 2016, John came to Quail Springs to learn cob building, joining Sasha Rabin and Paul Swenson's Natural Building course. John was struck by the beauty of the land at Quail Springs, and overwhelmed by the community's ability to inspire, educate, and empower its guests and students. In no hurry to leave, John stuck around, helping to complete the building started in the workshop. He is now privileged to call Quail Springs home and proud to play a role in the organization's 200 year regenerative plan. Most of his time is spent working on the many natural building projects in the canyon, but he also enjoys contributing to the efforts of the facilities team, washing more dishes than any individual should, and is even attempting to learn how to cook (much to the shock and horror of his friends and family). John has enjoyed learning from the community, the land, and it's guests, but his most nourishing role at Quail Springs is sharing and teaching natural building, and helping with the variety of courses held on the land. The impact our community has on the students that join us continues to drive and inspire him.