What is this all about?

Tash Thinking BWSHi, my name is Natasha Labe. I am gathering a great team of architects, builders, craftspeople, friends and all of you together to help build an extension at the back of my house for 5000 euro? Can we do it? This blog will bring you on our journey to see if this wish can be realised.

The goal of the blog is multifaceted: We will explore ideas and designs; look at alternative building materials and engage in conversation around a multitude of topics, all of which will be driven by our real life experiment. We encourage your feedback and ideas, We would love you to share your experiences with us.

This is a work in progress. “Can we do it?” is the question – the exploration is the objective…

Recent Posts

_DSC9475Barn Raising in Dublin City explores the collaborative concept of this project.


Plastic houseA Plastic Extension?  Plastic is like the adolescent in the world of  material. Malleable, brash, still in the process of developing and being refined…

sandbag-building-15Building with sandbags The idea of using sandbags as a construction material for ordinary housing is fairly new… could it work for the 5k extension?                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .

 Using the roll form steel we were able to design and build large multi leveled tented units which otherwise would not have been possible using traditional tent building techniques.Tented Canvas Structures– a contemporary take on the safari tented camp.  An Ecotourist Camp that Graeme designed  in the  Serengeti National Park, in Tanzania, using roll form steel and canvas and ask if we can do that for The 5k Extension

editRecycled tin cansbotswana_baines__-_okavango_delta


My Brother the Eco Design Warrior  where we discuss creative construction techniques my brother Graeme Labe employs to build shelters in the bush, we look at a project which uses recycled tin cans and mud and elephant dung to construct the wall panels.

shou sugi ban  polycarbonate plastic5k extensioneditCharred Timber Cladding or Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi) is an ancient Japanese exterior cladding technique that preserves wood by charring it. Traditionally, Sugi (Japanese Cyprus) was used.

House Rear 1The Sexy Shed Debate:  Should the €5000 extension be connected to the house or should it be a stand alone structure? And if it is a detached structure, can it be called an extension at all or will it be an elaborate “sexy” shed?

CardboardCathedral_+Shigeru Ban+Christchurch+disaster relief+interiorBuilding with Paper Tubes: Where we look at the work of inspirational Japanese architect Shigeru Ban who is best known for his structures which use paper tubes as a material for building construction.



guest container poteetContainer Living:  I have been on the look- out for other interesting structures made from shipping containers. I have scoured the internet looking for ideas, as I always had in mind the possibility of using a container for my own back yard project..


14 thoughts on “What is this all about?

  1. Karin

    Hi Tash, this is a really great idea and a very good time to begin to look at how we house ourselves in the future. The words house and home are often interchangable but really mean two different things, if we consider them in isolation we are left with bland shoe box architecture. Your multifacited approach will help to develop ideas around considered living spaces not just beautiful structures.

    1. natasha5kextension

      Thanks for the thumbs up Karin. I like your use of the word “considered”. I believe that however simple the design, if it is considered and deeply responsive to the users , the location, the environment, budget et al, it has to be a thing of beauty in itself.

  2. Karin

    Hi Tash, loved ‘Ban’ and his paper constructions, getting the Irish to even consider building with paper will be a lifes work. An experiment might be fun and get the debate going, if what you say is true that the paper tubes won’t go soggie and should last 50 years. Is there any way you could get your hands on a small piece of one? that then could be exposed to the Irish weather! and document its progress or has this been done already.

    1. natasha5kextension

      Thanks Karin , good suggestion. We are very open to experimenting at the 5kextension. With regards to permanence these are the wise words of Shigeru Ban
      Ultimately, what determines the permanence of a building is not …the materials that are used, but the simple question of whether or not the resulting structure is supported — loved — by the people.”

  3. Brian Webb

    SandBag walls that have been plastered is a cool idea. The problem though is that the walls are very thick, which takes up a large footprint. Maybe a combination of thick sandbag exterior walls and thin wire frame walls for the inside might just be the perfect combination. We have had a few structures built for us in Mozambique using a Durban based company called Ambidex Projects. Check out the website http://www.ecobuilders.co.za or http://www.facebook.com/ecobuildersdurban


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s