Notification Window


48CE - Why on Earth? Ancient Wisdom for a Healthy Future

25 May 2018 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours

Why on earth would two architects, educated to be good modernists, choose to build their own homes out of earth? In this presentation, architects Paula Baker-Laporte, FAIA, from Oregon and Bobby Ilg, OAA, from Ottawa will explain the science behind natural building and share why they both concluded that building out of ancient wisdom, age-old, low-tech materials presents one of the boldest and most viable solutions today for achieving optimal health and ecological performance. They will also explain how they worked with building officials to accept this ‘alternative solution,’ documenting the process and showing their finished homes. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Discover the Building Biology approach to human health, building longevity and ecology. Attendees will gain understanding into the reason why contemporary proprietary building systems have an extremely poor track record in all three of these categories while buildings built of natural and minimally processed building materials have a long and proven history of success.
  2. Learn about the challenges we face as architects in understanding the health consequences of our professional decisions. They will learn about the Building Biology criteria for healthy building material and system selections and why these choices are also intrinsically ecological choices.
  3. Get to ‘yes’ with building officials when presenting them with alternative, non-proprietary building systems. Attendees will learn about our approach to successfully obtaining a permit for alternative technologies. 
  4. Explore case studies that demonstrate how the Building Biology principles have been applied in both of the presenter’s personal homes to achieve nurturing environments. Attendees will learn about practical applications and materials choices that are healthy, ecologically sound and viable within the current building climate.


Paula Baker-Laporte, FAIA, and Bobby Ilg, OAA, MRAIC, M.Arch., B.Env.D.

Paula Baker-Laporte is an architect, building biologist, author, international healthy building consultant and educator. She is the principal architect of EcoNest Architecture, Inc. and primary author of the following books: Prescriptions for a Healthy House, EcoNest, and The EcoNest Home. EcoNest natural homes have been built throughout North America and featured in numerous publications.

Bobby Ilg is an architect in Ottawa who has particular interest in designing and creating healthy, natural buildings. He is also a part-time professor in the BAA Interior Design program at Algonquin College He has recently hosted a 2016 and 2017 natural building workshop in Ottawa, which several of his students attended.