Building Something New on Old Knowledge
What inspires you, makes your creativity bubble up? Sometimes it takes a special space or place to spark something new within us. The Jonathan Seminar Space in the Eifel region of Germany offers to be such a place. The house itself was newly created a few years ago. After the old seminar building burned down completely, the owners constructed the new one following all building biology principles and sustainability criteria. For this reason, the advantages of earthen clay as a building material were essential.
Soothing indoor climate relaxes the body
Large parts of the new building are constructed in a timber framework style and plastered with clay earth. Until the 19th century, earthen clay and wood were common building materials – for pragmatic reasons. They were locally available and had proven themselves.
Clay earth protects the wooden construction by regulating the moisture in timber building components. In doing so, it stores water molecules and releases them again later. This property also reduces the risk of mould formation due to condensed humidity on the wall.
The properties that protect the construction are also good for you. The clay-plastered walls in the bedrooms, seminar rooms and common rooms buffer excessive humidity and have a balancing effect if the air is dry. This keeps the indoor climate pleasant at all times.
Natural resources calm the mind
An oasis in the middle of the building is the large seminar room with a wooden floor and earthen clay walls. Surrounded by natural materials, switching off comes easily. The natural-ideology park around the house also invites you to recharge your batteries. Here alpacas, chickens, and horses come out to greet you.
But nature also provides concrete warmth in the seminar house: the entire building is heated by a wood-chip boiler and a large solar-thermal system, both Carbon-neutral. The wood for the boiler comes from the surrounding forests. Other building-service systems are also extremely sustainable, for example, a sewage clarification pond. Here, too, historical knowledge is adapted in a modern way.
The decision to use clay earth and wood is not only based on the usage phase. Both building materials can be easily recycled – earthen clay even without a loss in quality.
A balm for the soul
With clay earth and wood, the seminar space uses nature’s gifts. This continues in the café and farm shop. Here you can enjoy cakes made from ancient grains such as spelt and emmer, and buy jams, herbs, and alpaca wool crafts.Read more »
Traditional clay plasters from CLAYTEC for modern tasks
The shock was deep-seated when Susanne Arens-Zenz and Peter Zenz stood before the charred remains of their lovingly restored Franconian farm. But soon they seized the opportunity that a reconstruction offered them.
After their experience, fire protection was of course important. Incombustible earthen clay was traditionally also used as fire protection in timber frame construction.
Depending on the structure and the thickness of the clay-earth coating, the service life of the construction is extended, and time is gained in case of a fire emergency. Destruction is not prevented – just as with any other fire-resistance measures.
The building, with four large seminar rooms and ten guest rooms, is built as a wooden post and beam structure around a core of porotone bricks. 1700 m2 of walls were plastered with CLAYTEC Clay Topcoat Fine 06. Thin wood fibreboards served as a plaster base. For the colourful design, some wall surfaces were painted with white and off-white CLAYFIX clay paint. For other walls, the high-quality natural surface of the clay plaster was left visible.
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Other discoveries in this region:
The Old Rectory in Ringhuscheid
The Rajasthani House at Mediterana
Hessenpark Open Air Museum