Samo Terra Community, Bulgaria

Straw Bale, Timber frame, Community House in Rodopi Mountains

In the Rodopi Mountains of Bulgaria, SAWA has recently been working an exciting project fro a new community: Samo Terra.

Samo Terra is a non profit organisation and a collective of healers and teachers, headed by Benjamin Sasse. The project here was to build a Community House with natural and local materials and resource to showcase how we can have a much lighter impact on the planet. looking carbon into the build. Planting and composting re cycling waste nutrients back into the ground and food system. Using appropriate technology such as installing a compost heating system, add a natural roof for efficient insulation and dry compost toilet, the building will be a another achievement in showcasing how building structures can be healthy for the environment.


The philosophy behind this project is to make use of materials available locally and design a structure and a functional house as ecologically as possible, with minimum to zero environmental impact. To have a building that is socially mindful, employing local craftsmanship, local resources and for the community.

The main frame of building was fabricated with  timber sourced from local forests with cob stone foundation up-stands.

Alongside these timber frames, the build has used hay bales from local farmers, earth dug from the ground, local craftsmanship and a team of like minded individuals interested in Natural Building.

Natural buildings offer many advantages over concrete including, lower cost, lower embodied energy, lower energy cost of running, so more effective to run long term.

This build is Paul’s House although he says “It’s a house for everyone!”. The house will be shared by the community, with future goals to build an Eco Village, showing examples of building in a regenerative way. The community will run various courses for a diverse age group focusing on Natural Building, Permaculture, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and Organic Farming.

Sketch Design  – Keep it simple

Turfing of the living roof – hoping to last for 100 years. Why keep repairing a roof when your roof will repair itself? It also provides excellent water retenion through the slow drain of water through the roof into the drainpipe system where the water can then be collected.


Build Cost


Build Area



September 2019