Upcoming Winter Term Classes

Turn the lull of winter vacation into a valuable learning opportunity with one of our upcoming Winter Term courses--a great educational experience in the context of a tropical paradise or a winter wonderland! It's you're pick, as we are continuing to offer our popular courses Design/Build in the Dominican Republic, Natural Design/Build, and Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design.

Deadline for enrollment to the Dominican Republic is fast approaching and we have just a few spots left. Please help spread the word!

Design/Build in the Dominican Republic

This 18-day design/build adventure will focus on building a unique community project in a rural part of the Dominican Republic. This year’s class will take place on the edge of Los Haitises National Park. Students will create a new pedestrian entrance to the park that will ultimately be utilized by the people of the local village of Gonzalo as a meeting site for eco-tourism expeditions into the Park. The class begins with a group design process culminating in a single design emanating from the collective ideas of the participants. The remainder of the course is an intensive sprint to build what has been designed, utilizing local, environmentally appropriate materials, while allowing the design and building processes to continually inform one another. This class will take place in a remote context; with rustic lodging, limited or no electricity, lots of nature, and tons of hard work. It will be the experience of a lifetime, providing an immersion into a unique Afro-Caribbean island culture, while fostering community development through hands-on action that meets the needs and furthers the goals of a grass roots organization. Tuition includes travel within the Dominican Republic, camping facilities in wall tents, and all meals.

View a slideshow from the 2008 class:

View a slideshow from the 2007 class:

Natural Design/Build

This course provides students with a comprehensive exploration of all facets of creating an energy efficient, climate-specific natural structure. In this two-week intensive, we will engage in studio sessions, hands-on construction experience, lectures, slide shows, and site tours. In the studio, students will develop a comprehensive design of a project through the creation of drawings of elevations, sections, plans, and scale models. In the shop, students will build a variety of insulative wall systems, examining critical details such as doors and windows, wall to roof connections, air sealing, framing options, plastering, and much more. Topics include straw bale construction, fiber-clay infill and other natural wall systems, clay and lime plasters, natural roof options, alternative foundations, water and energy conservation systems, permaculture and building-site relationships, and social and cultural contexts. Emphasis will be paid to designing and detailing for success in cold, wet climates. Beginner to Intermediate.

Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design: Designing for Beauty and Sustainability

This intensive course guides students through the process of designing their homes and landscapes to be harmonious, efficient and resilient. In the face of a changing climate and economy, we have the ability to shape our lives in a way that provides the comforts we want along with the food, water and energy security that we need. This course will help each student to develop beautiful and affordable plans for localized sustainability.

We will review historical and contemporary design solutions and technologies in order to help each student find their threshold for design response. We’ll focus on integrated-design: how to create multiple benefits with single expenditures. How can the landscape provide perennial food and regulate temperature? How much energy and money can you save with extra insulation and high-performance windows? What techniques can you use to improve comfort and dramatically reduce resource consumption?

This class will build on Yestermorrow's time tested model of Design/Build to focus participants on designing custom projects that demonstrate advanced performance. The class will be split between lecture and application, with many of Yestermorrow's preeminent instructors adding their expertise. Students will leave the course understanding best-practices for sustainable design and plans for the project of their dreams. Beginner to Intermediate.