Discover our innovative and sustainable architectural design

Follow in our footsteps to learn how the different parts of this beautiful retreat centre were conceived, designed and constructed. Many helpful friends contributed ideas, hard work, and love during the four-year process. We owe each of them deep thanks and gratitude. Come see what this caring community has created in the Thai countryside south of Chiang Mai

Bamboo construction

Bamboo has been used locally for centuries, but usually needs constant upkeep because it succumbs to bugs or damp. We soaked split bamboo in a borax solution to draw out the natural sugars which then makes it unappealing for insects and increases resistance to UV and water. We also protected the buildings with a waterproof layer before the bamboo roofing shingles or leaves were added on top. Chiang Mai Life Construction (CLC) designed and erected the soaring bamboo roof over the main house and built up the adobe earth walls of the main room. Local artist, Sathien Manochat, designed and built the yoga sala with help from Lahu villagers familiar with bamboo construction. He also built the Teardrop hut for himself to live in while working on the project. Thanks to these experts for their skill and talent!

Eco bricks & recessed bottles

Coloured bottles were cut and taped end to end before we placed them into the walls as we built the outdoor shower and toilet, and the upper part of the main house.
We enjoyed creating free-flowing patterns of spiral colour, and love the effect when the sun shines through
Eco bricks are plastic bottles that were cleaned, dried then stuffed full with soft plastic making them insulating and possible to bear weight. These eco bricks line the top of the walls of the outdoor toilet and shower.

Early stages of building the main house

The roof went up first, because it is completely self-supporting. Later, the domes and arched hallways were built in its shade, and lastly the circular adobe (earth) wall of the house was added

Domes

We built the domes from aircrete blocks that we made on site mixing concrete with high density foam using dish soap (!!) which creates air pockets making the blocks lightweight and insulating.  The form we used had angled sides so that when the blocks are stacked they follow a curve - just like making an igloo! Using a post with a long arm on it in the centre of each dome assures that each block is equidistance from the centre. Lower blocks were propped up from the ground as the curve moved outward and then counterbalanced with a weight hanging on the outside for the upper blocks as the curve bent inward.

Mosaic

Owner Jenny has become an expert in mosaic through her work on multiple surfaces throughout the retreat centre. Friends provided designs, encouragement, and hours of patient clipping and gluing as the intricate patterns came to life under their careful fingers.

A tropical garden design lines the inside surfaces of the herbal steam sauna. The round windows of the domes in the house sport swirling shapes, mandala and yogic symbols, while the benches on each side of the entrance dome  welcome visitors with bright cheerful mosaic patterns.

A stunning octopus reaches his arms around the shower in the house.