Practical Coursework

Summer kitchen

Sabine Engelhardt

Geodesic dome

Strawbale cabin on site


Creating the eco home of your dreams - 10th - 17th June 2018

This is a specially crafted course to learn about eco building at our beautiful retreat camp. It combines hands-on building experience, lectures and design exercises to help you create your own eco building - big or small! Be inspired by a multitude of techniques and projects you will see around the Gea Viva site, delve deeply into eco living while you are here and enjoy a supportive, joyful learning environment!

Living in an eco building, brings your closer to nature, boosts your well-being and allows you to live your ecological values. Eco buildings are designed to minimize their impact on the environment, by using natural, renewable or reycled materials, being well insulated and incorporating the principles of passive solar design. Another important aspect is how much space you actually need. By designing floor plans cleverly, it is possible to save a lot of effort, materials and money! Practicals will illustrate these principles and deepen the principles learned. These cover hands-on construction as well as design exercises that playfully explore your own dream house, taking your own project to the next level. In case you already have some sketches, a site or ideas, please bring them along.

Course Content
You will learn the following:
  • Overwiew of ecological building techniques and materials
  • Site selection and building position
  • Passive solar design
  • Hands-on experience working with natural stone and wood
  • Skills to design a building layout that suits your needs

The Venue
Gea Viva is an eco base and retreat camp in a tranquil olive grove, 15 minutes’ walk from the sea and the harbour village Milna on the beautiful Croatian island Brač. Giving people the opportunity to experience living in harmony with nature, it offers retreats, events and seminars around the themes of ecological construction, permaculture, geomancy, healthy living, arts and crafts. Being completely off-grid, Its design is based on permaculture principles featuring a stone circle, a beautiful pavilion which serves as a teaching space, a permaculture garden, compost toilets, solar showers, a geodesic dome, a straw bale eco cabin, a giant mosaic dragon and a cosy Summer kitchen. Photos, Website

Lead Instructor

An experienced workshop leader, Sabine Engelhardt is an architect, joiner and geomancer, who is the innitiator of the Gea Viva project. Being passionate about eco building, she has, together with friends and volunteers, built most structures on site. Sabine is an award-winning architect with over ten year's xperience and has thaught construction design part time at Preston University for three years.She has designed and constructed her own tiny eco house, which you can see on site.

The main course language is English. Do not hesitate to ask, if you do not unterstand something, we can take it slowely. If you need, we can tranlate into German and Croatian.

Course fees
The cost for the training is €350 per person including tasty vegetarian food, which is jointly prepared in our Summer kitchen.
To secure your place on the course, please pay a deposit of 150 Euros at the time of your registration. Payments are by bank transfer in Croatian Kunas (HRK) or in Euros. Please pay for your accommodation in cash on arrival.


There is a choice of accommodation and prices are for seven nights:
1.) Camping in your own tent: 65 Euros/450 Kunas.
2.) Glamping in our accommodation tent with single and twin canvas rooms, camp beds, blankets, pillows and bed linen is 84 Euros/630 Kunas.
3.) Strawbale eco cabin with one double bed: 210 Euros/1575 Kunas

Staying on site, gives you a deeper experience of this retreat, however, we can book a single room for 175 Euros or an apartment for two for 245 Euros for you in the village.

We have a fully equipped kitchen on site, and we can perpare vegetarian meals jointly, dividing costs for food. There are also restaurants in the village. Please note that alcohol and drugs are not allowed on site.

Course Structure
The course will run every day from 9.00 - 13.00 and from 18.00 - 19.30 hrs, with short interim breaks as required. Optional morning meditations are from 7.45-8.15 hrs. The long lunch breaks allow a rest or time to go swimming during the hot hours of the day. The course starts on 10th June at 18.00 hrs and will finish on17th June with an evening celebration.

Getting there
The nearest city is Split, which can be reached by plane, ferry, rail, coach and car. From there you can catch a passenger ferry directly to Milna on Brac or travel via Supetar with the car ferry (more requent).
Detailed directions

What to bring
Please bring a notebook, any information you might have regarding your own eco house project, working clothes, a hat and sunscreen.

Register here, if you have questions, please contact Sabine Engelhardt, , tel + 385 99 749 3711.