Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Student Impact: Shipping Container Finds New Use at ECO City Farms

A young entrepreneur, farmer, and environmental educator, Adam Schwartz came to Yestermorrow seeking hands-on learning in design/build with a strong focus on sustainability. Interested in working at the intersections of ecological design, green building, and sustainable agriculture, Adam chose Yestermorrow’s Certificate in Sustainable Building and Design as the path to pursue his vision for contributing to the growing vibrant food economy.

Adam is farm manager at ECO City Farms, a 1.5 acre educational urban farm in the Capital Beltway in Maryland. For his Sustainable Building and Design practicum project, Adam is putting a sea shipping container to new use by designing and building the FoodShed, an on-farm commercial kitchen for value-added production and a teaching kitchen for local food production.

The project demonstrates low-cost solutions for food processing and enables value-added and farm-to-school food entrepreneurial ventures. The licensed and certified kitchen, constructed of predominently reused materials, features a solar hot water system and an integrated greywater filtration system. The FoodShed will host a variety of cooking and food preservation classes throughout the year. Funded by the Southern Maryland Agricultural Commission, the FoodShed is being documented closely so the open-source design can be shared with other small farmers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Students Go the Distance for Community Design/Build

Architecture students, engineers, and builders have traveled from across the country and—in the case of one student—from the Black Sea to design and build a full-scale public project at Yestermorrow. Led by the dynamic team of Jersey Devil co-founders Steve Badanes and Jim Adamson, along with New York-based architect Bill Bialosky, this year’s Community Design/Build Class is working on a composting toilet structure for Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit education organization, 1400 acre working farm, and National Historic Landmark.

Students from the Eastern Seaboard and beyond have come to Yestermorrow for hands-on experience in working collectively as a team and with the client to establish the program, work within a budget, propose and develop the design, schedule the work, and construct the building. Each phase is explored as a means of making the architecture more expressive, and sustainable building practices are emphasized throughout the process.

New Orleans is represented in this student group, as is Washington state and Northampton, Mass. Intern Peter Stewart from New South Wales, Australia brings his experience in functional art and building to the class. 

Civil engineer Ryan Galliford rode his bike the 2000 miles from Pensacola, Florida to Yestermorrow to take part in this class. Ryan studied building science in college; he worked toward licensure in civil engineering after graduation and currently works for a small engineering firm that encouraged him to take this class. Becoming interested in design/build, Ryan researched Jersey Devil projects and then realized he could work with the renowned team right here. From Ryan’s perspective, the Jersey Devil team is rejuvenating the medieval craft of architecture, where the designers are the builders and the built form expresses personality and values. The Community Design/Build class resonates with Ryan's desire to put his energies to productive use in the world and is a great way to learn from masters and get his hands into the design/build process while having a great time.

Ayse Sahin and Ryan Galliford
Architecture student Ayse Sahin, a master's degree candidate at Istanbul Technical University, traveled from her native Turkey to be part of this year’s Community Design/Build class. Ayse is preparing to write her master's thesis on engaging building arts in architecture curricula. She heard instructor Steve Badanes lecture in Turkey and decided then and there to try to get to Yestermorrow for this summer’s class. Ayse received scholarship awards from Yestermorrow and from a Turkish organization supporting research for master's students abroad. She reports having a great experience in the class so far, and appreciates that Warren reminds her of her home village in the Black Sea city of Giresun.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yurt for Sale!

We're looking for a client to purchase a yurt built in our September Yurt Design/Build course. The 12’ diameter structure includes a wooden frame, mildew-resistant canvas walls, waterproof vinyl-coated polyester roof, and a domed plexiglass skylight. Easily transportable, the structure collapses down small enough to fit in the bed of a pickup truck.
Yurt with protective wrap still on skylight.
Yurt interior.
Interior joint detail.

Clients pay for materials plus 20% overhead, for an overall total of approximately $1,600. To see more images of yurts built with the same plans in previous courses, visit our photo album for the course.

We’re also looking for clients to purchase yurts built in next year’s Yurt Design/Build workshops. For more information, contact Abby Martin at