'Sheltermaker' tells students how to build homes without a mortgage

Lecture to show how houses can be built for less than ¤10,000

Residents at Cloughjordan Eco Village in Tipperary.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Residents at Cloughjordan Eco Village in Tipperary.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Wed, Mar 13, 2013, 15:43

A SELF titled “sheltermaker” will address students at University College Cork tonight advising how to build mortgage free homes.

Peter Cowman launches his “Sheltermaker’s Manual” at Cloughjordan eco-village in Tipperary tomorrow, Friday offering an alternative approach to prospective homeowners. Cowman will outline methods of eco-building that can be completed without planning permission for under ¤10,000.

The manual covers 20 years of building experience including timber frame structures and walls sculpted from clay and straw.

“I work with people who have mortgages and want to get the best they can from what they have. But my passion is the mortgage free home and I encourage everyone to start with something small, an extra room or a structure in the back garden, to gain a sense of empowerment,” he said.

In his presentation, Cowman traces the roots of the property crash to the industrial revolution but tries not to get ‘bogged down’ in the fall out of the boom.

“I’m trying to help people to articulate what sort of lives they want to live and how they can shape architecture to suit their lives. Our discussion of the home can be quite limited — where it is located, how much is cost and its size, as oppose to what it is like to live in,” he said.

Tonight’s ‘Eco building on a Shoestring’ presentation takes place at West Wing 9, UCC at 7.30pm.