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Martin Ulenberg Eco-Architect
ANZIA Registered Architect



Focusing on ecologically sensitive design and specialising in earthen and natural materials.

Light earth

Light earth method or LEM, also known sometimes as straw clay is an easy technique that places the LEM mix within a timber wall framing system. Being a low density technique it has the potential to reduce time and labour in comparison to rammed earth, adobe or cob. Read more.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Light earth duplex Auckland
Light earth duplex in central Auckland.

Light earth duplex Auckland

Affordable light earth duplex in the central Auckland suburbs with charred cypress rainscreen cladding and an edible garden. Read more.

Adobe

Ancient forgiving technique ideally suited to internal heat sink walls in a temperate climate. Modern variants include internal veneers and low density load bearing bricks. Both are suitable for external walls. Can be made from a wide range of sub soils and can have a higher clay content than rammed earth or cob due to the shrinkage occurring before the bricks are placed in the wall. Read more.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale
Internal adobe veneer and passive solar home in Silverdale.

Internal adobe veneer Silverdale, Auckland

Internal adobe veneer home on the rural outskirts of Auckland. The home was designed by Graeme North about 8 years ago and we are now developing the concept into construction documentation. Read more.

Straw bale

Started in the North American Prairies of the Great Plains over a hundred years ago. Timber was scarce and the soil too sandy for earth building so the pioneers improvised. Read more.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri

Straw bale Kerikeri
Straw bale and timber frame home in Kerikeri.

Straw bale Kerikeri, Northland

Straw bale and timber frame home outside of Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. The home is based on permaculture principles and uses passive solar design. Read more.

Rammed earth or pisé

An ancient technique used in many parts of the world and introduced to NZ by the French missionary settlers. The oldest earth building in NZ is Pompallier house in the Bay of Islands, a rammed earth building built in 1841-2 and still standing today. It was however less common historically in this land than cob or mud brick. Read more.

Rammed earth Waipu

Rammed earth Waipu
Rammed earth and timber frame home in Waipu.

Cob

Cob is an ancient technique introduced to NZ by the early British settlers. It was common in this land historically and our tradition stems back to the southwest of England and Wales. It goes back 170 or so years on these shores and many of the original NZ cob settlers cottages are still standing today. Read more.

Cob workshop Goat Island

Cob workshop Goat Island
Cob workshop in Goat Island

Cob workshop Goat Island

Cob workshop Goat Island
Cob workshop in Goat Island

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Invermay corner cottage industry.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Little clay houses.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Little clay houses.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Plant pond, a self watering earthenware pot.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
DIY bookshelf made with reclaimed timber.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Homemade dry fruit wine.

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Garden

Invermay corner

Invermay Corner
Hibiscus

An argument for natural/ earth building

Natural building is about appropriate, sustainable construction, using locally available materials that are non-toxic and as minimally processed as possible. Read more.

Earthen floors

A great way to incorporate mass into a home for passive solar design is with an earthen floor. If designed in the correct manner it will absorb the low winter suns heat during the day and radiate it out at night. With suitable detailing the opposite effect can be achieved in summer. Read more.

Eco & Green - Natural building techniques for conventional timber frame homes

Whether you live in a conventional existing home or you are building a new one, there are many things you can do to improve the quality of your environment. Read more.

Biography

I graduated from Unitec New Zealand with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2007. In 2010 I was accepted as a Registered Architect by the New Zealand Registered Architects Board. I am a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and the coordinator of a local Practice Support Group.

I have a keen interest in natural building and appropriate technology. I am the Treasurer of the Earth Building Association of New Zealand and I am assisting with the revision of the New Zealand Earth Building Standards.

I have a passion for animals and nature. I am a life member of the Koanga Institute (a charitable trust focused on saving our New Zealand heritage food plants). I also like to run and ski in my spare time.

Philosophy

I believe in Utilitarianism i.e. the greatest good.

I also believe that the challenges of our age are not insurmountable. We need to reconnect with the old, gentle ways of doing things. We need to relearn that which our pre-industrial ancestors knew and combine this knowledge with appropriate technologies and lifestyle choices. This is the only way we can right our course and regenerate our planet.

Not too many generations ago, people built shelter in the local vernacular with the resources they had to hand. They created natural, healthy and sustainable buildings that have lasted the test of time. We need to relearn these techniques, adapt them to our changing environments and combine them with other appropriate technologies. We need to do this to enable future generations to live and thrive in a regenerative manner.

As a Registered Architect I am versed in dealing with Councils, builders and other tradesmen and I have experience with all aspects of conventional western construction.

My path is to now focus on Natural Building using traditional materials such as earth, straw, stone and naturally durable timber. My mission is to do this so I can help others build and be a part of the solution i.e. to be good stewards, facilitating the regeneration of our planet.

Contact

Invermay corner, cottage industry

Outside of Architecture I like to engage in other creative endeavours such as gardening, fermenting alcohol, working with wood and playing with clay.