Proyecto KetrÏ Newen
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Hi! We’re Ángel and Vale, and we live in Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina. Together we are carrying through this self-building project called Ketri Newen. Our house is named like this in honor of the beautiful arrayán (a local native tree) that stands mighty in the center of the plot. In the mapuche language, ketri means arrayán and newen means power, energy.
We’re two simple people who dream of building our house with our own hands. We both have independent day-jobs (Vale is a physicist and Ángel is a teacher), and not being experts in construction, we decided to dive into the adventure of raising our home with mud and recycled materials.
Our priority was that our house should be friendly with nature and energetically efficient. We used tires, all kinds of bottles, styrofoam from packaging, ecobricks and other materials that, otherwise, would have made their way to the open-air landfill.
This way we could, in a year, have our little mud house ready. Once living there we began planning the family vegetable garden and designing a system for gathering rain water and recycling sewage.
However, our dreams collapsed in just an instant. On July 20th, 2019, in the middle of a heavy snowfall, a huge tree fell down and destroyed our home and our plans. We lost our old doggie Amancay, who was deaf and blind. We also lost a big part of our belongings. Nothing could be saved from the house. We had to tear down, clear up the foundation and start again.
The first weeks after the collapse were hard. We didn’t understand why that had happened to us, but then we realized that we had to raise the bet and start again.
Now we are much stronger than before. We were able to build a bigger and more complex house, in just three months, with the same techniques and materials. We called for volunteers to teach them by doing, which is the best way to learn. We were much more successful than we expected. We received people from places as distant as France, Spain and Italy, apart from Argentina. We organized ecobricks pick-up points all over the city, with very successful results.
COVID-19 halted our project for the moment. The house constructionhas progressed a lot, but we still have to place the roof, doors, windows, floors, and part of the facilities (electricity, gas and water). Social isolation does not allow us to call for volunteers or to organize festivals or music events to gather funds. All our savings were invested in our first house, and even today we are still paying a credit for a house that’s no longer there.
We need your contribution for finishing our little house and being able to, if possible, live in it by the end of 2020. We have faith. We can do it. We also have the strength and courage to achieve our goal.
Today, we feel the need of sharing our experience and our knowledge to show that any person can build their own house. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.
We want this new home to be a model for any family who would like to self-build. That’s why our house will be open for talks and workshops about bio-construction, vegetable gardens and water recycling, among other topics.
Your contribution adds to the fulfillment of our project.
We encourage you to follow us on social media. Facebook: Casita de Barro Bariloche, and Instagram: Ketri_Newen.
Thank you very much!