Light clay construction / Leichleim


  • Used for many 100’s of years in Germany & medieval northern  Europe
  • The 300 year old double storey town museum in Genadendal near Greyton in the Western Cape is made of clay straw roles.
  • It can be used for both internal and external walls as well as for ceilings, and is commonly compressed between a frame.


  • Materials can be sourced from the site itself and is easy to work with.
  • Simple tools are required.
  • Offers very high levels of insulation for relatively thin walls.

Technical Information:

  • The timber framing structure, Shutter work is constructed and fixed in position.
  • A mixture of clay, straw and sand is mixed together and placed between a shutter framework and compressed.
  • 2 layers of shuttering are compressed and then the shutters are successively leapfrogged over each other panel by panel.

Track record and examples of work:

  • Production of light clay straw panels & clay straw panel repair work for restoration Guga S’thebe Theatre (after fire damage), in Langa, Cape Town 2021
  • Staff housing for Organic Farm Shehaan, outside Lusaka, 2008
  • Stanford Valley Conference Centre workshop 2006 made partial use of light clay straw panels.
  • Eco Design held a light-clay construction workshop at the   Cob Colloquium in December 2006 for the McGreggor’s Centre for Alternative Technology.

We offer a number of construction & info manuals on our website on natural building technologies which specifically refer to the South African context. The info manual "A LIME DUNG PLASTER RECIPE" has recently been added to the collection.   Click here for more information.

All our manuals are also now available as E-Book downloads. Click here for the E-Books.