Architectural Design & Portfolio

In 1996 Paula joined forces with natural building pioneer Robert Laporte, to co-create the EcoNest system of natural home-building. Paula now focuses the efforts of her design team on meeting the demand for these homes through partnerships with EcoNest Affiliate Builders, and homeowners throughout North America.

Through her application of the Building Biology principles of human health and ecology Paula has developed a unique specialty in alternative, “flow through”, wall building systems and natural building materials selections. Her portfolio of completed projects demonstrates her firm’s successful use of adobe, pumice-crete, straw-bale, Aerated Autoclaved Concrete clay fiber and conventional frame construction to create beautiful healthy homes which incorporate natural and healthy materials, climatically appropriate design strategies for energy efficiency, alternative energy technologies and water conservation resource strategies:

  • Adobe

  • Adobe walls are made of sun-dried earth blocks. The soils of New Mexico are perfect for this construction and Paula was fortunate to work on adobe designs for 28 years in Santa Fe NM where Adobe construction is alive and well and highly valued for the rich quality of space it creates.

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  • Autoclaved Aerated Concrete

  • Aerated Autoclaved Concrete (AAC) has a long history of successful use in Europe but is a fairly new offering in the North American Arena. These lightweight, strong blocks made of cement, lime and silica create an healthy, solid and energy efficient wall and are a good building block for a healthy home.

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  • Clay Straw

  • Paula was first introduced to the Clay Straw building system by natural building pioneer Robert Laporte in 1995. With this building technique Paula finally found the perfect system for designing homes that performed in accordance with the Principles of Building Biology. It was love at first site and over the past 16 years the Laporte's have created an extensive body of built work. For a more extensive portfolio of the EcoNest clay/straw homes and more details about the techniques and educational offerings visit our sister EcoNest site.

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  • Pumice Crete

  • This New Mexico born monolithic wall system consists of a poured 14" thick wall of small pumice stone embedded in slurry of concrete and finished by plastering inside and out. Because of the simplicity of the wall system, and because it contains no organic material Paula has found this wall system to be especially well tolerated by chemically sensitive individuals.

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  • Straw Bale

  • Straw Bale is perhaps the most well-known of the natural building techniques. Straw (not hay) bales are used as the basic building block for these homes creating beautiful, highly insulated 18" thick walls.

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  • Wood Frame

  • Wood frame construction is by far the most popular form of conventional construction and most homes in North America are built this way. A wood frame home can also be a healthy home but several things must be done differently than is the norm. Here are photos of a few of Paula's healthy wood frame designs.

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