Practical Coursework

Outdoor lecture 'room'

Summer kitchen


Sabine Engelhardt

Geodesic dome

Strawbale cabin

Glamping hut

Canvas room in glamping tent

Camping area

Building the strawbale cabin


Delicious vegetarian food

Create your own eco building 25th July - 1st August 2020

This is a specially crafted course to learn about eco building at our beautiful retreat camp. It combines hands-on building experience, lectures and design exercises to help you create your own eco building: to upgrade an existing structure or to start from scratch - big or small! Be inspired by a multitude of techniques and projects you will see around the Gea Viva site, delve deeply into eco living while you are here and enjoy a supportive, joyful learning environment!

Living in an eco building, brings you closer to nature, boosts your well-being and allows you to live your ecological values. Eco buildings are designed to minimize their impact on the environment, by using natural, renewable or reycled materials, being well insulated and incorporating the principles of passive solar design. Another important aspect is how much space you actually need. By designing floor plans cleverly, it is possible to save a lot of effort, materials and money! Practicals will illustrate these principles and deepen the principles learned. These cover hands-on construction as well as design exercises that playfully take your own project to the next level. In case you already have some sketches, a site or ideas, please bring them along.

Course Content
You will learn the following:
  • Eco construction techniques and materials
  • Efficient use of water, energy and electricity
  • Site selection and building position
  • Detailing and eco refurbishment
  • Passive solar design
  • Hands-on experience working with natural stone and wood
  • How to design a building layout that suits your needs

The Venue
Gea Viva is an eco retreat camp in a tranquil olive grove, 15 minutes’ walk from the sea and the harbour village Milna on the beautiful Croatian island Brač. Giving people the opportunity to experience living in harmony with nature, it offers retreats, events and seminars around the themes of ecological construction, permaculture, geomancy, healthy living, arts and crafts. Being completely off-grid, Its design is based on permaculture principles featuring a stone circle, a beautiful pavilion which serves as a teaching space, a permaculture garden, compost toilets, solar showers, a geodesic dome, a straw bale eco cabin, a giant mosaic dragon and a cosy Summer kitchen. The course will take place in our outdoor pavilion and around the Gea Viva site.

There is a choice of accommodation:
1.) Private glamping huts with camping beds, terrace with sea views (bed linen, blankets and sleeping bags provided)

2.) Glamping tent with camping beds and single/twin canvas rooms (bed linen, blankets and sleeping bags provided.)

3.) your own tent or camper van.

We also offer tents and equipment for hire.
Showers and toilets are shared.

If you like additional days to relax here, you are welcome to arrive before or leave after the retreat. Additional nights are 33/40 Euros in the camping huts, 12.50/16.50 Euros (in the glamping tent/own camper van/ individual hire tent) and 9.50/12 Euros in your own tent.

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Lead Instructor

An experienced workshop leader, Sabine Engelhardt is an architect, joiner and geomancer, who is the innitiator of the Gea Viva project. Being passionate about eco building, she has, together with friends and volunteers, built most structures on site. Sabine is an award-winning architect with over ten year's xperience, and has taught construction design part-time at Preston University for three years. She has designed and constructed her own tiny eco strawbale house, which you can see on site.


The course language is English. Do not hesitate to ask, if you do not unterstand something, we can take it slowly. If you need, we can translate into German and Croatian.


One person in glamping hut with private terrace 715 Euros

One person in glamping tent or own camper van 595 Euros One person
in own tent

555 Euros

Price includes

  • six days of teaching
  • course materials
  • an in depth-tour of the buildings on site
  • vegetarian breakfast, lunch and supper, jointly prepared
  • meditations and Yoga sessions
  • seven nights' accommodation in private glamping huts, glamping tent, own camper van or own tent (camping equipment can also be hired at an extra charge)

For cancellations up to two months in advance of the event, we will deduct a handling fee of 50 Euros, and return the remainder of the deposit to you. For cancellations later than two months before the event, the deposit is non-returnable and for cancellations later than one month before the event, the entire fee is due.


Food and practicalities
We have a fully equipped kitchen on site, and will prepare vegetarian meals jointly. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know in the registration form.
Please note that alcohol and drugs are not allowed on site.

The village Milna has grocery shops, restaurants, bars, cash points, a currency exchange, a doctor and a post office.

Course Structure
The course will run every day from 9.00 - 13.00 and on four evenings from 18.00 - 19.30 hrs, with short interim breaks as required. You can also take part inl Yoga and meditation sessions. The long lunch breaks allow a rest or time to go swimming during the hot hours of the day. We will finish with breakfast on the leaving day.

Getting there
The nearest city is Split, which can be reached by plane, ferry, rail, coach and car. From there you can catch a passenger ferry directly to Milna on Brac or travel via Supetar with the car ferry (more frequent). Milna is also serviced by a ferry from Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korčula and Hvar.
Detailed directions

What to bring
Please bring coloured pens, a notebook, any information you might have regarding your own eco house project, working clothes, a sun hat, sunscreen and a towel.

Register here, if you have questions, please contact Sabine Engelhardt, , tel + 385 99 749 3711.

Gea Viva is a beautiful place where you can learn to live with nature! People I met there were very kind :) I learnt so many things thanks to Sabine. We built an eco-cabin with straw bales and it was very interesting. Moroever, Brac island is such a nice spot to camp!
Jerome, France

I had a great time a Gea Viva. Sabine was a terrific host. Brac is unlike any landscape I have ever seen and there were plenty of beaches within walking distance from camp. I would definitely recommend Gea Viva.
Garrett, US

The Gea Viva camp and Sabine hosted us for a week and we had a great time! The food was excellent: freash fish, fruits and vegetables, good coffee, awesome! Sabine is also a really good host, we had great discussions about everything, she is really a wonderful woman, full of spirit and talent. The camp has a really good way of thinking, in harmony with nature and soul. It is perfect to relax and have a break from the stressful city life. The beach is only at 20 mins walk from the camp, really peaceful. You have another one a bit more far away (40 min), really beautiful. We really appreciated our stay! Thanks again Sabine!
Marie-Philippe, Canada