Pangea Design Group is a natural building company in Spearfish, South Dakota, USA that I established in 2008. I follow what I call Practical Sustainability in that I use local materials and sustainable techniques, while leveraging my experience in conventional building.
My goal is to bridge the gap between conventional and natural building in order to:
- Increase the quality of life for my clients, and the following generations that live in the space.
- Legitimize natural building practices as a viable alternative in the eyes of architects, engineers, professional builders, and code officials.
- Reduce or eliminate ongoing costs for utilities.
- Build for the long-term and reduce the notion of intentional obsolescence
I learned to build by helping my father and grandfather, starting when I was 13. I have loved building, designing, and creating ever since.
After graduating high school, I joined the US Air Force and traveled the world as a C-130 Loadmaster. While visiting over 60 countries, my fascination for natural building grew as I noticed more natural, local, and sustainable construction styles.
I made my first off-grid home in 2004 – I modified a 1993 International school bus with PV solar, solar hot water, and a composting toilet.
I was lucky enough to purchase my grandfather’s 3-acre homestead in 2008 in the city of Spearfish, where I grew up. I wanted to build an off-grid straw bale home, and looking back, I didn’t realize the challenges that were ahead of me.
As you might imagine, I had moved home to find a Natural Building Desert. Between the City of Spearfish and the State of South Dakota, I worked with officials to address many aspects of the cottage I wanted to build:
- Load-bearing straw bale construction
- Composting toilets
- Gray-water systems
- Changing the requirement to use the city’s sewer system
- Special electric and plumbing inspections
After years of meetings and ordinance updates, and quite the education, I completed my code-approved off-grid, straw bale home in 2015.
I build residential and commercial straw bale structures, and I will continue to offer instruction in natural building with workshops during our summer season.
I look forward to meeting you in person someday soon!