theOtherDada learning about Permaculture

We are proud to announce that two of tOD’s members received their Advanced Permaculture Certificates last week!

So what is permaculture?

Permaculture an agricultural design system based on mimicking and using the patterns found in nature. The term refers to “permanent culture” integrating both agriculture and social aspects for a truly sustainable system. The concept of permaculture is that it can be applied to different sites with different conditions, as long as we can truly understand the area’s characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. When designing a new site, it is always important to start by identifying different zone that have different functions, the accessibility lines/corridors; and by looking at the contour lines to find areas to collect runoff water.

The course was offered by SOILS Permaculture Association Lebanon and Permaculture Research Institute represented by Daniel Hasley. During the training sessions we had the opportunity to work on two different case studies: one located in a highly urban area within Beirut city, and another one located in a semi-urban area in Batroun region. It was quite interesting to test and see how the design thinking and principles change depending on the site’s conditions, the location and the needs of the people using them.

The permaculture design thinking is based on 12 principles:

  1. Observe and interact: spending time in the area, looking and observing on what’s happening around us, and identifying special and unique characteristics.
  2. Catch and store resources: changing the site in a way to be able to collect and store resources such as water and energy during availability times and seasons to reuse during times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: harvest crops and produce
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: always listen to what the land is telling you to readapt strategies to work better in the future
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: reduce your dependence on non-renewable resources and always maximize the use of renewable ones
  6. Produce no waste: a waste of one system can always be used as a source for another one for example manure from animals is used as fertilizers for plants.
  7. Design from patterns to details: always think at a system’s level, but never forget the details.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: it is always better to create a spirit of collaboration instead of competition. Let things work together instead of against each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: it is always easier to work with small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones.
  10. Use and value diversity: A system composed of diversity reduces its vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment. It is always better to think of polycutlures instead of monocultures
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: the edge of two systems is always the richest area as it includes elements from both systems. In nature this is called Ecotones: a region of transition between two biological communities.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: always be ready to readapt to change, by readapting strategies to new conditions.

Let us know if you would like to design your site following the permacutlure principles. Get in touch with us on


Adib and Yasmina with their certificates. Photo Credits: SOILS.



Hard work during class! Photo Credits: SOILS.


About tOD

Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and craftsmen.

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