Elizabeth Hurtado

Farmers Branch, TX

Elizabeth Hurtado's life path meandered into Permaculture as a result of her experiences as an artist, art educator and student of architecture. In 2005, Elizabeth obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas in Denton. After graduating, she began her career as an adjunct art educator at various D/FW area colleges and universities. Interested in how structure and digital technology could inform and inspire her creative work, she later enrolled in the Architecture program at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she will receive a Master of Architecture in December of 2017. 

During her schooling, owing to an interest in sustainable architectural practices, Elizabeth joined the Earthship Biotecture crew on their Malawi Community Center building project in 2013. Here is where she first heard the word Permaculture and made the decision to learn more about it. Upon returning to school, now fascinated with earth as a viable, sustainable and healthy building material, she and a small team of dedicated students decided to focus their research on rammed and compressed earth technology. For two semesters they sifted, mixed, and compressed earth, experimented with multiple micro and macro forms, worked with a hydraulic compressed earth block machine and tested various earthen-mix material strengths. 

Elizabeth's current interests include furthering her research beyond the boundaries of school and approaching earthen building systems as both an art form and a sustainable construction method. In addition to utilizing earth as a building material, Elizabeth is learning all about "life in the soil" via online classes focusing on soil biology and plant nutrition.