Cob building is a form of building that combines clay, straw and sand into a very malleable structure that can be sculpted at will. One can build houses, walls, outdoor or indoor ovens, benches, and pretty much anything you want to build with it. It has structural integrity because of the straw. One can see cob structures built in the 1500’s still in use in England, and much older examples elsewhere around the world. The house below has tapering walls that are sometimes more than two feet thick at the bottom. This is what offers structural support.
We love the creative potential of cob building. It truly is a medium for artists.
Can you build with cob in Florida? Absolutely! Building in the dry season is preferable when working with natural building materials. And keeping the structure off the ground and potential flooding with stones or earthbags is also important.
Is it legal? Yes, as long as your structural support can be permitted – timber frame or other accepted structural support can be used, with cob being used for the walls.
There is nothing like the warmth of living in a shelter made from the earth. Radiant heat and cooling from the walls feels really good on the skin. The earth provides healing instead of the toxic off-gassing one gets from modern construction. Our favorite herb lady, Willow, said this about natural building, “It’s like living in a hug.” We can relate
We include hands on basic cob building in our Urban Permaculture Design Course and built environment workshops (see our courses page for more info), and plan to build what we believe will be the first cob oven in the Tampa Bay area, soon! We love cob!
Shannon Freed, graduate of our Pine Ridge PDC did not waste any time applying her permaculture knowledge. Last year, she held a 10 week apprenticeship at Pine Ridge which resulted in a beautiful cob home being built for a Lakota on the reservation (sustainablehomesteaddesigns.org)
This year, she wants to repeat that feat, this time building a 30X30 foot pallet home for another family in need of better shelter. Pro-builder David Reed will be overseeing the project (www.newjurabuilding.info). This is a wonderful opportunity to learn natural building techniques from a top professional while building a home for someone who really needs one. And also to experience life on the Pine Ridge Oglala-Lakota reservation. Please let your friends know about this event, it is one not to miss! Shannon runs a great apprenticeship (we checked it out personally last year) and it is for a very worthy cause. This type of building could work well on the rez, and it is badly needed in a place where many people live in really poorly insulated mobile homes and federal housing.
New Jura Natural Building in collaboration with Sustainable Homestead Designs is proud to announce another Pine Ridge Project, the last Pine Ridge Project was led by Coenraad Rogmans of House Alive and a beautiful cob/strawbale home was built, on this build we are going to build a 30′x30′ pallet house!!
Pallets are a huge waste material in the US and abroad, their use as design structures has exploded among the “green” and architectural communities.
Our goal is to show the practicality of pallets as more than a design and incorporate them into a real living structure!!
Other groups have taken to building these very inexpensive homes in areas such as Mexico and South America and have put together some very beautiful homes.
We will be building this home on the Oglala-Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation, an area where homelessness, violence, alcholism and abject poverty is extremly high!!
“The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux (pronounced [oɡəˈlala], meaning “to scatter one’s own” in Lakota language) live in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota bordering Nebraska and 50 miles east of Wyoming, the second-largest Indian reservation in the United States. The reservation has broadly three parts, pine covered hills and ridges, grassy plains and a desert area. The Oglala are one of seven Lakota sub-tribes, and they are federally recognized as the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation.”
I will be offering an 8 person apprenticeship on this build where I will take you through the complete build, foundation to finished home and teach you how to build your own.
More information will be available on our website http://newjurabuilding.info/