Wednesday, November 17, 2010

on cob

Since we haven't been doing a whole lot of cooking lately, I thought I'd blog about something else that gets our heart racing-- cob housing! Over the course of our time as Boston roommates, Sanne and I have found that we share many interests that all fall under the category of self-sustainability. I don't know if its living in the city has increased these desires for simple living, or if its just a home-sickness for the South. Whatever the reason, our combined library has grown to include many books on gardening, farming, bee-keeping, and building with natural materials. It was during this building research that I discovered cob.

Not to sound like a high school essay on the History of Cob, but I feel I must explain... Cob is a mixture of sand, mud and straw. It's very similar to the adobe homes you see in the southwest. It can be molded into basically any shape before drying in the sun and becoming virtually indestructible. It was mainly used in 15th and 16th century England because of the low cost, availability of materials and simplicity. You can still see a lot of these homes today. When the pilgrims came over to New England, they all but abandoned this building style because the nasty weather didn't allow time for cob to dry.

Isn't that interesting? Yeah, I think so too.

Anyway, what I love most about cob is the freedom it gives you to create anything you want. Your house could be shaped like a snail shell, or look like a Who-house. You can carve out a shelve, a window or a bench wherever you want. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like. It is what you make it. It's nice to know that you're using natural materials, native to the area where you are building. And that you can start where you are in life. The starting cost of constructing a cob house is only around $3,000! That is, of course, before installing electricity and plumbing.

Here are some examples:

a traditional cob house in Devon, England
modern cob
this one is a classroom!
reading nook

What do you think? Are we crazy? Wanna start a commune?

1 comment:

  1. They are so unique because of the freedom of your own creativity. The ideas are endless. They also look "cozy". You need to be sitting on a big comfy chair w/ your favorite book and hot chocolate.