Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cob House - The Natural Building

While doing research on natural building techniques, I found this video on YouTube. The Cob Cottage is made of all natural materials by Meka Bunch in Wolf Creek, Oregon. Cob is a building material composed of clay, sand, and straw. Most of the old structures and houses were build with Cob, Stone and Wood. I lived for few years early in my life in a cob/mud house. However, now cement, concrete and bricks have taken over. All our cities have become concrete jungles. When temperature goes up during summers to 40-45C, it becomes difficult to live. However, with cob houses the temperature remains less than outside. The other misconception about Cob is that, its unstable and will dissolve in first rainstrom. Thats not true...If you look at the history of buildings the most ancient buildings are either made of stone or cob. They are still standing. The best examples can be found in buildings found in Mexico by native Indians, Africa, Middle East, Asia and of course in my country India. These structures are standing from hundreds of years. Thousands of cob houses have weathered rainy England for hundreds of years. You can have a look at the Eco-Building of Mrs & Mr Vishwanath in Bangalore, India. The building demonstrates that it is possible to live in a city in harmony with nature. The building was made of compressed earthen blocks. Now lets look at the Cob Cottage video.

Meka's Cob Cottage in Wolf Creek, Oregon:

People often think that Cob houses look old and you can't do much interior decoration with it. One gets a look at a sophisticated cob work of art that one can sculpt with one’s own hands, live in, and leave to one’s great great grandchildren. Cob is very durable and requires little upkeep. You can mould cob the way you want and create a space which is living and not only a living space. Take a look at the Cob Cottage designed by Meka.

While in India we still find houses made of Cob/Stone/Lime/Brick and other natural materials, concrete is taking over them slowly. Not only Cement/Concrete/Iron/Glass etc... are costly but non-sustainable and takes lot of energy(fossil fuel) to make. Developed nations are looking at alternate building and eco-friendly architecture as the solution for global warming. Third world and developing nations are going for morden building techniques which is not sustainable. It's time that we recognize this and start looking at integrating our traditional skills with morden science like solar power and wind power to create sustainable buildings.


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