No. 011 Reading Time 3 minutes
If you are not building in flood planes, or freezing climate areas that receive no sun, we believe Cob is and has been the ultimate material.
When building our first natural house in a remote village in the forest, we started with the following questions:
Can we build with the materials found in close proximity to our site and in our bioregion?
Can we build in communities - involve locals and volunteers?
Are the materials non-toxic and will they go back to earth?
Is it safe for everyone to build with it? Is it safe for the environment?
How can the building merge with nature and not stand out?
After considering various building techniques from Adobe, and Rammed Earth to Earthbag, we decided on Cob.
People have been building with cob for thousands of years in various parts of the world and structures have survived for centuries if designed and maintained well.
“Cob” is an Old English term that means rounded mass or they used it for “loaf”,
like a loaf of bread.
It’s “Bauge” in French and “Wellerbau” in German.
“Cob” is a mixture of clay soil, sand, straw (pine needles, grasses, or other long strong fibers), and water, traditionally stomped or preferably danced upon and mixed by foot in a community.
✔️ Cob has a low carbon footprint and involves no factory processing. There is no dampness.
✔️ It is breathable, non-toxic, and good for thermal comfort. There is no dampness.
✔️ It is Fireproof, soundproof, Rot, and moldproof.
✔️ Also, wind and Earthquake resistant. See the shake test.
Cob construction is a philosophy, a celebration of the alchemy of mud, a humble acknowledgment that we belong to the earth. As we transform the earth, it transforms us within.
Here are 5 more important reasons why it is the ultimate building material. Not only good for the environment but also good for you:
Hands down Cob is the most fun and playful building natural building method.
You can dance on the mud to your favorite numbers, and then, toss, and catch cob balls. The joy.
Leave mud prints on the clothes and the hearts.
Creative and Aesthetic:
You can sculpt a ball of mud into murals and beautiful sculptural houses.
It opens your heart and mind to endless possibilities.
You get closer to your intuitive sense and your intrinsic nature.
Forgiving and Recyclable
Cob is an idiot-proof building method and the least technical of natural building materials.
You can repair, reshape, and redo.
Democratic and Inclusive
It is the safest building method and does not require heavy machinery or force.
Anyone can build with cob, from a 5-year-old child to an 80-year child ;)
Therapeutic and Meditative
The tactile material grounds you.
As you transform the mud, it transforms you within.
It is a spiritual process.
We have created a sacred space using cob which is also a quality shelter. We experienced the sheer joy that healed our minds and body.
We want you to experience the same joy in the near future.
For now, you can just dig some earth in the garden or find some clay soil and start by making a ball.
How will I know whether it’s clay soil?
Trust us, you will know ;)
Have a Muddy Sunday!
Raghav and Ansh
One question we are pondering this week -
What are some tiny pleasures we stopped doing that brought us great joy? Can we enjoy it today?
What you can Watch - First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture
FIRST EARTH is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter - building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over the course of 4 years and 4 continents, FIRST EARTH makes the case that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, it is incumbent upon us to transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages, a new North American dream.
What you can listen - Restart Podcast: Ep 66 Ancient Cob Buildings, part of low-tech future
Kate Edwards runs Edwards Cob Building where she teaches complete beginners how to build a cob house – literally – from the ground up.
Edwards tells us about buildings made with natural materials that have stood in Jericho since 8,000 BC.
She also discusses why cob is sustainable, repairable, and reusable. How cob can be empowering gives autonomy and power back to the builder.
What you can read - The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob
P.S. - It would be extremely kind of you to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you enjoy watching our videos. Thank you <3
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Tiny Farm Friends Newsletter. Every Sunday, we share tiny valuable lessons to help you transition to the countryside and build naturally.