In a few previous posts I mentioned my wish to build a home in the next few years.
I want a home that:
- is beautiful
- connects to a whole pile of ecological values that I’m interested in
- i can build myself
- won’t leave me with a 20 year mortgage debt
Now, anyone that knows me is very aware that I haven’t ever built anything – a shelf, a barbecue…and I want to build a whole house… with my own hands (and a lot of other helpful hands). Don’t you just love big dreams?
What I’ve spent over 20 years doing in my work is … building communities, ideas, projects. I have really, really good research skills and when I am passionate about anything I can gather people around an idea (than god I never decided to be a career criminal or dictator).
So, after about 4 or 5 months of working very hard and smart in my business I took the last few days off. I’ve just spent over 16 hours in the last 2 days researching cob building.
Yup – dirt (with some water and straw).
I’ve collected great books and articles on ecological, green and sustainable building for about 10 years. And I highly recommend Walnut Books – a great online bookstore in Cork (Ireland). They have all the top books on every topic to do with sustainable and simpler living. I’ve spent/invested a small fortune over the last few months on some amazing books. And yesterday I ordered a few more on cob building and a few great wall charts on gardening through the year and biodynamic gardening (topic for another day folks).
I have now collected what I think is the definitive list of cob sites (most with great photos), workshops (and one of the best is held in Cork) and cob pioneer builders. I’m going to list a few so if you’re interested you can check them out – and save you the 15 hours trolling the web.
- www.networkearth.org/natural building
That’ll keep you busy for a while. I’ll post others over time but these sites have great photos and links … so go play.
The Hollies Centre for Sustainability is based in Cork (Ireland) and runs some great courses. There’s a 9 day course running this week on cob building but I’m working and it’s full. I’m booking for next year.
I’ve looked at a range of natural building materials and cob connects with me because it’s:
- cheap – the dirt you dig for the foundation becomes your walls
- ecological – it’s about as local as you can get and doesn’t burn any fuel
- beautiful – of all materials, cob can be sculpted into curves and niches
- efficient – if you also build using passive solar (and even feng shui) principles – you’ll end up with a very energy efficient home
And – there are cob houses in Devon (UK) that have been around for hundreds of years. They’ve survived wind and rain.
I’ll be building my home using a range of ecological and sustainable methods – compost toilet; rainwater tanks; solar or wind energy; blah blah. Basically, I’ll be building a home that will have a small footprint and won’t leave me paying a huge mortgage when I’m in my 60’s.
You’ve heard of the Slow Food Movement? Sure you have. It’s all about buying local/seasonal and savouring the cooking and eating process. Tasty, relaxing and sensual.
Well folks, I’m starting the Slow Architecture Movement. I’ll take my time learning and researching and going to some workshops (really play with the dirt girls and boys).Then I’ll start building my home in either Autumn 2008 or Spring 2009 – a gift to me as I turn 50 (July 26 2009 – just in case you want to send a present).
As I get closer to building I’ll start a separate blog. Until then I’ll just keep you up to date on this blog. I’ve started a written diary with drawings and notes.
After the last few months of hard but successful work in my business I was feeling a bit like I’d been in the trenches for too long … seeing the grains of sand on the beach … and …missing the actual beach.
These last few days have brought me back to the big picture of my life and what engages and makes me passionate. Researching for my home has really energised and excited me.
There’s heaps for me to learn …and I can’t wait.