Saturday, October 06, 2007

Natural Building Materials

Ok, so I have this strange fascination with natural building materials (Straw bale, rammed earth, adobe etc) so I was particularly excited to read this article this morning about a cob house in Seattle. I'm not very enamored with the inside of their cottage (a bit claustrophobic, perhaps?), but I was stoked that they had the article, nonetheless.
I've been doing some light reading regarding natural building components and gray water system and here are some useful links:


  1. I too like the natural building materials but really wonder if the house could be re-sold. The weirder it looks on the outside the harder it would be to sell it later. Which I know is sad but true.

  2. Yep, it would definitely have to be a consideration when you're building it. That said, I'm sure you could build one that looked relatively "normal" but still incorporated green building products and stylistic features. I think some of the adobe buildings in the southwest are especially lovely.

  3. Not that he used natural building products, but Frank Lloyd Wright was real big on including nature in his design. I loved his house Falling Water. I also had a professor in college who said his parents lived in Colorado and used solar power to save money on electricity. It involved a whole side of their house being sounded to me like it would be an oven in the afternoon, but I would be interested to see how it worked.

    The house bug is so fun though! I love seeing what's out there. My family always enjoyed looking at model homes, and The Woodlands always had the home tour. We always went to see all of the fancy homes. Right now I am very set on someday building a colonial style home.

    I'm loving all of the pictures of the houses!!! Keep posting them.

  4. Anonymous6:39 PM

    What's a cob house? Does it have anything to do with corn?

  5. Nope, nothing to do with corn.
    A cob house is made of clay, sand and straw. The mixture is "kneaded" like dough before it is put into place by stomping on it with your feet or using a cement mixer for larger scale operations. The clay acts as the glue, while the sand gives strength to the mixture and the straw gives the walls tensile strength once hardened into place. Because cob is very flexible to work with, the builder is free to create just about any shape, so you won't find too many cob homes that look similar to each other.