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The Hand Sculpted House
by Katy Purviance on 02/23/10 @ 10:05:03 am
Categories: Books | 651 words | 1690 views

THe only thing I’ve read so far of The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage: The Real Goods Solar Living Book is the title and I’m already in love.

A Cob Cottage might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that the authors refer to it as “an ecstatic house.” They build a house the way others create a natural garden, using the oldest, most available materials earth, clay, sand, straw, and water and blending them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning “lump") is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders sculpt their structures by hand.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are usually efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

The Hand-Sculpted House is theoretical and philosophical but intensely practical as well. You will get all the how-to information to undertake a cob building project. As the modern world rediscovers the importance of living in sustainable harmony with the environment, this book is a bible of radical simplicity.

You won’t want to miss The Hand-Sculpted House:

* The definitive guide to Cob and Natural Building.
* Authors Ianto Evans, Michael Smith and Linda Smiley are top authorities in the field.
* 346 pages, 8 x 10, 8-page color section and almost 100 black and white photos, plus 230 drawings by Deanne Bednar. Source lists, bibliography, the only full glossary of Natural Building, seven appendices including Codes and Permits, Earthquakes, Research Needed and Training Opportunities.
* 10 chapters of step-by-step how to do it, 9 chapters of background, including design, siting, budgeting and site preparation.
* Explains how to make a durable, snug, fireproof, bugproof house with cob, a handmade composite of earth, sand, straw and water.

Join the hundreds of people who are already building their own earthen greenhouse, courtyard walls, sauna, oven, cottage or house with cob, the easiest and oldest hand-building system.

Oh my God! Oh my God! They even have WORKSHOPS!!!

Here is just one of MANY workshops on their site:

The $1,000 House! A Complete Cob 17 day Intensive
Start Date: Aug 8 2010
End Date: Aug 28 2010
Location: Coquille, OR
Cost: $1,680
Accommodations: Includes all meals, camping is available free of charge
Registration, Discounts and Related Information:
Instructors: Kirk Mobert and TBA

WANT TO BUILD A $1,000 HOUSE? We have done just that and can show you how. Back by popular demand, this is the most comprehensive cob course available in North America. In the past 15 years, we’ve taught almost 200 major cob courses. In this 17 day intensive, we’ll cover in depth all aspects of cob and the many techniques of building with cob including arches, details, shelving, furniture and earthen floors. In this expanded version of our most popular program ever, we’ll take the ground out from under your feet and turn it into a versatile medium to sculpt a whole house. In the first 4 days, you will learn Siting, Design and Foundations - the core essentials to any successful building. You will have a 2 day rest which you will need to ready yourself for a 9 day intensive in all aspects of building the cob structure. Another 2 day rest period, where the final 4 days you will learn about living roofs and the finishing techniques of plasters and earth floors. This is a workshop for those that want to be totally emersed in the project, with the physical stammina to endure 17 days of intense hands on education. You will leave confident enough to build a $1,000 house of your own! Space is limited to 20 people to allow personalized hands on instruction.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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