In the spirit of summer, I took a mini vacation today and got caught up learning about Cob Houses. Here's a photo of one from Cob Projects - it's a cob house near Cornwall, England and is over 500 years old:
The '500 years old' part is what amazes me as these structures are made primarily of mud clods - sand, clay-soil, straw and water formed into hand-sized balls - lots and lots of hand-sized balls.
There's a contemporary movement promoting these sustainable building practices. A Google search on "cob houses" opens a window into that world in the form of links to workshops, books, plans, contractors, blogs and videos. To get an idea of the wide variety of modern designs out there, here's a short you tube video that provides a nice overview. It also shows, briefly, a bit of the building process, including the mixing-of-the-cob-substrate-with-bare-feet-on-a-tarp image - my favorite.
Today, I managed to keep from buying a bale of straw and getting my tarp dirty. But I did make lots of drawings and a couple of crude models for a child's playhouse - a photo of the least crude model (which really isn't saying much) is below:
cardboard, spaghetti noodles (uncooked), Elmer's glue and tissue paper; 15 x 7 x 7 inches where one inch is meant to equal one foot