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The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical And Philosophical Guide To Building A Cob Cottage: The Real Goods Solar Living Book

Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as "an ecstatic house." The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable--earth, clay, sand, straw, and water--and blend 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 actually sculpt their structures by hand. Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder's imagination. Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what's missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world. Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest. Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always 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.

Paperback: 346 pages

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; First printing, June 2012 edition (June 1, 2002)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1890132349

ISBN-13: 978-1890132347

Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 10 inches

Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #219,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #76 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Structural #253 in Books > Arts & Photography > Architecture > Drafting & Presentation #307 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Environmental

The Cob Cottage Company literally invented a building technique called "Oregon Cob". Their collective development includes not only high-quality cob mixing techniques, but also a holistic design and construction approach to suit both the building material and the sustainable living philosophies of the builders. The Cob Cottage Company has used this book to summarize more than a decade of research and development of both mind and mud. Each author has focused on one of three sections of the book and each contributes something unique.Ianto appropriately begins the book by not only giving a history of earth and cob building, but also by helping the reader redefine their view of housing. I've read this section 3 times thus far. It contains so many great ideas and insights that the reader may want to keep a journal to remember them by. The authors' ideas concerning intuitive design with natural materials are amazing, yet proven. Ianto is definitely critical of industrial architecture (he was a trained and licensed architect in the UK) and corporate control, but not in a way that is unbearable or preachy. I find these sorts of viewpoints incredibly refreshing when communicated so well, whether or not I completely agree with them or not. Evans covers virtually all aspects of site selection and home design while also including interviews with a few cob home owner/builders. This section is surely the real magic of this book and may greatly alter the reader's perceptions of both shelter and its relation to the surrounding environment.Part 2 describes the actual construction of a cob cottage. It is mostly authored by Michael Smith, who has authored another book detailing cob construction, "The Cobber's Companion".

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