Most buildings we live and work in are soulless and environmentally offensive;there is a real need for another kind of architecture: it is called Green, Alternative, Ecological, Earthen or Organic Architecture and is tested all over the world. We just need to join forces and rise public awareness and confidence that this ancient solution which is right under our feet is one of the best answer to some of the challenges that modern world is faced with. For now cob could be used in ecotourism, the cottage industry or ecovillages, but I see it used in the public area of a steel and glass highrise as a niche retreat for lunch on a hot day, or with a fireplace in winter. In the 80’s it was the glass pyramid of Louvre, in the 21st century, a cob structure in the central plaza or park of a large city.
Here are some of the benefits to society and environment:
Ethical standards and social equity
Conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people (unskilled or unemployed) builds environmental and cultural awareness and respect, promotes health, tradition and heritage, provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people. The construction respects the place where the building stands and the distant places where the highly processed construction supplies come from.
Ecological quality and energy saving
It has minimum environmental impact, there is no need for modernized access roads, most construction material is on-site, by digging the foundation we get the material for the walls, the rest can be hauled in by “real horse power”; topsoil removed from the building’s footprint is used for the living roof, so the building becomes an active component of the ecosystem. Cob is gentle on the planet, it reduces the use of wood, steel, and toxic building supplies.
Buildings are solar oriented and energy efficient, warm in the winter and cool in the summer, no air conditioning is needed and minimal heating is required due to the exceptional thermalmass quality of cob. There is no need for a dumpster during construction and recycled materials are used.
Economic performance and compatibility
Financial resources used are 1/10 of a traditional building.
Resursele financiare folosite reprezinta aprox. o zecime fata de o cladire traditionala.
Cob constructions are a viable solution as they raise sensitivity in host communities to political, environmental and social issues. Rural and vacation housing programs can be derived from this experience. This prototipe building will deliver the first set of data needed to establish the technical and economical standards for this kind of architecture.
Contextual response and aesthetic impact
Inspiration for the buildings comes from direct observation of nature, traditional values, skills and wisdom that are still present in Romanian villages but are rapidly being eroded by “modern” consumerism. The fluidity of form created by the curved walls, arches and vaults is unique to cob. Buildings are healthy, non-polluting and respond to the site’s aesthetics, ecology and microclimate.
A new construction system with a unique and gentle approach to create buildings, it is so easy and simple that we tend to dismiss it without giving it another thought, however it is an attempt for a truly Ecological Architecture.
- There are many attempts for an Ecological Architecture bat only few are truly “green” (see my favorite links)
- Detail of a grass roof in Mehadia Romania.
- This is my version of Green Architecture.