Monday, March 5, 2007

December 2006 photos

Kids in the clay

My two kids have loved being at the building site, as you can see, and apart from a lot of hosing down being needed, it's a wonderfully safe yet real building experience for kids. We've had kids aged 3 to 14 so far and one school visit so far. The clay is imported at minimal expense from a municipal dig close by as Muizenberg's own soil is basically sand. The mix in the cob ends up being about 20% clay, the rest being sand, straw and water. Some people are lucky enough to have the right kind of mix already on their building site!

Getting our feet stuck in - building the walls at last. Bare feet is the best method for mixing the cob so that it hangs together well. Cement mixers have been tried elsewhere but are not ideal. You get to feel when you have got the right texture, and your feet get a good work-out/massage in the process!

Garden wall view

This was the first wall the team built, while perfecting the right cob mix from our materials. As you can see it has been plastered beautifully, and with some nice curves. The plaster is basically a mix of cob with some lime, to which you can add pigments. The conventional brickwork you can see is in the centre of the house, around the plumbing/ toilets, and taking some of the strain off the posts for when the roof goes on (which will be before the cob walls reach that height). The temporary steel fencing will of course be removed! You can just get a hint of the mountain view behind.

The joists are on!

Our first floor is wood, and is far from a straightforward geometric pattern. This part features a pentagonal shape! The giant poles are gums that were being chopped down as unwanted alien vegetation (too water-thirsty for our climate). They've been protected with an all-natural varnish; also plastic at the top, until the roof goes on, to keep the top from cracking. Below you can see Siza getting going with a tarpaulin mixing cob with his feet. This was the level of the cob walls in early December. The house walls have yet to be plastered, of course, and the drying process is slow.

Michael using our giant sieve

This is to sift the sand from our site until it's usable for the cob mix.

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