Monday, December 10, 2007

New views inside and outside

In some places we're using "adobes" - cob bricks. They can go quite high quite quickly and provide a strong thin wall in places where we don't want the thickness. Here is one near the front door.
There are more adobes here above the kitchen doorway, a doorway that had to be cobbed on one side but attached to the plumbing brickwork on the other side. Thick cob walls above would have been too much for the lintel.
Here's a view from the living room through one of the big north panels.
Another doorway upstairs and some scaffolding in process at the internal entrance to the guest bedroom.
As upstairs gets completed we can see where the east light will come in to our bedroom...
...and the 'brahmastan', a central still-point that's left empty from foundation to sky (a sky-light will be added later, and probably some hanging plants)
...there's another mountain that's only visible from the guest bedroom
and in this area are windows that will give a sea view and a view of the Hottentot Holland mountains in the distance respectively, here seen with built-in shelves that have been simply cobbed onto.

Complications and delays

This is the one wall that has really been held up. There were due to be a couple of big windows upstairs above the garage entrance, but the cable got in the way when the engineer added that to the design to keep the gum pole straight! So hiding the cable in cob is necessary, but the cob is too heavy for a regular wood lintel over the garage door. Gavin (our engineer) has now constructed a big girder to go in instead, and we have a curved arch left over to make it all look nice - but nothing goes here until the carpenters have put that girder in.
All the big north facing windows were designed and built before the real, organic shapes of the holes appeared - and they are different to the window sizes. So everything here gets a lot more complex, and requires some clever carpentry to make it all watertight. Next house we'll only build these up once the space has been created!
This internal cob wall has collapsed a couple of times along the way - because it dries MUCH more slowly than other walls, as it gets much less light and heat to dry it. We're well warned now for when we add the cob floor, at least. You can see that this wall also connects to the front door, with its wood panel above. Like the north windows this also had to be resized as it was built before the second storey was laid - and was too tall!