Friday, July 18, 2008

Why we're doing it

"Not satisfied or confident that life can be renewed, unwilling and afraid to grow old, to gradually become magnificent, treelike elders, or die into cultural humus, the modern man or woman demands the permanence of steel cities and immortality... such individuals are like cornered cats, frozen in the anxious void of modern communities... Violence is close behind when people won't come together to remake each others' houses."
(Martin Prechtel, native American shaman).

Of course, if we maintain it, this house will last long. But it has been built by a community and will be maintained by communal effort. This is the kind of building - houses and communities together - that South Africa needs - urgently!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Finishing up

Well, we moved in a couple of months ago - so things have slowed up a little on the final bits and pieces. Externally, there are some plaster areas you can see here we've been waiting for a while to finish off: here Amos deftly throws up for Ntokozo to put onto the south wall.
The wood faces on the north side are difficult to waterproof - but Flanagan Construction have really helped us out here with good ideas on doing so while still leaving the work looking neat, thanks to Carl in particular whose work you can see here on the joins between floors, and of course to Charlie who helped us out with the bigger picture.
Here's Wazeer putting in the 'beam filler' - wood that all had to be individually cut to join the curved roof to the straight window tops.

Inside, most of the walls have been painted using our own mix of lime, clay and tumeric, on site, then sealed naturally. But in some places - like here in the kids' room - we wanted something brighter. Conventional paints play havoc with cob walls so we've tried a few of the natural options - this is a primrose yellow from Breathecoat.