Our current buildings are compliant with local governments, but these standards are expensive and low-quality. To circumvent a building permit, future structures will be temporary, moveable and less than 125 square feet. There will be a communal kitchen, bath facility and commons spaces, so people just need a place to sleep and store their belongings.
We have designed and built 10x10x10 foot cubes made with locally milled wood. Our bandsaw mills logs into 4x4 inch cants, beams and boards. Walls are made with milled boards and insulated with straw, clay, cob and plaster. The cube rests on an earth foundation with built in mass heater, bath and connection to an outdoor composter/toilet.
Timbers could be fitted together then braced with rebar (ideally we develop a wood joinery system) A wood pyramid rests on top of the cube. The pyramid serves as a temple and meditation space. A staircase joins the cube and pyramid. A door in the pyramid is opened for air flow.
Shalla boxes are simple, functional, attractive and easily affordable. They provide heat, shelter and basic cooking and cleaning. They serve as storage units, workshops and studios for eco villagers.
For optimal insulation, we bury the cube structure up to the pyramid. Underground cubes could be enveloped under a larger pyramid/tipi. Wood poles from the forest and boards from our mill provide slanted retaining wall around the cube
Cob and Plaster
Cob buildings using cordwood seem quite plausible given the fact that we are surrounded by forests on all sides of the 1,600 acres Saranagati Village valley. We welcome the involvement of those who may have experience in building such structures.
Most structures will follow a customized format, means quite small and possibly moveable, (but leaving sufficient room for innovation and uniqueness) using cob materials from straw, earth, rocks and wood.
Our aim is to construct high quality living earth structures, such as cob benches, wood fired ovens, and adobe dome saunas encouraging community involvement through educational workshops and gatherings around the finished project, promoting a healthy, simple and creative lifestyle harmonious with the natural flow of creation.
Reasons to build with Cob and Plaster
- Most importantly, it is fun.
- Anybody can help mix and sculpt cob-children, elderly, businessmen…
- Easy to learn in a workshop.
- Very affordable for you use materials right from your land
- Helps build a relationship with the surrounding earth on your property.
- Keeps excavated clay out of landfill, and uses recycled concrete for foundations.
- Inspires creativity and artistic flare
- Its design can be rounded, smooth, soft and sensual.
- Is water resistant if protected properly
- The rounded nature of cob structures makes them earthquake resistant.
- Avoid using wood, saving trees, to give us more healthy air to breath.
- Avoids using cement whose production burns fossil fuels.
- Cob walls breathe, which allows you to live in a living organism.
- Working with cob involves working with community- the ultimate work party.
- Clay in cob can absorb toxins.
- Mixing clay with feet can massage the feet-it feels so good!
- Sculpting the cob strengthens the fingers, and gives the earth a nice massage.
- Is easy to repair, add on, change, or re-plaster.
- It is comfortable, and the design can be an efficient use of space.
- Often the spaces built with cob feels like being inside of a hug.
- Because building a cob house is more affordable, you have more free time.
- Allows you to live more in nature, as cob houses are not yet permitted in the city.
- You can have arched doors, rounded windows, curved walls and a living roof allowing you to live like a hobbit.
- In the process of building and playing in the clay, your inner child comes out.
- Can make ovens, and bake pizzas, bread, casseroles, cookies, etc.
- The ovens allow you to enjoy an outdoor fireplace staying warm in the winter.
- Cob benches allow you to sit, relax, and enjoy life.
- When living in the city, it brings more nature into your life surrounded by cement.
- It is tapping into ancient indigenous building wisdom.
- Allow you to work outside, receiving fresh air and sunlight.
- Gets you into shape, builds muscle, and is good for the skin.
- Can make a good living being hired as a professional cob builder.
- Can travel and work around the world, spreading beautiful functional creations.
- Brings people together- a excellent bonding agent.
- Gives people a sense of accomplishment to build something for themselves.
- Don’t need noisy expensive power tools that burn energy.
- Helps you appreciate Mother Earth, and be more connected to your land.
- You can infuse the cob with your creative essence through chanting & singing.
- With its high thermal mass, Cob absorbs heat during the heat of the day,
and radiates it out during the coolness of the night.
- It is fun (I know that was mentioned already, but it is worth mentioning again!)
Overall, it is the solution for living a more enjoyable, healthy, satisfying life.
Ideally, living areas will be underground to keep warm in winter and cool in summer.
We keep our lives simple yet sublime in service to Lord Krishna.