Swedish Style Cob Sauna: San Marcos, Guatemala, July 2017 (Updates coming)

This is turning into a blast of a project! The two levels of seating are able to seat 4 or 2 people stretched out. The whole structure sits up against an existing stone retaining wall right next to a plunge pool in a gorgeous alcove of the San Marcos valley. The lime plastered exterior and terra cotta tiled roof are meant to match the house and the rocket oven that I built for the client earlier in the year. Stay tuned for more pictures as the project progresses. 

Intro to Natural Building workshop: Tzununa, Guatemala, June 2017

In this, the first intro course of the season, our group of students all worked together to build a rocket/lorena stove for a local family here in the rural town of Tzununa, Guatemala. We covered everything from foundations to roofs, initial designs to finish plasters. Thanks to the students for a fantastic job done and a great stove that our host family will enjoy for years!

Banawang House Finish Photos: Bagac, Philippines 2017

These pictures were recently sent to me by the volunteers who helped to put the finishing touches on the house. Thanks for all your wonderful work!

Outdoor Natural Kitchen: Tzununa, Guatemala 2017 (Coming Soon)

 

Rocket Oven Prototypes: San Marcos, Guatemala 2016-17

Between Nov. and February, one of the side projects I worked on was developing a clean burning and efficient oven out of natural materials. I was inspired by the designs of "Organic Motion" to use rocket stove technology to increase the fuel efficiency of conventional cob ovens and still keep the materials and technical know-how simple enough that it would be easy for most people to build. I built the first prototype for Charlie Rendall at his place in San Marcos, Guatemala and it worked really well! From the success of the first oven I was hired by a neighbor to build another one. I used that opportunity to make some minor adjustments such as extending the heat riser and making the build process more simple and streamlined. These are the pictures from the first prototype and the second professional build. I plan on releasing an instructional e-book soon that anyone can use to get the same results. If you want to stay updated on when the manual comes out, click here to subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for regular news and releases.  

 

Natural building workshop: Tzununa, Guatemala 2016

In the last two weeks in November Oliver acted as a teaching assistant in a natural building workshop taught by Liz Johndrow and Charlie Rendall which was hosted by Atitlan Organics. Seven students from around the world came to learn the basics of bamboo joinery, cob and adobe building techniques, natural plasters, tadalakt and much more.

Based around an outdoor kitchen project, Liz lead the group from theory and instruction into building foundations, walls, benches and stoves. Jumping right into earthen materials with bare feet and hands the group navegated through mixing and wall building techniques all the way to functional kitchen elements and finish work.

During the the two weeks of the course the group built two earthen rocket stoves, a brick and earthen cooking top, re-platered a cob bench, framed the roof for the kitchen with bamboo poles, built a bajareke wall (local technique of wattle and daub), and practiced the lime plastering technique known as tadalakt on wall panels of the bamboo hotel.  

Adobe House: Yene Tod Senegal 2016

Between Feb and April 2016 Abundant Edge's local Senegalese team got to build the adobe walls for a private residence on a Mango orchard just outside of Yene Tod, Senegal. Using local adobe techniques, our team was tasked with the challenge to integrate the earthen brick walls within a pre-existing steel frame work. Oliver Goshey worked closely with Bas Van Der Pol of "Het Element A" architecture to convert the original plans from cement to adobe walls. The local crew worked carefully to attach the adobe to the interior concrete walls for the bathrooms.

Ventilation channels were built above the main door frames facilitate interior air flow. Faux ventilation channels were carved into the upper exterior walls as an aesthetic feature. The adobe walls were carefully constructed around the existing steel structure to best assimilate the two materials and to minimize cosmetic cracking in the finish. The client also wanted to lay tile on all the interior walls in the bathroom so those walls were made from cement. To avoid the water erosion that occurs when earthen and cement walls meet, a three centimeter space was left between the adobe and cement walls with an opening at the top that allows air to ventilate the space. The adobe walls were finished in a clay based plaster made mostly from soil on site.

Goslinga Guest House: Yene Kao, Senegal 2016

Between February and April 2016 our Sengalese team, led by Oliver Goshey, built a cob guest house for Mieke and Wiebe Goslinga in Yene Kao, Senegal. Working closely with Roos Limburg, head architect at Studio Placemakers, the small house was designed to be a comfortable vacation cottage for Micke and Wiebe, and others who visited Yene Kao to collaborate with Studio Placemakers. Oliver Goshey and the Senegalese crew, (who were trained during the previous Yene Kao cob house project) built the cob guest house, in under two months.

The sub foundation are made of recycled tires rammed with gravel, and the upper foundation and bathroom wall are made of mortared local volcanic stone. The walls are made of cob and finished with clay plaster. We were fortunate to have access to such great clay soil on site; most of the material for the cob walls came from the excavation of the foundation and septic tank. Custom stone work was done for a beautiful finish for the bathroom shower space, and the water system is designed to accommodate a solar hot water supply. The electrical system will eventually be supplied by solar panels, but for now runs off municipal supply. The roof is made of eucalyptus poles and hand woven thatch which keeps the interior space much cooler than conventional corrugated steel or a cement ceiling. The northeast facing veranda stays cool and shaded all day after receiving a few hours of warming sun in the cool mornings. The design is intended to function like a one room apartment unit in it's efficiency and could be easily replicated and customized for a different location.

Hans and Roos' House: Yene Kao, Senegal 2016

Between December 2015 and February 2016 Hans Goslinga and Roos Limburg hosted a cob building workshop on their land in Yene Kao, Senegal. Yene Kao is a quickly growing pre-urban environment located on the Atlantic coast just outside of the southern suburbs of Dakar.

Oliver Goshey acted as an assistant teacher with Claudine Desire of “Cruisin Cob Global” and taught the basics of cob wall construction to 17 students, both from Senegal and all over the world. At the end of the workshop Oliver continued on as the project contractor leading the Senegalese students to finish the house.

The building, designed by Roos Limburg, is intended to be a residence for her and Hans, as well as a base for their NGO, Studio Placemakers, which designs and builds community driven public space projects.

The house consists of a four room floor plan with a large veranda and separated bathroom. The double roof system allows air flow between the bottom and top roofs to maximize cooling. Ventilation ports in the back wall aid in air circulation while maintaining privacy from the road behind the house. The bathroom and kitchen are connected to a gray water filtration garden and the dry toilet produces humanure compost. The foundation is made of recycled tires filled with gravel and laterite (rough volcanic clay), then covered with wire mesh and stucco.

Each step of the construction and finish work was completed by local and international students who learned this technique for the first time. Some of the local students have already gone on to start natural building projects of their own with the new skills they learned.

Singing Toad House Re-plaster: Tres Orejas, New Mexico 2015

Oliver returned for a second time to the Tres Orejas community in northern New Mexico in 2015 to do routine maintenance and re-plastering on the Singing Toad house. During that time he worked with one assistant and to complete the maintenance on the exterior in one week.

The client had also requested that a finished plaster be applied to the upper level interior of the house. Using caution to move the furniture and keeping everything organized, the interior walls were finished in a clay based plaster with a wheat paste binder and an addition of mica flakes to give a bright shimmer to the walls when hit by the light. Both plaster jobs are good example of finished and renovations that can be done on both natural and conventional homes

Banawang Round House: Bagac, Philippines 2014-15

Between September of 2014 and April 2015 Abundant Edge accepted its first project to build in the the town of Bagac on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines. After doing some consulting and design work for the client, Oliver Goshey traveled to the Philippines to start the first cob house. Working on a small 1,700 ft plot of land, plans had to take into account many factors including seismic activity, substantial hurricane seasons, passive solar cooling, all while best utilizing the small space. The round house that was designed was intended to be comfortable for two people while creating a gradient between outdoor and indoor space so that the small space feels larger and incorporates resources from outdoors.

The roof was designed to have large eaves that help to protect and shade the cob walls in the typhoon season and also catch and store rain water for use in the dry season. The thick cob walls are intended to keep interior temperatures cool by regulating the temperature swings with their thermal mass. The foundation incorporated a gravel drainage trench below it to remove any standing rain water away from the building. The balcony on the second level extends the living space of the bedroom and helps to shield and shade the walls below it. The plumbing is connected to the municipal water supply but has a valve that allows the system to switch to using stored rainwater when the water barrels are full. Grey water that drains from the sinks and the shower is diverted to filtration gardens that purify the water and make it available for garden irrigation. The composting dry toilet turns humanure into usable compost for the garden as well. The overall vision of the project was to build an aesthetically pleasing home that serves as an example for regenerative living practices where the inhabitants can be a self reliant as possible. The natural resources in this area of the Philippines offers as many gifts as it does challenges and hopefully one day this house will be an example of how the gifts can be used to create abundance and the challenges can be converted into advantages. See further up the list for updated finish photos

Tres Orejas Plasters and Finishes: Taos, NM 2013

In June-July of 2013 Oliver Goshey worked with Carole Crews on two natural building projects near her property outside of Taos, New Mexico. The first project was an exterior re-plaster job on the Singing Toad house in the Tres Orejas community. The hybrid adobe/stone house hadn't undergone maintenance in nearly six years of harsh New Mexico weather and the exterior finish was showing signs of erosion. In three weeks Carole and Oliver repaired the earthen finish and aesthetic features with locally sourced clay and sand strengthened with wheat paste and a small amount of acrylic binder. Clay based paints tinted with mineral tones made for the bright colored features on the exterior.

In the last week, Carole hosted a natural plasters and finishes workshop on her property. Acting as an assistant teacher Oliver helped to lead the students through the process of mixing and coloring clay based paints, lime and clay plasters, and casein wash.

Over the course of the week the workshop students re-plastered one of the walls of the outdoor living room as well as the outdoor sculptures and entrance, repainted one of the bedrooms in the main house, and finished it with a casein wash. The students were also given presentations on natural wall systems, and the use of the wood fired hot tub.