Making of a Cob Bench



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History of Cob

History of the Bench




Soil Analysis



Strength of the Cob


Additional Fun



The Future

Deer Sightings


Last Thoughts












This has been an long, insightful, challenging, and fulfilling project.  I feel accomplished to have worked on the cob bench and to have made progress on it.  I only wish I had had more time to have done more work.  Often I would wish I didn't have any other classes or priorities so I could have dedicated my full time to the bench.  There were so many days that I just wanted to keep on cobbing, do more research,  or look at more pictures on the web of other cob structures.  Sadly, other homework and chores needed to be done.  However, I feel great to have done a big part in making the bench come closer to completion.  What I feel is great about working with CCAT is that it is okay to not to fully complete a project, but instead complete a step in the process; this will give others in the community a chance to work on the project as well.  Having the cob bench at CCAT will also allow many people to view it and possibly get them to start thinking about appropriate technology.  It may help them take  some sort of action in their lives, no matter how small, and to become more conscious of the world around them.  I'm immensely appreciative of CCAT and the ENGR 305 class to have had this opportunity to get hands-on experience with appropriate technology.  With so many other projects that are available to be worked on at CCAT, I hope I'll have more opportunities in the future.




Many times when I was working on the bench, construction was also in progress on the new Behavioral Science Building.  It was an interesting sight to have me working on a natural building project in the shadow of a 5 five story modern building project.  Little old me working on my small earthen structure with a stick in one hand, right next to this huge structure with cranes and men in hardhats hammering away, was a comical juxtaposition.  This image, in a way, depicts two seemingly opposite building techniques that are used throughout the world.  Cob, which is not detrimental to the environment, and a modern building, which because of the materials used, can be extremely detrimental to the environment.  However, on closer inspection, the Behavioral Sciences Building is not just your ordinary, run of the mill building.  It will actually be the first state funded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified building in California.  The building, for example, will implement photovoltaic panels, a rainwater catchment system, and appropriate landscaping.  While society at large will most likely always need materials for building such as lumber and concrete, this is not to say current building techniques can't be reexamined and improved.  Buildings like the Behavioral Science Building are implementing techniques that can not only lessen the environmental impact, but be beneficial towards it.  LEED building and natural building are steps in the right direction and highlight the much needed shift from unsuitable practices to the sustainable ones.  


On a final note, this project has inspired me.  After working with cob and seeing some incredible cob houses and structures I can't but help want to continue making cob sometime in the future.  I would really enjoy someday incorporating into my own house cob structures such as benches, walls, and ovens.  What I've learned in doing this project will be immensely important for future natural building activities.


-Jessica Rendon 12/09/05