8

In the south of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in west Africa, near the border with Ghana lies a small, circular village of about 1.2 hectares, called Tiébélé. This is home of the Kassena people, one of the oldest ethnic groups that had settled in the territory of Burkina Faso in the 15th century. Tiébélé is known for their amazing traditional Gourounsi architecture and elaborately decorated walls of their homes.

Burkina Faso is a poor country, even by West African standards, and possibly the poorest in the world. But they are culturally rich, and decorating the walls of their buildings is an important part of their cultural legacy in this area of the country. Wall decorating is always a community project done by the women and it’s a very ancient practice that dates from the sixteenth century AD.

via amusingplanet.com

5

Recycled bottles end up in cob walls for a stunning display—

Proyecto Gaia uses glass bottles embedded her structures walls to great effect. Before cob is added, wires are used to make the bottles “float” in their eventual positions. The cob may be added around the wire and bottles as normal. At the end, the bottles are cleaned of debris at the end to allow light to pass through.

(The kitchen is pictured at the top and the eventual workshop is pictured at the end.)

Aroma Italiano presenta el nuovo Blog

Hoy estamos muy contentos de compartir con ustedes el inicio del nuevo Blog de Aroma Italiano. Un espacio para estar más cerca de ustedes, donde informar, publicar y divulgar nuestras soluciones, productos y diseños para la bio arquitectura, la construcción sostenible y la vivienda saludable. Aquí encontrarán vídeos, fotos y comentarios interesantes y las ultimas tendencia para vivir en lugares más sanos.

youtube

Jon Jandai - Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? #video #TEDx

Jon is a farmer from northeastern Thailand. He founded the Pun Pun Center for Self-reliance, an organic farm outside Chiang Mai, with his wife Peggy Reents in 2003.

10

I visited Project Gaia near Santa Sofia yesterday—part of a greater introduction to Bioconstruiendo Colombia.

Not many structures are present thus far, but some its quickly taking shape. Sand and clay are being sifted on site; as with Choachi, tires are being packed with earth; and a cob building houses the all-vegetarian kitchen.

(Not to mention their garden that includes many things I’ve only read about—and some I’ve never even heard of! Look for them to slowly appear on Oobites.com.)

I’ll likely be contributing there very soon—if not today: I can’t decide!!

youtube

Un documental sobre la bioconstrucción y cosas hippies.

4

Cob bricks make for high thermal mass walls at Proyecto Gaia—

Continuing my series of bioconstruction techniques, cob bricks are constitutionally identical to a straight cob wall. Cob as a mixture of straw and clay doesn’t hold together well until its dried; making cob bricks eliminates the need for specifically crafted formwork.

Also, cob bricks can be made over a period of time, and they lend themselves to a more leisurely pace of construction. Once enough bricks are completed, an entire wall can quickly be put together with more cob acting as mortar.

Pictured here, the brick cob walls were covered in another layer for a smooth surface.

6

The walls of the workshop and one of the houses at Proyecto Gaia are made from “light straw” construction. This technique uses the same basic materials as cob construction, but rather than a solid wall made from clay and straw, straw is lightly coated in a water-clay mixture and fills the[, here, bamboo-] frame.

Rather than a wall with a high thermal mass, a wall like this has highly insulatetive properties.

3

Cordwood Wall Construction at Proyecto Gaia

Cordwood walls are another cob construction technique.  This time, rather than walls that are entirely cob (with inlaid bottles) or light straw, pieces of sections of wood are laid so their transverse sections are exposed.

These logs were from the very same eucalyptus poles that compose the main structure of the buildings at Proyecto Gaia.

Cordwood walls have a greater thermal mass than a stud wall but have poorer insulative ability. Entirely cob (or brick and mortar) have an even greater thermal mass. Thermal mass is important to passively regulate internal building temperature.

It’s not uncommon for the wood sections to remain visible in the finished wall.

2

Compost Bays at Proyecto Gaia—

All the food at Proyecto Gaia is vegetarian which lends itself easily to composting. Inclusion of dairy, meat or bone, or other animal-based scraps is best left to industrial composting sites (or anaerobic at-home methods).

As with the company I worked for in Austin, Texas, food scraps are combined with high carbon-containing material like leaf litter or straw in this case. They provide structure for the piles allowing better gas exchange. Anaerobic microbial action usually means unpleasant odors.

These bays are built with river bamboo. Compost Pedallers use discarded pallets.

This face of the hills of Santa Sophia is relatively dry and these piles do require watering, but they’re right there in the garden—two birds and all that.

Reciprocal Roof on Proyecto Gaia’s Workshop

A reciprocal roof uses beams that support one another so no central support structure is needed. You can read about it on Wikipedia probably.

As with the other elements of the frame, eucalyptus poles are used for as the roof beams. Folks are happy to cut down the eucalyptus trees here since they’re not native, but I do have to admit they have a lot of utility; they grow quickly and when cut, a new tree starts in place of the old one. Tons of trees either serve as or get turned into fence posts here.