Earthen building techniques

This is a cob house, which was constructed during a House Alive apprenticeship. It is now the cabin of Conrad's son, Jules, who has lived in the cabin since he was 16. He fully participated in the apprenticeship. This is sometimes referred to as the "teenage cottage".

This is a light straw-clay building in the Open Air museum in the Netherlands. the museum is full of historic buildings that were taken down somewhere else and then moved, as good as they could to the museum. Notice the beautiful timber frame and the high clay brick foundation, a more typical building material in the Netherlands.

This House Alive and "Be the Change" project is in Reno Nevada. scrap wood was used to build a skeleton frame. It was then filled in with cardboard for insulation. Wood lath went over the cardboard and the building was finished with a straw-clay plaster and a finish earthen plaster. This may very well be the first "cardboard house" in Reno.

This is an adobe brick house in San Christobal, Chiapas, Mexico. It was designed and built by a House Alive alumni and her Mexican husband. Local crews were hired to help with the block making as well as the building.

This is an adobe house, in the early stages. It has a very simple earthbag foundation.

This is a code approved hybrid house in Southern Oregon. The earthen plaster went on in 2 stages. The first stage was a basic brown plaster, made with the local clay-soil. After a few years we decided to beautify the house a bit: during our first House Alive apprenticeship in 2004 we put the lighter plaster over the brown.  

This was a terrible drywall/particle board room. We put some straw-clay plaster on the drywall, put a finish plaster over that, and gave the ceiling a clay paint. We also put in an earthen floor. Total material cost for this remodel was about $200. It was done by 6 students over 2 weekends, during a House Alive workshop.