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Picture galleries



It's not only small cabins and complete houses that can be made out of earth but also garden walls, fire places and ovens. Even natural renovations can turn your drywall box into a natural home!

jelly bean

Start to finish:

The Jelly Bean

The Jelly Bean is a "tiny house" at its best. These beautiful 70 square feet is now the home of Conrad and was built in 2013 mostly during a 3-week workshop. It features a sleeping loft and a kitchenette. It also has its own tiny solar system.


Material cost: $1700

Square footage: 70

Built in 6 weeks.

our house

Start to finish:

A code approved hybrid house

This permitted house has a conventional shell, with a natural home on the inside. Insulation is provided by straw bales, while the interior is mostly made out of cob, earthen plasters and floors. It was built in 2002 with the help of a rotating apprentice group.


Total cost: $50.000

Square footage: 900

Built in 6 months.


Start to finish:

Our project in Mexico

In 2004, House Alive traveled to Mexico in order to build an all-cob house for a family of 7. They had lost their home in a recent hurricane. The project took 2 months to complete and included a 2-week workshop. The beautiful palm thatch was put on by a local crew.


Material cost: $4000

Square footage: 500

Built in 2 months.

pine ridge

Start to finish:

Our project on the Pine Ridge reservation

The Pine Ridge reservation is often considered the poorest region of the USA. We offered to build a home for a Lakota elder, who at the time was living in a drafty duplex in Wounded knee. The project was the effort of the 2010 apprentice group of House Alive. The house has been called "the warmest house on the res".


Material cost: $18.000

Square footage: 600

Built in 2 months.


Everyone seems to enjoy playing with "dirt". During our workshops. We find that people who claim to be "non-artists" are invited to make beautiful things out of cob, plasters and earthen paints. It dries slowly, giving you a chance to sculpt with a lot of forgiveness. The materials are wonderful to touch and safe to work with.

Art and play with cob, plasters and paints


Start to finish: a cob cabin in India on the border with Buthan

In the fall of 2015, House Alive traveled to one of the most remote areas in the world to build a cob cabin in the children's community Jhamtse Gatsal. We harvested our own ricestraw from the fields and used all local rocks, sand and clay-soil to build the foundation and the walls. The project was finished in 9 weeks by 9 apprentices and 3 instructors, and, ...lots of help from the children.


material cost: $1200

square footage: 220

Built in 2 months.


Start to finish: a cob cabin overlooking Lake Victoria. 

Kisumu, Kenya

In the Fall of 2016, we traveled to Kisumu, Kenya to introduce cob to a small village. This was a workshop with only local participants. The people were extremely glad to be introduced to this, for them, new form of earthen construction. It can help them

save wood and make stronger, more beautiful houses.

Material cost: About $3000, mostly for the roof.

Square footage: 300

Built in 5 weeks.

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