A Modern Ancient Home

Ziggy's cob home is now completed and occupied. Image courtesy of Brian Liloia
After nine months of full time labor, Ziggy's cob home is now completed and occupied. Image courtesy of Brian Liloia

The first thing that attracted me to this cottage was the way it seemed to grow out of the earth.

The walls of the home in northeastern Missouri, recently featured on TreeHugger, are built out of cob, “a building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, similar to adobe,” according to Wikipedia. “Cob is an ancient building material, that may have been used for construction since prehistoric times.” The roof is of the living, breathing and growing variety — called reciprocal — capable of producing juicy strawberries.

So my first impression wasn’t that far off.

The second thing that I found appealing was the almost exclusive use of natural, recycled or donated building materials in an off-the grid setting. Not much new material went into the 360 square feet cottage, affectionately called GOBCOBATRON by owner Brian Liloia. Mr. Liloia, in turn, is affectionately called Ziggy by his friends.

Third in the list of favorite features was the per-square-foot cost: under $9.00 or about $3,000.00 for the one-room dwelling. This is not a typo. The actual cost was Three Thousand Dollars. The owner accomplished this by working himself full time (“I stomped 219 batches of cob for the walls of my house by foot…”) on the project for approximately nine months. Ziggy also secured the assistance of over 75 work exchangers, visitors, and friends. Here’s a list of materials and their costs:

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Eco Smarts

Over at GoodGuide, Dr. Dara O’Rourke writes about Ecological Intelligence:

Daniel Goleman, the author of the best selling book Emotional Intelligence, has just published a fantastic new book called Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Changes Everything.

In this book, Goleman argues that markets are shifting towards something he calls “Radical Transparency” as consumers demand much more information on the products they buy everyday. With advances in global information systems, and in the science of measuring product impacts through tools such as Life Cycle Assessment, the public is finally beginning to be able to access comprehensive information on the trade-offs inherent in their purchasing decisions.

Read the rest of the review here

You can also watch Daniel Goleman’s appearance on Bill Moyer’s Journal

Compelling television!

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