Cliff, one of our readers, sent me these photos of old cob houses in New Zealand. They look really nice, especially considering their age. I knew New Zealand and Australia have a long history of building with earth, but I didn’t realize how well the buildings are holding up and how beautiful they are.
The Marlborough Cob Cottage is “a good example of how early Marlburians constructed dwellings in a region without a close supply of timber. ‘Cob’ is a building material made from a mix of earth and tussock grass. Cob Cottage is located on State Highway 1 in Riverlands on the outskirts of Blenheim, and boasts being the most visited historic home in Marlborough. In the early 1900s it was used as Riverlands School. When you visit Cob Cottage you can see photos and stories from those early days.”
From the Flickr site: “An old 19th century historic cob cottage, restored and open to the public, on State Highway 1. A plaque provides a message: “This cob house built in the early 1860s was restored from January 1961 to November 1965 by the Marlborough Historical Society Inc.”
“Paterson’s accommodation house at Hakataremea was built in 1872. It has a shingle roof and is built from cob, a building material made of dried mud and straw. This had the advantage of being a good insulator, warm in winter and cool in summer.” [Actually, cob is thermal mass, not insulation, and will get cold if the temperature drops low enough. Same as earthbag.]