This beautiful example of a small family aspiring to start a garden and small orchard on their new home evolved over a few years. Oliver Goshey created the initial design with maps based on data collected on the site and permaculture zoning that helped the owners develop the project little by little. Getting the whole family involved, they’re now at a point where they’re reaping the benefits of delicious food, increased wildlife habitat and healthy playspace for their two young girls to learn about nature and stewardship of the land.
The first full home build in Guatemala. This structure uses cypress posts to bubble frame the two storey house with bajareke (wattle and daub) walls. Local stone and cement were used for the foundation and wall infill is a mixture of local clay soil, straw, sand, and a little lime to prevent cracking. The dimensional lumber for the framing comes from a local mill and the finishing features will mostly be added by the owners now that they’ve moved in.
Equally remarkable is the way the landscape design incorporates the waste streams from the house, such as the leech field below the septic tank that passively irrigates the trees and the check damn system that recovers sediment runoff in the seasonal stream that passes during the rainy season.
Between December 2015 and February 2016 Hans Goslinga and Roos Limburg hosted a cob building workshop on their land in Yene Kao, Senegal. Yene Kao is a quickly growing pre-urban environment located on the Atlantic coast just outside of the southern suburbs of Dakar.
Oliver Goshey acted as an assistant teacher with Claudine Desire of “Cruisin Cob Global” and taught the basics of cob wall construction to 17 students, both from Senegal and all over the world. At the end of the workshop Oliver continued on as the project contractor leading the Senegalese students to finish the house.
The building, designed by Roos Limburg, is intended to be a residence for her and Hans, as well as a base for their NGO, Studio Placemakers, which designs and builds community driven public space projects.
The house consists of a four room floor plan with a large veranda and separated bathroom. The double roof system allows air flow between the bottom and top roofs to maximize cooling. Ventilation ports in the back wall aid in air circulation while maintaining privacy from the road behind the house. The bathroom and kitchen are connected to a gray water filtration garden and the dry toilet produces humanure compost. The foundation is made of recycled tires filled with gravel and laterite (rough volcanic clay), then covered with wire mesh and stucco.
Each step of the construction and finish work was completed by local and international students who learned this technique for the first time. Some of the local students have already gone on to start natural building projects of their own with the new skills they learned.
Between September of 2014 and April 2015 Abundant Edge accepted its first project to build in the the town of Bagac on the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines. After doing some consulting and design work for the client, Oliver Goshey traveled to the Philippines to start the first cob house. Working on a small 1,700 ft plot of land, plans had to take into account many factors including seismic activity, substantial hurricane seasons, passive solar cooling, all while best utilizing the small space. The round house that was designed was intended to be comfortable for two people while creating a gradient between outdoor and indoor space so that the small space feels larger and incorporates resources from outdoors.
The roof was designed to have large eaves that help to protect and shade the cob walls in the typhoon season and also catch and store rain water for use in the dry season. The thick cob walls are intended to keep interior temperatures cool by regulating the temperature swings with their thermal mass. The foundation incorporated a gravel drainage trench below it to remove any standing rain water away from the building. The balcony on the second level extends the living space of the bedroom and helps to shield and shade the walls below it. The plumbing is connected to the municipal water supply but has a valve that allows the system to switch to using stored rainwater when the water barrels are full. Grey water that drains from the sinks and the shower is diverted to filtration gardens that purify the water and make it available for garden irrigation. The composting dry toilet turns humanure into usable compost for the garden as well. The overall vision of the project was to build an aesthetically pleasing home that serves as an example for regenerative living practices where the inhabitants can be a self reliant as possible. The natural resources in this area of the Philippines offers as many gifts as it does challenges and hopefully one day this house will be an example of how the gifts can be used to create abundance and the challenges can be converted into advantages. To date the house has weathered many typhoons and earthquakes without damage
In June-July of 2013 Oliver Goshey worked with Carole Crews on two natural building projects near her property outside of Taos, New Mexico. The first project was an exterior re-plaster job on the Singing Toad house in the Tres Orejas community. The hybrid adobe/stone house hadn’t undergone maintenance in nearly six years of harsh New Mexico weather and the exterior finish was showing signs of erosion. In three weeks Carole and Oliver repaired the earthen finish and aesthetic features with locally sourced clay and sand strengthened with wheat paste and a small amount of acrylic binder. Clay based paints tinted with mineral tones made for the bright colored features on the exterior.
In the last week, Carole hosted a natural plasters and finishes workshop on her property. Acting as an assistant teacher Oliver helped to lead the students through the process of mixing and coloring clay based paints, lime and clay plasters, and casein wash.
Over the course of the week the workshop students re-plastered one of the walls of the outdoor living room as well as the outdoor sculptures and entrance, repainted one of the bedrooms in the main house, and finished it with a casein wash. The students were also given presentations on natural wall systems, and the use of the wood fired hot tub.
Oliver returned for a second time to the Tres Orejas community in northern New Mexico in 2015 to do routine maintenance and re-plastering on the Singing Toad house. During that time he worked with one assistant and to complete the maintenance on the exterior in one week.
The client had also requested that a finished plaster be applied to the upper level interior of the house. Using caution to move the furniture and keeping everything organized, the interior walls were finished in a clay based plaster with a wheat paste binder and an addition of mica flakes to give a bright shimmer to the walls when hit by the light. Both plaster jobs are good examples of finishes and renovations that can be done on both natural and conventional homes