Back to Basics: Architect Reimagines Ancient Technique for Sustainable Homes

Imagine a house built with readily available, low-impact materials. Architect Anthony Hudson has done just that, pioneering a revolutionary method for building homes using a centuries-old technique: cob.

Cob houses, constructed from earth, water, and straw, have existed for millennia. However, they haven’t always met modern building regulations. Hudson’s innovation lies in adapting cob construction to comply with current standards. His firm, Hudson Architects, has constructed the UK’s first-ever cob dwelling that adheres to these regulations, paving the way for a more sustainable future in homebuilding.

“The challenge was to create a home using earth as the primary building material,” Hudson says. This “mud house,” as some might call it, boasts significant advantages. Earthen construction offers superior thermal mass, resulting in naturally cooler summers and warmer winters – a quality that translates to lower energy bills. Additionally, cob is a highly renewable resource, significantly reducing the environmental impact of construction.

The project wasn’t without its hurdles. Fine-tuning the cob mixture to meet building codes took time, but after six years, Hudson’s vision is a reality. “CobBauge,” as his company has dubbed it, represents a potential turning point in sustainable construction. Not only is it eco-friendly, but Hudson believes it can be “a very attractive method” aesthetically as well.

While cob houses might not be the answer for every location or homeowner, Hudson’s innovation demonstrates the potential of revisiting traditional techniques. By incorporating time-tested methods with modern adaptations, we can build a more sustainable future, one house at a time.


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