March 07, 2006
Ancient Building Technologies
When first thinking about designing a solar-powered earthen studio for my filmmaking and other multi-media art, I was highly influenced by my visits to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. I wanted to think like an Anasazi in order to adapt dwellings to what can be harsh climate conditions in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Although the walls of the buildings at Chaco Canyon are stone, my material will be "Cob" which is a mix of straw and clay soil. However, I plan to build a stone 'stem-wall' out of stone for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Cob lends itself well to building irregular shapes, such as: Circles, Curves, Ovals, etc. I wanted my studio space to have flowing curves and a circular room similar to a ceremonial Kiva. (Photo by Barton Santello: Passage between rooms - Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon)