May 20, 2006

Stake In The Ground

Since it has been about 8-years between the time I purchased my land until I started the studio; I used that period of time to observe the land and plan both the art and the science behind the location of the first structure. I knew once the excavator arrived to clear my building site, there would be no possible way to change my mind regarding placement of the cob studio.

My cob art studio will be the first of several solar-powered earthen dwellings, making-up a hacienda-style placement of living/workng environments.

The photo in this blog shows the completed excavation for the studio. I chose to locate the studio in a berm for several important reasons: 1) The clay soil excavated will become the primary building material for the structure. 2) The west side of the building will be against the berm, thus keeping the afternoon summer sun from baking that side of the building. 3) All structures built in the mound will seem to blend into the environment, as opposed to sitting directly on top of the land and sticking-out like a sore thumb. 4) Sounds that seem to travel unobstructed over long distances in the desert, will now pass over top of the buildings; resulting in quieter living/working environment. 5) I will just look cool.

The photo in this blog shows the completed excavation. The left side of the photo is south; the right side of the photo is the north side. The excavated profile of the land running across the photo is the west side and has an elevation of approximately 9-feet at its peak height. My cob studio will incorporate a passive-solar design; with a majority of the windows facing south in order to optimize solar heat gain in the winter. Most bermed buildings have their north side against the earth. However; since the earthen mound on my property runs north-to-south for approximately 100-feet, I decided that the summer sun in the west would be more of a challenge to creating a comfortable living space than the potential cold of the north side: Therefore, I will be 'berming' the west side of the studio.

Since I'm starting out with the studio at the south end of the mound, the current idea is that the north side of the building begins the courtyard. the courtyard will extend towards the north until the next series of structures is built.

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