Finally, after a few years of meticulous work on the stone stem walls, cob is being applied to those walls.
My soil is extreme clay and I'm using this same soil for the walls. What's cool is that i'm using the same soil removed during the excavation of the hillside; that this studio is now bermed (see earlier blogs).
So the excavated clay soil becomes a 'local' resource used in making all the walls. If you include the cost of the excavation, and the straw used with the clay to make the 'cob', it's about $1,000 in primary materials. With that you get all the structural walls that also act as a thermal mass system. So the design of thermal mass in this structure, gets me a free heating and cooling system by utilizing the daily temperature cycles that make up a desert climate. This is how to extremely leverage $1,000 into the substantive basis for a comfortable and sustainable living environment.