The Story of Tuesday…


Morning: we visited the Goldconde building, designed by the Japanese architect George Nakishima in 1945, post WWII. The building was typical of the European, art-deco influence, of clean, post-modern and spacious construction. Very similar to the Western European Bauhaus style. Within the building were beautiful and modern furniture that the Nakishima’s created and still today produce. Pondicherry is one of the few places in the world that holds the Nakishima peace table along with South Africa and New York in the United States. A very interesting and informative visit, I highly recommend a visit should one get the chance!

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Afternoon; Part 1: During our lunch break, we were treated a YouTube video about an English ex-construction man, who built an incredible Goliath of a home using cob. 3 stories high and a quarter of a mile long walls that enclosed a spacious, multi-purpose, sustainable home. It also contained several sleeping quarters, a greenhouse, solar paneled roofs (which completely covered the conservatory roof; it was a very large conservatory too). All this in the county of Devon in the UK. It only took him 3 months to build the foundations and the first 2 stories of the house, as he only had 5 months of weather, where it would be the best and driest conditions to make the cob mixture and walls. 30 tonnes of cob a day! His methods? A JCB mixing copious amounts of cob, a handful of willing volunteers (who actually paid him to work on the construction; sustainable building enthusiasts) and pure, sheer determination! We only watched half of the programme, so it shall be continued tomorrow and see the rest of the process, and what other elements were thrown against him. Gripping stuff! For those curious, the programme is called Grand Designs for those of you who are architectural/personal home building buffs.

DSC_0241  DSC_0238Afternoon; Part 2: So back to work we go! The rest of the working day is the usual cob making and wall building and trimming. With an interesting, and I must say eye-opening alternative, more efficient insight on potential methods of making and building cob homes. This I believe, will spearhead the project and certainly bring it to a new level and push it forward, which is integral to keeping the dream alive! I can also imagine that with more ideas and varying methods presented, and brought to the table, such as the JCB method and I’m sure countless other methods that are being used internationally and globally, Sacred Groves will develop into such a strong and positive forerunner in sustainable home building, and certainly bring it to the masses.

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Bringing an old age, tried and tested method to the 21st century, and a world where to be honest, time is ticking on finding alternative means in construction. We really need to seriously re-think our position and impact on our beautiful Earth, which we call home, with an ever growing global population, housing or lack of it is a big issue around the world. Going back to basics is certainly a step forward. Using what we have around us, re-using already what we have, careful and considerate management on a mass scale, is certainly the first steps in starting to really deal with the current environment issues we have in the world. We are all residents of Earth, which is our home….let’s start treating it like our home.

-Wendy Ward


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