Why are the Cob Walls so thick?

DSCN1418 tiff infomation tiff infomation DSCN1488

The morning breaks with the affectionate (intended though not ingested) wakeup call from the house mother. Unwilling, sleepy and drowsy all share smiles and morning greetings participating in the zombie walk to the Sacred Circle. The day’s tasks include scaffolding adjustments, tarp stitching and a concrete parapet making on the mezzanine floor slab of the third prototype house. All this over a backdrop buzz of the JCB digging red earth making a pit to house more than a thousand corpses of all caste, creed, colour, nationality and gender mirroring the workforce at sacred groves.

The infinity looped puzzle solving, first time eating up your forearm muscle power than your brain power, involving a lot of trillion pound weighing rusted steel pipes and clamps (that should positively be included in the arms act in the next amendment of the constitution of India!) was punctuated by an enlightening “Why the cob walls are so thick?” session by our project manager Rene, over morning tea. First, cob being a ‘breathing’ material acts as a thermal buffer due to its high thermal capacity behaving as a radiant battery creating a cooling effect more suitable for human body that is warmer feet and a cooler head in contrast with the other conventional artificial cooling techniques that use convective cooling that make all the warm air to accumulate above. Second, the chosen two feet was found the optimum wall thickness for a perfect thermal lag of twelve hours so that the walls get heated during the day not allowing any radiation inside the house and radiating only at night maintaining a constant thermal comfort level inside the building. Third, cob being a hygroscopic material also maintains the relative humidity level inside the house, purifying the air inside the house all the time of the toxins artificially and/or biologically released. Last but not the least, the lime plaster on these thick walls chemically being slacked calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide absorbs the carbon dioxide to form the carbonate of calcium by an acid base neutralization reaction purifying the indoor climate off our respiratory by-product. The carbonate formation of the lime plaster exhausts over the span of seventy years stabilizing it more so.

Following the routine

Anything + Sambar + Banana = Breakfast


The next half of the day was spent on the recently cast bamboo reinforced mezzanine floor slab mixing  concrete in the ratio of 1:3:4 under the pious guidance of Subramani Anna (THE HEAD MASON on site) then making a parapet 2 feet wide increasing my designation from an unskilled labour to a skilled labour on site. All this goes on background din of the JCB making the dire announcement that next morning would be a spent practicing salsa on the 5 baand units of red earth stamping reinforcement straws and coconut coir into it.

And the day subsequently ends for most of the Sacred Groveians.

N.B.  : Extra time working hours directly proportional to individual’s work dedication.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *