It's a SE PORTLAND Natural Build Convergence Walkabout - Five experimental buildings made from natural building materials are on display this weekend throughout SE Portland.
The Cob building is almost eight feet tall. It is dark brown like the most fertile soil. It is smooth and contoured like a fine sculpture. John a volunteer takes a big scoop of mud and sand and heaves it up to the people standing above him on a ladder. They are plying the Cob kiosk building inch by inch. Soon it looks like a real building. There are a window and a doorway and etched in the back of the building in the soft mud is design and creation. Lyn, an artist who recently relocated to Portland from Boston is excited about the fact that none of the materials are toxic. She talks about going to a workshop the night before for children that brought out phenomenal design ideas.
Joan asks a site teacher whether the structure will hold up in the wet Pacific Northwest. "What do you think?" the teacher replies. The group begins to talk about how the buildings are found across the globe in all weather settings. They discuss the benefits of building with Cob. "Warm, strong, round, smooth, inexpensive, saves trees, non-toxic". The participants add to the list of why to build with natural building materials. The discussion goes on about how the building codes for our area may have to changed. They talk about how a small building can cost as little as $300. They exchange recipes for cob mud and adobe and talk about building communities of Cob houses.
This is just one of the experimental teaching exhibits strung across SouthEast Portland. All the structures are within walking distance. A brisk afternoon walk will reveal the makings of five structures that will showcase the aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits of building with natural and reused materials. The projects include a Cob and Stone Gateway, a Cob and Stone kiosk, a winding Cob wall and information kiosk, and a Cob kiosk with curved benches. The fifth building is a sculptural cob memorial that is designed to be a contemplative space dedicated to the memory of a bicyclist who lost his life at this intersection three years ago
Join in FREE daily workshops taught by natural building experts from around the continent. Get hands-on experience using cob (a hand-formed mixture of earth, sand, straw, and water) and other environmentally friendly technologies while building sculptural, community-designed public places in the Sunnyside and Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhoods. Here is a list of where to find these structures.
SE 21st Avenue & Tibbetts Street
Located at People's Food Co-op, this cob and stone gateway will welcome visitors to the store's new public courtyard and weekly farmers' market. The gateway will consist of twin cob pillars sheltered by a green roof. Beside each pillar will be a cob bench with a slate cap. A walkway will lead from the gateway to the store's new entrance. Currently under construction, the new wing of People's will incorporate many green technologies and materials, including two ground level walls made entirely of cob!
SE 22nd Avenue & Division Street
Seven Corners Community Information Station
This cob and stone kiosk will be located outside of a small cafe, and will provide a place for neighbors to post information about community events and news. The cabinet will include reused wood, windows, and doors, and will be covered with a green roof. Excess rainwater from the roof will be directed to the adjacent tree and new bioswale with cob and stone curb. A small photovoltaic panel on the south-facing roof slope will provide power for evening lighting inside the kiosk.
SE 33rd Avenue & Yamhill Street
Sunnyside Piazza, Phase II
A winding cob wall and information kiosk continues an intersection improvement process that began with a giant sunflower painted by neighbors on the street surface. The cob kiosk will be a place for neighbors to post community-oriented news and events inside a cabinet made of reused wood. A solar-powered cob and stone fountain at the corner will recycle and filter rainwater harvested from the existing house's roof. The water will then dissipate into bioswales containing native plantings.
SE 35th Avenue & Main Street
Southeast Uplift Information Station
This cob kiosk and curved benches will frame a new welcoming plaza in front of the offices of Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program. The information station will provide neighbors, staff, and community members an outdoor place to relax, meet, and talk. The kiosk will include a green roof, inlaid bricks and stones, and a cabinet of reused windows and wood. The benches will be cob, with inlaid bricks and a slate cap. A foundation of reused concrete will support the structures, and the new paving will be permeable to allow rainwater to soak into the soil.
SE 37th Avenue & Taylor Street
This sculptural cob memorial will be a contemplative space dedicated to the memory of a bicyclist who lost his life at this intersection three years ago. A cob column with niches for flowers will include artwork made from recycled materials and bicycle parts, and will be topped by a beautiful solar-powered stained-glass lantern and green roof. The memorial will collect rainwater to nourish a raised permaculture garden and a small pond. A cob and stone wall and seat will also be constructed. This project is part of an ongoing effort by many neighbors to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.
More on the schedule of events.
Natural Building Convergence Progressive web page with updated photo's each site
The Natural Building Convergence Main page with schedule of events http://www.cityrepair.org/nbc/projectsites.html