The Cob House in Stanley Park is a small building located in the Miniature Train complex in the center of Stanley Park. Most people don't even notice it. Thousands of people go to this area for the seasonal events such as the Klahowya Village, Bright Nights, and Halloween Ghost Train, but probably don't even notice the Cob House. The Cob House was built as a test of environmental building methods in 2004 by volunteers with help from UBC Civil Engineering and the BCIT Green Roof Research Facility. It is built completely with clay, sand, straw, and reclaimed materials. It also has a living roof. The Stanley Park Ecological Society uses the building as a concession during the seasonal events to raise money. If you are at the miniature train complex during the daytime, the Cob House is definitely worth checking out.
The sign in front of the Cob house says:
The Stanley Park Earthen Architecture Project
In 2004, over 200 volunteers built the Stanley Park Ecology Society's concession using cob as a demonstration of green building practice.
"Cob" is an old English word meaning lump or rounded mass. Cob buildings are a monolithic earth construction built mostly with natural materials. No corn was used in this building.
Bottles make creative windows. These windows are designed to have the bottles look like corn kernels.
The walls are of cob - a mixture of clay, sand and straw - clay provides the glue, sand the hardness, and straw the tensile strength.
Cob allow for curved walls and sculptural elements.
The 'green roof' absorbs rainwater, and regulates interior temperatures. B.C. Institute of Technology lead a team to create this living roof. The wide roof overhang keeps the earth walls dry.
The roofing beams and shutters are of reclaimed Douglas fir. Strawboard was used for interior cabinets.
The foundation is made from broken sidewalk and recycled granite from a burnt church. The foundation height protects the walls from rising damp and rain splash.
The exterior plaster is clay plaster. The interior has a Stonehemp plaster and natural limewash finish.
Built by Community
The urban equivalent of a barn raising, cob-building brings people together in a spirit of co-operative endeavour. Hundreds of park visitors stopped daily to watch the progress; some joined in the mixing. Mixed by hand and foot and applied to free form walls in layers, cob is easy to work with and invites participation.
Learning about Cob
City Engineering staff, cob builders and the University of British Columbia tested the qualities of cob and researched international building codes fro cob. A half size model was built and tested in the seismic lab at UBC. Before cracking, it survived a 9 on the Ricter scale.
History of Cob Building
Cob building began in Europe about 800 years ago. Built to last, there are many 400 year old cob buildings still standing in Britain! Cob building is experiencing a revival in response to the growing environmental concerns of our time.
For more information visit www.stanleyparkecology.ca
The Cob House is located in the Miniature Train area. Nearby are the Raven Statue and the Children of the World Totem Pole.
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