What is COB?

This is what it is like to participate in one of our international cob building workshops…

“Cob” is a mixture of clay, sand, straw (or some other long strong fiber) and water,traditionally mixed by foot, in community and preferably to music (speeds the mixing).  It has been and continues to be the world’s oldest, cheapest, most sustainable, healthful, durable and beautiful building material, allowing the builder(s) to quietly and happily create a personable unique home which can last 100’s to 1000’s of years and cost a fraction of conventional building.

“Cob” is the finest building material on the planet: fireproof, rotproof, moldproof, rodentproof, windproof, soundproof and very earthquake-resistant (see the Cob Shake Test done at UBC https://youtu.be/ChbccUQhpJc).   It lasts forever with a good foundation and a good roof that protect it from standing water and overhead rain.  It breathes and releases moisture continuously and creates a balance between outside and inside humidity and temperature so there is always a comfortable equilibrium for human beings living in cob houses.

Claudine Building Her Cob Studio in Santa Cruz, CA in 2004

Claudine Building Her Cob Studio in Santa Cruz, CA in 2004

   One of “Cob’s” finest qualities is its ability to hold heat from daily sun exposure which it releases as the temperatures cool down at night, warming the inside spaces.  This happens if the location and site placement or exposure of a cob house is done correctly to benefit from the Sun’s daily arc. The only disadvantage of cob is that it cannot withstand submersion in floodwaters  and is not ideal in super cold climates where much of the year has little sun or other temperate/cold climate locations that are shaded, where it cannot take advantage of passive solar benefits.  Everywhere else, it is the #1 building material in the world, in my opinion.  I wouldn’t live inside of any other building material!!!

“Cob” is an Old English term for “loaf”, like a loaf of bread. In French it goes by “pisé” and “torchis” and in Senegal and Guinea they call it “banco”.  The Germans call it “lehmbau” and the Latin countries like to call it “adobe” even if technically adobe is a very different technique.  Some people think it’s corn cobs.  Though I have yet to see a house built out of corn cobs, anything is possible in the natural building world! 

 “Cob” building can be a solo or community experience, or a mixture of both.  It is surely a meditation and very healing as clay removes toxins from the body and shaping and sculpting clay are deeply satisfying expressive therapeutic activities.  In community friendships are born and deepened as people feel relaxed and connected to their Source and each other while stomping in the mud, tossing and catching cobs, focusing on a sculpture and mixing plaster with their hands.  This is the aspect that fills me most, in particular when teaching international workshops.  Just look at the Gallery  and Videos and you’ll see what I mean.

 There is no comparable gift to spending time in a “cob” structure.  It is a quiet refuge for your Soul, especially if kept free of electronics, and electricity and allows one to feel rejuvenated and cleansed by Mother Earth.  I wish this opportunity for everyone: to be able to design and build their own simple or elaborate dwelling from nature’s finest, most durable materials, and make it a unique reflection of their Soul, to cherish and enjoy every day.


CruzinCobGlobal is on a planetary mission to teach cob building, as it is practiced in California and Europe.  We lead workshops for local and international students who learn and build together, not only a beautiful ecological structure, but intercultural communication and understanding.  It is a multi-faceted opportunity to learn cob building, a language, a culture and community living.  We can also be hired for cob building projects and both of these happen where we find ready hosts/clients with available land and a desire for something new in their lives.  Many of our students and clients are going through major lifestyle changes when they fall in love with the idea of cob and join a workshop.  They are left transformed and closer to living their true calling, whatever it may be.

After 7 years of teaching in the US, we are in the midst of a 3 1/2-year Global Cob Trotter Bike Tour teaching cob workshops around the Planet.  We are proud to have launched the international model, CruzinCobGlobal in 2015, and have already taught 12 workshops in: Spain, the Canaries, Senegal, Cabo Verde, France, Morocco and Santa Cruz, CA since starting in March of 2015.   In the Spring and Summer of 2017 we will be holding workshops in Cabo Verde, the Azores and Portugal .  We will head back to the US for a several more workshops in the Fall, finishing off the year with a month-long Complete Cob Workshop (stay tuned) in October  that will be filmed on a Cable TV DIY channel.

In November 2017 begins Part 2: Latin America and the Caribbean….always on bicycle of course!  Heading to Cuba for an exploratory visit/ride for a potential Ecovillage site, then continuing on to teach workshops in Colombia, Brazil and Nicaragua in the Spring of 2018.   The grand finale will be in CUBA before heading back to California.

Our website has all the information you need to join a workshophost a workshop or hire CCG for your cob build project on your land.  We are building a team of global cob builders to support the peaceful, healthful beauty of durable and economical earthen buildings everywhere.  Whether you want to learn  in order to teach workshops  with CCG or on your own, or want to start the journey towards being a professional cob builder, we’re eager to help and support our students. 

Here is a time lapse birdseye view filmed by Chad Franco, one of our students, in our most recent Cob Oven Workshop in Feb 2017:



Chcck out our  FACEBOOK PAGE for our extensive gallery of workshop photos from around the world and follow our COBlog!

C.O.B. = Community Of Biobuilders