What is COB?


CruzinCobGlobal Logo by KRobinsDesign

“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.  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.  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 floodwaters  and is not ideal in super cold climates where much of the year has little sun or locations that are sunless, where it cannot take advantage of passive solar benefits.  Otherwise 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 there are significant different adobe methods and even mixes.  Some people think it’s  corn cob.  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 photo gallery and you’ll see what I mean.

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

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

 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 also lead cob building projects and both of these happen where we find ready hosts with available land.

Our 3-year 3-month Global Route and workshop format is undergoing changes due to the slowness of traveling while holding workshops and building for people.   Since we want to finish up the Global Journey by March 20, 2018 (Claudine’s birthday) in order to start the next phase of creating a “A Boa Vida Ecovillage”, we will be heading south to Morocco for November/December and then after a family pause in December and January, beginning Part 2: Latin America and the Carribbean….on bicycle of course!  We already have workshops planned for Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, with more on the way.   The grand finale will be CUBA!  Simultaneously there will be workshops happening in Portugal and the Açores in the summer of 2017 taught by Claudine and the CCG teaching staff, and one in Marrakesh in the Fall.

Our new 10-Day Intensive Workshop Format that we will aim to offer wherever we are as much as possible will construct a 10m2 foundation to roof structure. Some more informal workshops will offer a sliding scale of 10€ to 50€ per day with a communal or bring-your-own-lunch and free camping.  Other workshops will offer indoor accommodations and a full meal plan.  We want to make our workshops available to as many people as possible.  Our website has all the information you need to host a workshop or a build project on your land or, after you are trained, to work (often paid and with room & board covered) with us.  We are building a team of global cob builders to support the peaceful, healthful beauty of durable and economical earthen buildings everywhere.  We are proud to have already taught 11 workshops in: Spain, the Canaries, Senegal, Cabo Verde and France since starting in December 2014.  However we want to hit all the hotspots and most continents before this GlobalCobTrotting is over…for now.

Here is a time lapse birdseye view  of the 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 Claudine’s personal

GlobalCobTrottin’ Blog here!

C.O.B. = Community Of Biobuilders