Building an Unusual Cob House in December (Senegal)

Date(s) - Sunday, December 6, 2015 - Thursday, December 31, 2015
9:00 am - 3:00 pm



The Project

We will be spending four weeks  (Monday through Friday) building an unusual three-sided 100m2   house on  land near the ocean in Yène, about an hour south of Dakar.   The house will be for Studio Placemakers, hosts of the workshop. This small organisation is led by a couple from the Netherlands.  Roos Limburg is an urban designer and Hans Goslinga is an artist and cultural organiser.   Since 2014 they have been creatively improving public places with the local people in Yène.   For more on  their recent projects in Senegal visit  This is  a one-of-a-kind cultural immersion and international building project where we will come together as a community/family made up of students from outside of Africa and the African and non-African locals to build together and share and learn with each other.

The backside of the house will be at the top of a slope and will constitute 3 rooms (kitchen, bedroom and office) and a workspace while the front lower end will be an open veranda/living room with no enclosures.  A toilet and shower will border the east end of the living space.  We will begin the project by completing the recycled tire foundation begun by Ecomen3000, a local French-Senegalese non-profit environmental education organization and learning how to analyze your soil for clay/sand content and test for the perfect mix before starting to build the walls.  We will be inserting windows, three doors, sculpting the walls with bookshelves, niches, altars, adding some furniture and of course inserting all kinds of artistic local designs with natural and recycled materials.  We will build a cob floor and apply earthen plaster partially embedded with beautiful mosaic patterns led by local artists.  We plan to use Moroccan Tadelakt finish in the bathroom depending on the availability of the materials.  Finally we will make multi-colored clay paints using the local yellow, grey, orange, red and purple pigments found in the cliffs along the coast to add the final touches to the house.  A second umbrella roof will already be built to keep the worksite in the shade and for insulation reasons, and we will be hoping to finish the house roof (translucent corrugated sheets) as part of the workshop, time permitting.

 By participating in this workshop you will be helping to rebirth “modern” earthen building in West Africa and bringing it back to your area as well.

We will end the workshop on December 31 with a huge celebration!!!!


The workshop site is in Yène Kao, a fishing village about 50 miles south of Dakar, and  a short walk to the ocean.  Yène Kao is a traditional Lébou village with a touch of upcoming modernization.

The village of Toubab Dialaw is 5km south of Yène Kao and known for its beautiful beaches with great swimming, spearfishing and beach soccer games in the afternoons.   There are many artists living in this area of “La Petite Côte” or “The Little Coast”.  It is also known for its percussion and dance workshops and unusual architectural/artistic projects by Gérard Chenet, a local Haitian expat.  He was the first in the area to explore building unique pieces of habitable art made from the local clay and sand, including Compass and Nubian vaults.  His masterpieces “Sobobade” and “L’Engouement” are not to be missed. 

CruzinCobGlobal held its first cob workshop in Toubab Dialaw, 5 miles south, in May 2015, with great enthusiasm and interest from the community.

Weekly Schedule

Each week will include “Cob Basics” for those who will be joining us for less than the full month and new students will be partnered with others as they learn to make and build with cob.  We will aim to partner Senegalese and non-Senegalese students together for a wonderful intercultural experience which our workshop aims to support.

Week 1: Foundation/Siting, Cob Basics, Wall Building, Base Floor Layers

Week 2: Wall Building, Windows, Shelves, Altars, Niches, Furniture, Artistic Insertions

Week 3: Wall Building, Sculpting, Second Floor Coat, 1st Plaster Coat with Mosaic

Week 4: Final Plaster Coat, Clay Paint, Final Floor Coat, Final Floor Finish, Tadelakt

Daily Schedule

7:00am- 7:30am  Meditation (optional)

7:30am-8:00am  Yoga/Stretch/Chi Gong (optional)

8:00am-9:00am  Breakfast

9:00am-2:00pm  Hands-on Practice/Work

2:00pm  Lunch

3:00pm-7:00pm  Free time (dance, percussion, batik classes offered locally)

                                  Hans & Roos will continue to build with the local builders from 3:00 to 6:00 and you are  

                                  welcome to join.

7:00pm-8:00pm Dinner

8:00pm-9:30pm Lecture, Slides, Discussion, DVD’s or other activities offered three times a week

Weekends will be free to take drum/dance or batik workshops locally as well as relax on the beach, travel to other local villages, visit Dakar or take part in the many art and music events happening at this time of the year.

Accomodations & Food

Participants will have three levels of accomodations ranging from low-budget camping in tents to mid-budget shared rooms to highest budget private rooms, some with private bathroom.  We will be renting houses for the participants with kitchens, however we will have a communal eating area where 3 meals a day will be shared Monday through Friday.  All meails will be a healthy and diverse mix of Senegalese specialties and international cooking with local ingredients. We hope you like seafood, we will serve the best catch of the day! Weekends we will only offer breakfast.  Please advise us of your dietary restrictions if any.

Local residents can attend the workshop just for the day and lunch.

Climate, Health & Visa

December in Senegal is perfect weather.  The dry season has begun, the air temperatures are in the mid-70’s (Farenheit) or 24(Celsius) and the ocean is perfect.  Participants should bring work clothes (shorts, T-shirts), hats, sunscreen, water bottles, gloves, notebook, pen in addition to the usual tropical clothing, towels, walking shoes, flip flops, bathing suit, etc.  Sarongs are good as cover-ups as Senegal is a mostly Muslim country and modest attire is suggested.

No visa is required anymore. Mosquito nets will be provided but feel free to bring yours too.

Please get local medical travel advice. The malaria risk is relatively low by the seaside at this time of year. Those interested in alternative malaria prevention, please look into Artemisia.

Detailed information about what (not) to bring will be sent a month before the workshop starts.

Also transportation from and to airport can be arranged for an additional fee.


Full (4-Week)Workshop (tuition, accomodations, food)

Camping: 750Euros

Shared Room: 830Euros

Private Room (Oceanview): 920Euros

One Week (tuition, accomodations, food)

Camping: 230 Euros

Shared Room:  260 Euros

Private Room (Oceanview):  300 Euros

Two Week (tuition, accomodations, food)

Camping: 400 Euros

Shared Room: 450 Euros

Private Room (Oceanview): 520 Euros

Registration & Payment

To register for the course, you can use Paypal (3% processing fee included in price below) or Venmo (no fees)  or make a direct bank transfer (please inquire).  Please include the names, ages, emails and telephone numbers of all the participants.  Couples, families, youth (12-18) and students receive discounts.

Please make a deposit of 25% to hold your spot with the balance due by November 1, 2015.  In case of cancellation before November 1 there will be a 10% fee deducted from your refund.  After November 1, there will be no refund but your payment can go towards sponsoring a Senegalese student.



For more information in Dutch/English, please email Roos Limburg or call

(+31) (0) 6 1497 1551 (in the Netherlands until September 25th) and

(+221) 77 8378296 (in Senegal after September 26)

The Whatsapp number to reach Roos is (+221) 778378296.

For information in French/English, please email Claudine Desiree or call

(209) 813-4117 (Skype number)

or Whatsapp (+238 522 1918)









Location: Hans & Roos' Land