ON THE LAND Hand-sculp­tured house in Wilby

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

A house crafted from a mix­ture of clay, sand, straw and wa­ter has be­come quite the at­trac­tion in Wilby.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity were fas­ci­nated to visit the home of Rhys Dyer in Martins Road re­cently.

Mr Dyer, who is very keen to re­duce his im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment, has built the house to­tally at­tuned to its sur­round­ings by us­ing read­ily avail­able ma­te­ri­als.

The house is con­structed from an eco- friendly cob mix­ture of clay, sand, straw and wa­ter.

Mr Dyer spoke with the vis­it­ing group about the process in­volved with the plan­ning and con­struc­tion of his house.

Build­ing with cob re­quires no forms, no ce­ment and no ma­chin­ery.

It is ac­tu­ally sculp­tured by hand while the cob is still pli­able. It then dries to a hard, weather re­sis­tant fin­ish.

To start, Mr Dyer had to com­ply with Moira Shire guide­lines to lay a slab and a damp course.

Then rocks were po­si­tioned to form the wall bases and the cob was built up from there and moulded layer by layer to the ceil­ing.

Cob­bing has been a tra­di­tional build­ing process for thou­sands of years around the world.

Homes made this way can en­dure ex­tremes of cli­mate and last for hun­dreds of years.

Mr Dyer said he found the de­sign of the house pro­vided ef­fi­cient in­su­la­tion keep­ing him com­fort­ably cool in sum­mer and warm in winter with­out the aid of air con­di­tion­ing.

The home is to­tally so­lar pow­ered and has a com­post­ing toi­let.

Mr Dyer chose the shape and size of the home to limit the im­pact on the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

It has two storeys with the lounge, kitchen, bath­room, laun­dry and toi­let down­stairs and the sleep­ing area up­stairs reached by a spi­ral stair­case.

It is very neat and pro­vides an ad­e­quate liv­ing space.

Dur­ing the com­mu­nity visit, Mr Dyer demon­strated how to make a batch of cob which he will use to make a planter.

This in­volved mix­ing the raw ma­te­ri­als on a large tar­pau­lin then foot stomp­ing, turn­ing and adding more wa­ter sev­eral times un­til a good mal­leable con­sis­tency is achieved.

The cob is then ready to form into hand­fuls which are then pat­ted and shaped on the struc­ture - easy as mak­ing mud pies.

There will be an­other op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to view the house as it will be open for in­spec­tion on Sus­tain­able House Day on Septem­ber 17 from 10am to 4pm.

Any­one wish­ing to visit can reg­is­ter for free on the Sus­tain­able House Day web­site or by call­ing 03 96315405.

Wilby com­mu­nity mem­bers en­joyed a visit to the unique hand-crafted home.

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