Rethink Your Life!
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The Work of Art and The Art of Work
Kiko Denzer on Art
[Cob] any ideas for building cob on a hill?Amanda Peck ap615 at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 21 06:17:09 PST 2004
Sounds like where I'm sitting right now! The travel trailer is sitting below the top of the circular driveway which is maybe 25 feet above (North of) me. And this is the least likely to flood, won't need a 40-foot bridge spot on my original 24 acres. The opening to the septic tank (THAT was mildly sloped enough to put in the drain field!) gets covered with gravel all the time. One of these years I may get around to building more or less what I originally designed in the way of a studio for here. Unfortunately it involves swales uphill to give me drainage going the way I want it. Then a retaining wall (This needs to be checked out with an engineer!). THEN I think that the uphill wall needs to be sunk into the hill, two-four feet. Heavy duty drainage above the uphill retaining wall, then a draining space, then the building wall on top of a--sorry--concrete stem wall. The trailer is actually sitting on both fill and cut where the driveway people made a level place for it (didn't need to BUY fill, just use what they'd cut out). So I need to extend the level place out six or eight feet towards the dry wash to the south, heavy duty rock-filled baskets (which either are or are not called gabions, but "gabions" gives you the information when you run a search) that work both for drainage and form, possibly with a hole for an underground water tank. This is "talk to an engineer" time as well. (The person who I contacted when I first moved here never came, and eventually went out of business.) And even then I will end up with an oddly shaped trapezoidal building (hey, but there will be a nice little patio overlooking the dry wash!). I went with Christopher Alexander's admonition to build where you can SEE the most beautiful place, not IN it. For space--and time--reasons, I'm thinking compressed earth blocks, roof up first, build to it. But it's going to need a lot of concrete in the foundations. And LOTS of engineered drainage. There has been someone on this list who was nuts about relieving hydraulic pressure. Engineering walls so they both have both enough purchase back into the hill, AND enough drainage so that water pressure won't push it over. That, not washing away, is your main concern. You can see the problem in the bulges that railroad tie walls make if there are no deadmen (ties connected securely to the wall, but going perpendicular to it back into the hill) in the design. The wire baskets stepped back seem to be doing fine so that the store below--WAY below--the Wal-Mart parking lot in Florence seems secure. Here is one picture, heavily altered, of rock-filled baskets on the Tennessee river, the idea is to keep barge traffic and floods from dumping some indian mounds into the river. (Part of the Shiloh national park) http://groups.msn.com/ap615/newpicturesmidsept2002.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=202 Here is a (straight, this time) picture of parking lot of the pet store below Walmart. It's grown up so that steps the baskets make hardly show two years later. http://groups.msn.com/ap615/spring2002.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=141 (The rest of my driveway? Close onto level all the way out to the road on the downhill side!) Oh, yes, and somebody built themselves a straw-bale vault using rock-filled baskets as their foundation. ......... Greg McLeod writes: There's a property that my wife and i really like but the problem is that the only place to build on goes from 10 degree slope down for about 20-25ft. Then it drops off on 30-40 degree slope down for a long way. My questions are: how deep should one dig into the land to get a level space versus using fill dirt to get a level space? what precautions should be done to stablize the soil downhill of the house so that it doesn't wash away, taking our proposed beautiful cob house with it?
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