CobBauge Live Lab: bringing cob buildings to the 21st century | Research Festival 2021

This event took place on 1 July 2021.

Cob houses have existed in the south of England and northern France for centuries, and offer a sustainable alternative to popular building materials. But currently, there is not a cob material available that meets thermal regulations both in France and the UK.

So what if new approaches to this traditional building could conform to the regulations, and thus offer a viable sustainable alternative to current construction practices?

Researchers at the University are demonstrating that the ancient technique has a role to play in the future of modern low-carbon homes. CobBauge is an Interreg V France (Channel) England project working with partners in the UK and France to create multiple cob mixes to test their thermal properties.

In the first phase they have proven the concept of their composite walling technique by testing their thermal properties. Phase 2 of development will see new cob buildings, applying this technique, built on the University of Plymouth campus and prototypes built in Norfolk and Normandy.

This event shared the latest research in this innovative project on the advantages that cob offers, both in respect of its construction uses and in its reduction of waste and carbon dioxide emissions during the process, as compared to other masonry materials.

Attendees were offered a glimpse into the laboratories behind the science of natural earthen building materials and were able to ask architects, engineers and surveyors what the CobBauge earth walling system gives to the future of earth buildings in the UK and Northern France.

Who was this event for?
This event was of most interest to those whose work involves the built environment, whether researchers or professionals in engineering, materials science, conservation, construction, physics, architecture, design and history. It may also have been relevant for local authorities and planners.

 

Programme

13:00 | Welcome and context by Professor Steve Goodhew, Associate Head (Research) of the School of Art, Design and Architecture, and project lead of CobBauge

13:30 | Presentations with a mid-way break

  • Why build in earth? Full scale walls by Dr Jim Carfrae , Research Fellow, from the Heavy Structures lab
  • How to design in earth? Site visit by Dr Matthew Fox, Research Fellow, from Kirkby Lodge
  • How to build in earth? Live demonstrations by Kevin Owen, Senior Technician, from the Heavy Structures lab
  • Where next? by Professor Steve Goodhew, from Kirkby lodge SEI

15:30 | Q&A with our researchers hosted by Karen Hood-Cree, Project Manager

16:00 | Discussions

16:25 | Event round up and conclusion


CobBauge project partners