Location: Dongtai, Jiangsu, China
Client:Harajuku permaculture farm
Project: Educational workshop series
Cost: 1 000RMB
Status: Complete
Area: 25 m2
Architect: Frederik Dolmans
Photos: Frederik Dolmans


GroundUP led a natural building workshop with a focus on cob construction. Cob is a sculptural material that is composed with soil and straw and formed by hand. The goal of the workshops was to show the viability and ease with which cob buildings can be made. Cob is a very simple construction technique, yet has many advantages. It has extremely good thermal capacity and insulation properties, which make it good in climates with extreme temperature differences.

This series of workshops was also to assess how much of a building could be constructed with materials found directly on site. Being located in an agricultural community, there was an abundance of soil and straw. In the end every component was either locally sourced or salvaged from within a 1km radius. The overall construction material cost was less than 1,000 RMB (150USD), and labour was free because it was done by volunteers.

The building itself will function as a teahouse and small library, with a bedroom for guests. A rocket mass heater provides heating for the whole structure without contributing to negative effects on human health or the environment.


web design by frederik dolmans