Cob building specialist business, Abey-Smallcombe (AS), was commissioned by the owners of the Eden Project to build a cob visitor facility in one of the many car parks of the centre to welcome visitors and accommodate up to 100 people. The design was a curved, contemporary building which is user friendly, light and airy, low impact and low maintenance. The low-pitched roof allows it to sit comfortably in the landscape. At all times, great emphasis was laid on the sustainability of the materials and the construction methods. ..
This is a four page article. First published in December 2006
Abey-Smallcombe chose to build an artistic curved roof building, which used the ridge as the backbone of the design. The wall positions were then measured from this. The Eden project’s main contractor, McAlpines Joint Venture, was then instructed to install the foundations and the plinth wall and to manage the site. AS took on the actual project management from an early stage to ensure that the build was kept as ‘sustainable’ as possible and to ensure that their design was properly carried through.
AS also collaborated with Chris Brookman of Back to Earth, in the construction of the cob walls. In his specification, Brookman first proposed to manufacture a cob mix entirely from china clay to keep it as local as possible. However, during testing of this material, it became evident that the durability of such a mixture was extremely poor and given the exposed location of the site, a guarantee of longevity could not be given. The china clay was extremely friable and offered little resistance to the passage of moisture.
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