Earthbuilding: Cob, wood, stonework and mosaics

Building an Earthen Rocket Stove: Rancho Mastatal Environmental Living Center, Costa Rica

The research, design, preparation and completion of this large scale project took me and some helpers around five months. The aim of the project began with the local women of the small jungle village of Mastatal, who were cooking everything over an open fire. Not only was this burning large amounts of precious, dissappearing rainforest wood, the large amount of smoke inhalation was also causing severe respiratory problems. After learning from some amazing humans at Rancho Mastatal about the technology and design behind rocket stoves, I set out to build a sculptural masterpiece. This functional, beautiful, practical earthen sculpture includes; interlacing bamboo, instead of rebar for stabilizing the concrete floor and as a sculptural armature, two intricately laid mosaics made from local pottery, a hand carved and inlayed table made from a rare, fallen christobal tree, a large sculptural element including a splash guard, wall and shelving system made of earthen cobb (an ancient building material comprised of a mixture of sand, clay, straw and manure, which the local kids helped me gather, stomp on and mix up over three dozen batches! ) Also, a fully functional rocket stove built for maximum combustion also made of cobb, two welded rebar burners and lots of stonework to protect the foundation. 

 

Look! My rocket stove was featured in Permaculture Magazine!

Check out other amazing projects at Rancho Mastatal Environmental Living Center!