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Natural building: the myth of tiny homes and green roofs

The most attention-getting natural homes are often small and topped with a turf roof (see tiny cob cottages in Wales and Greece and our video of a modern hobbit house in North Carolina).

So when I visited the Emerald Earth Sanctuary in Mendocino County (CA) where they’re building a 3000-square-foot community center out of cob, straw bale and slip straw, I was impressed and mentioned it to my host, natural building expert Michael G. Smith*.

“With a lot of the recent stuff you’re probably used to seeing smaller structures, but you live in Spain right, there’s lots of really big earthen buildings over there and all of the oldest surviving structures in California are made out of adobe- the missions built by the Franciscans-. In some parts of the world there are 8 and 10 story high earthen structures. In South Yemen, there’s a whole city made out of cob skyscrapers.”

In this video, Michael Smith dispels the myths that all natural building needs to be small and covered with an earthen roof.

[* Michael co-authored the book The Hand-sculpted House which inspired the builders of the North Carolina hobbit house.]