At pointReturn I attempted two types of foundations. For the fully, heavily roofed kitchen I got a stone and cement foundation built, its stem wall extending above the rain water line -about a foot and a half. For the less rigorous bath space I have attempted a totally cement free ‘laid’ stone foundation. The foundation protects the foot of the building from damp. The walls are protected by extended eaves that act as a hat. You can see photos of these in a slideshow. [see box]
Windows were picked from a lot I had stashed away at my house at Muttukkadu. For the roof, I had salvaged over 10,000 traditional burnt clay tiles that people were discarding for concrete roofs. I sourced 7′ long granite posts from a local stone mason. These are set 2′ into the ground and take most of the load.
Building the walls is quite straightforward. On the day of the build, you spread the straw reinforcement and trampled and turned the soil. Lumps of this earth is blended into the rising wall. A short stubby stick is used to key in the fresh cob with the old. A rough verticality is maintained. The wall is seldom narrower than 18″. A bit more in fact, so that there is enough to shave off at the finishing stage.