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Sustainability and Local Materials

The oral presentation by the group members was good. It was clear that they had done some research on each topic. Unlike their slides they were able to summarize important information. The slides were organized with some attention to aesthetics. However, there was no real integration of images and text, they remained very separate. The blocks of text were completely overwhelming. It was organized more as a paper with additional images. In contrast there was one page with roughly twenty small examples of cob houses on top of a large image. The pictures were so small you could not decipher their content and the lack of contrast with the background made it visually confusing.

It would be helpful to summarize the text and emphasize the key points. I feel this would better complement the images instead of detract from them. The page with images of cob buildings could be clarified using a few larger images, creating boarders around the images, or altering the contrast of the images.

The material presented was interesting. I really liked the idea of sustainability with a focus on local materials. In our global economy we often tend to forget the importance of what is around us. I think the concept of local materials is strongly emphasized by the idea of community. While working on a project in Arch. and Ecology I found an amazing interdisciplinary design firm. Whole Systems Design provides a strong example of using local materials and creating community involvement. The Vermont based design team horse logs lumber from on site and invites the community to join construction in traditional barn rising fashion.

Well worth the time to take a look at their projects !


I have two major concerns about the chose of material presented. The first is that only one of the four topics, cob building, related back to the title ‚Äúsustainability and local materials‚Ä?. Furthermore, cob building is the only topic that addressed community. The second concern is that none of the topics addressed how each method is sustainable. The conclusion addressed that these methods will become more popular, and completely neglected to mention the sustainability of green building, green roofs, cob building, or bamboo. Although they discussed the benefits (not sustainability) they neglected to mention the deeper negative impacts. For instance although bamboo is a great building material that grows quickly and sequesters carbon, the popular material is now replacing land that was once used for growing food.