Muddy Creek charter school in Philomath commissioned this mud project as the initial step in creating an "outdoor classroom." All 60 kids, K-5, participated in 2 days of playdough brainstorming and design, and six days of mud. Parents and neighbors contributed random prunings of willow, fruitwood, and forsythia that we wove into a rough hut; the mud came up out of a hole in the ground, and we ended up making a lovely cob bench and this "hug hut." The hut was designed to "last" for just one winter, and then get torn down so new students could make their own -- instead of taking care of . . .
2011 has been a year of yurts, w/two opportunities to try out this simple design of sticks and mud -- a more permanent adaptation of the traditional, portable, Mongolian design. One was for a friend and neighbor. The other was a workshop at Aprovecho Institute, as part of their sustainable shelter building series. Lots of people helped! Both were made with locally harvested bamboo and fir poles (arranged reciprocally to make a self-supporting, conical roof w/a central skylight, which I'm still trying to figure out how to cover cheaply...) If you click on the photo below, you'll go to a little . . .
Here's a valuable perspective on the benefits of smaller, easier, cheaper, "faster-cooling" ovens, and a working baker's comparison w/the classic Alan Scott brick oven design (which isn't always the best option for someone who wants to start small and simple). The baker is Noah Elbers, who runs a small bakery in New Hampshire. There are some nice photos of him and his oven(s) on the web, but he's clearly spending his time in the bakery rather than on the computer -- hurrah! He does participate in the brickoven group on yahoogroups, which is where this comment came from. It is worth . . .