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Austin coder builds timeless cob home using precise patterns

by Nicholas

Austin coder builds timeless cob home using precise patterns

When Gary Zuker bought an undeveloped piece of land outside of Austin (Texas) 25 years ago, he knew the only way he could afford a home on it was to build it himself. With no building experience, he immersed himself in architecture books at the University of Texas (where he works as a computer engineer).

He fell in love with medieval straw-clay cottages and cob buildings from around the world. After just a day learning the technique on another build, he was ready to build his own home.

Besides advice from an architect friend to use a scissor-truss system for roof support, some help with framing, stone-work and plumbing, Zuker worked alone (no building permits were required in Travis County at that time). The build ended up taking him 3 years (nights and weekends while working full-time) and cost about ,000 (,000 to build the house and ,000 for the well and septic system).

Zuker was heavily influenced by the classic design handbook A Pattern Language (written mainly by architect Christopher Alexander) so rather than designing the home ahead of time, he waited to decide on details until after the home was under construction.

More patterns from Gary: http://placepatterns.org/place/the-zuker-house/

Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/austin-coder-builds-timeless-cob-home-using-precise-patterns/