Bubby’s Cob & Cordwood Bench
A centre-piece to Bubby’s Kitchen is the cob & cordwood bench. Cordwood refers to the log seat, which was constructed using cob – a mix of clay, sand, and straw – as the mortar surrounding the fir logs, and as the mass making up the back of the seat. Bubby’s Kitchen wanted more of these materials throughout the restaurant, resulting in the cob & driftwood pillar, plaster & driftwood counter-front panels, and clay plaster on the walls above the bench. This type of earthen architecture has been humanity’s main building method around the world for over 10,000 years; and these techniques are key concepts in the resurgence of a more sustainable way of building.
The bench was produced using local, sustainably harvested materials. The fir logs were felled to make way for a new home in the Highlands; the clay comes from Shawnigan Lake; the driftwood was salvaged from various beaches of Vancouver Island; and the plaster even uses cattails from a Trans-Canada highway ditch! Most of the materials used in the bench have an extremely low ecological footprint, and are healthy, safe materials for both people and the ecosystems we live in. Special thanks to Lars Stuurop, Anne Bonner and others who assisted in these projects.
Erik Bowden, a.k.a. Riki, is a sustainability-focused designer, builder and carpenter apprentice based in Victoria who specializes in natural building materials and techniques. He turned to the sustainable building movement with a desire to contribute to the environmental and social movements; he wanted to do something to actively demonstrate solutions to problems of climate change and unsustainable cultural practices. Travelling to work-sites across Ontario, British Columbia, Vermont, and South-East India, he was able to learn from the best building professionals in their respective fields of cob, straw bale, hempcrete, stone masonry, living roofs, natural plasters, and so on. Erik is a founder of the Island Village Builders, a worker-owned construction company in Victoria focused on creating beautiful buildings that are better for our health, society, and environment. You can send Erik and IVB an email via: IslandVillageBuilders@Gmail.com