Cob Bench at Colorado State University

Students at Colorado State University-Pueblo have found a natural and stylish way to keep cool. Under the tutelage of Maya Avina, a CSU-Pueblo art professor, they have constructed a cob bench. “It was a group of seven students – all women – and myself,” Avina said.“It’s a growing trend to use natural materials for building and that’s just what we did here,” Avina said. “The goal is to incorporate natural non-industrial materials as much as possible. A breathable white lime stucco refines the beautifully sculpted walls.”

“It has this presence that you don’t get from a stick structure. Natural building sites are safe for children and animals, because you don’t use a lot of heavy equipment or dangerous products.”

A portion of the bench is under a roof and it curves to the outside. The cob walls have windows and niches cut out at different levels to the sunlight. A small patio made of stone extends to the front of the structure. Flagstone was scored and broken to fit the edge of the bench and scraps pieced together with granite for the mosaic surface. All the stones were assembled with masonry cement. Shade tarps keep the site comfortable in the Pueblo sun.

Avina said the timber used for the project’s small roof was harvested in fire mitigation from forests in the state. The entire project was constructed with mainly hand tools.

Aaron Alexander, CSU-Pueblo Art Department chair, said the department is gearing toward doing more projects like this one. “We consider this an academic exercise. It’s also serving as a beautiful piece of public art that folks can come by and see this culmination of the types of things that we do here.”

Nancy Saathoff, an art student graduating in December, said the accomplishment of finishing the project in the time they did is amazing. “Just watching it grow into this beautiful structure surrounded by natural elements. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s been exciting for all of us,” Saathoff said. “It’s like taking the earth up and bringing it to human level. It feels cool in here. What a way to cool off.”

You can read the original article at and watch a video about it at

2 thoughts on “Cob Bench at Colorado State University”

  1. Well the only thing I can say is that this structural process is not anything new! It has been around for centuries ! I know some people who have been doing these for a few decades now. They even made an outdoor stove and it uses mud & sand, water, only needed a stove pipe to put in for the three burner areas for the pots, that were put on top to see how deep pots would be to be, plastic pvc pipes about 8 inches in diameter to position inside for temporary holes until it set up to allow air to go through for fire when cooking. Once stove pipe is installed so that smoke goes outside and up above cooking area all is good. They pulled pipes out when it set up so air flows and get good ventilation for cooking. ALL mud & sand& water as I said, you can also add a Pizza oven to this! You can make a whole home using this method although it could take about be a year for it to get done and it also depends on where you live for good drainage & County approves!
    You can find this on You tube as well!


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