The Starboard Cork house.
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Project data
Type Alternative building
Bamboo construction
Wattle and daub construction
Location Costa Rica
Status Deployed
Cost USD 20,000
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The Starboard Cork house at Rancho Mastatal was built using various natural building techniques, including mortise and tenon, wattle and daub, earthen plaster, manure schmear, bamboo, and natural finishes. It was constructed with local, student, and volunteer labor, and it took about 2 years to complete. It was completed in 2009, and the final cost was approximately USD $20,000.

Natural Building Techniques[edit | edit source]

Below is a table that highlights many of the natural building components of the Starboard Cork house.

Image Description
This is a wall created with an earthen plaster and a lime wash. It is beginning to fade and crack.
This is a wall created with a manure schmear and a lime wash. It is holding up better than the other earthen plaster walls in the house, and does not have any visible cracks.
The plasters were applied over a woven bamboo wattle and daub technique that is displayed in the image to the left.
The Starboard Cork house has a shower made with earthen plasters, which has a passive solar water heater. The water source for Rancho Mastatal is at a relatively high altitude, so the water heater does not need a pump to receive water. The high head lets the water run through a series of small tubes up to the holding tank (seen in blue in the image to the left).
The wooden patio section was made with tropical cedar and finished with a store bought marine varnish. A store bought varnish was used here, because floors are susceptible to wear from heavy use, and natural varnishes are usually not as strong as store bought ones. Every wood component above the floor, like posts and beams, were varnished with natural oils. The floor in the main section of the house is an earthen floor that was finished with beeswax and linseed oil.
This is entrance pathway. The frames of the house were built using a mortise and tenon technique that uses no metal nails or screws. Gravel with large stones can be used to make a nice walkway with local materials if they are available.
This is the front sink. It is a good example of how broken tiles can be used to make aesthetically pleasing and practical structures.

Solar Power[edit | edit source]

The Starboard Cork house has a panel on its roof that powers many of the appliances inside like fans, and light bulbs. The panels are connected to a charge controller, which helps regulate the charge going to the battery, a battery to store charge, and an inverter to convert DC power to AC.

Aesthetics[edit | edit source]

At Rancho Matatal aesthetics are important. Aesthetically pleasing structures are pleasant to live in, and it makes techniques like natural building look more enticing and intriguing to learn about and re-create. These are a couple of examples of artwork found in the Starboard Cork house.

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