East Devon Revisited

Wednesday 31st October 9pm Channel 4
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Kevin McCloud returns to Devon to meet Kevin McCabe, the man who wanted to build one of the biggest houses Grand Designs has ever seen, who vowed that it would meet the highest standards for sustainability and that he would build most of it with his bare hands – out of mud. Finally, seven years after it began, the herculean task of building this giant cob castle is complete. Kevin McCabe is the leading living exponent of the ancient art of building with cob – a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water. Back in 2011 he didn’t just want to build just a cob house – he wanted to build a cob castle measuring an enormous 10,000 square feet, an almighty challenge. The house was to be formed of two vast curved cob roundhouses connected by glazing and topped with undulating wild- flower meadow roofs to mirror the surrounding countryside. But to build it involved mixing and laying a mind boggling 2000 tonnes of cob, all during warm sunny weather so it could dry rock solid. But Kevin was hit repeatedly by some of the wettest weather on record, and despite pushing cob to the very limit of its capacity, the money eventually ran out and the project ground to a halt. When Kevin McCloud last visited in 2013, the only complete feature of the house was the verdant green roof. The rest of the building was muddy, exposed to the elements and uninhabited. However it’s now 5 years later, long enough for Kevin McCabe’s life to have changed unrecognizably, but also long enough for him to have finally finished his vast cob castle. Question is, has it proven to be the great home he originally intended, and does it prove as he hoped that cob is a viable material for contemporary architecture in the 21st century?

 

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Suppliers List

The following list of suppliers is for information purposes only and no representation or endorsement is made by us in respect of these suppliers

ServiceCompany Name
ArchitectBarry Jobson RIBA, Bedford & Jobson Architects
Bathroom furnitureBathrooms.com

Victoria Plum

Birch window filmAshton House Design
Cob and all general building worksKevin McCabe Ltd
Canvas (living room)Yvonne Coomber Art
Floor TilesDevon Tiles & Bathrooms
GlazingPremier DGU  / Exeter Glass
Light fittings (stair well and sunspace)Branscombe Forge
Light fittings (sunspace & entrance halls)AMOS Lighting
Log burnersStoves Online
MVHR systemPolypipe Ventilation
PV systemSolar South West
SkylightsVelux
Sofa (kitchen)Loaf
Solar hot water system and thermal storeNavitron
Structural engineerBarry Honeysett Consulting Structural & Civil Engineers
WindowsRationel Ltd – Jeremy Wright Joinery