A Pattern Language tour of Charles André's cob home in Canada


In this tour of Charles' home you will find numbers in square brackets that represent the patterns from the design book 'A Pattern Language'. At the end of the tour there is a pattern number reference, some of which are linked to more details about the pattern.




This is the welcome Charles André's home would give if you were to visit him in his Canadian cob house. From the doorstep, just to your left you would see the kitchenette with the dinning area to your right. Light from the living room, which opens up to the eave of the roof, fills the space with indoor sunlight [128] that draws you forward through a tapestry of dark and light [135]. As you walk forward to the living room, you'll pass the cob fireplace on your right and the half wall [193] of the kitchenette on the left with the open stairs just beyond it leading to the half-landing bedroom.



Rear of the house


Entrance to the cob house, sleeping loft above


View to the front door


As you pass the cob fireplace and feel the radiant heat [230] of the open fire you'll notice the things Charles has collected through his life [253] on display in niches and on open shelves [200]. The cob bench beneath the window opposite the fire is a lovely window place [180] with a view [192] of the woodland outside with filtered light [238] from the stained glass above.

The light that streams into the space from all sides of the room [159] is soft as it defuses around the deep reveals [223] in the thick cob walls [197].

As you relax in the window seat you notice all the soft natural warm colours [250] and pigments Charles has used to decorate his home, built entirely from good natural materials [207]. The window you are sitting under is divided in to smaller panes [239]. The same design is used in the arched window at the foot of the stairs where a lamp in the niche provides a pool of light [252].  




Stairs to the sleeping loft in front of the kitchenette


Charles' home was built by Cobworks. Charles wanted to use only natural materials of sand, clay, stone, logs and lumber all from his own land. The home is 500 sq.ft (46.5 m2) including the sleeping loft. It took 4 month to build and cost about $18,000 (£10,600). The adjacent cob bath house (below) is a smaller version of the main house and was built the following year by Elke Cole.

The Patterns:

No. 128 Indoor sunlight
No. 135 Tapestry of light and dark
No. 159 Light on two sides of every room
No. 180 Window place
No. 192 Windows overlooking life
No. 193 Half-open wall
No. 197 Thick walls
No. 200 Open shelves
No. 207 Good 'natural' materials
No. 223 Deep reveals
No. 230 Radiant heat
No. 238 Filtered light
No. 239 Small panes
No. 250 Warm colours
No. 252 Pools of light
No. 253 Things from your life 


The bath house


The sleeping loft


The compost toilet