There is an architectural conceit that says proper buildings should be made from locally available materials. (Frank Lloyd Wright took that a step further by saying a proper homeowner should participate actively in the construction not only of the home but of its components.)
I respect the practice of architecture, and in many cases I think it can be a form of art, but the practicalities of means, motive, and opportunity are generally far more influential in building. Can you afford it? Do you care? And if you did, would you have the chance to do it?
Nonetheless, after I win the lottery and begin to design and build my home at Roundrock, to which I’ll retire to keep bees or something similarly bucolic, I think I’ll have the opportunity to use some local materials in the raising of my manse.
I’ve mentioned here before that the geology of Roundrock is capped by a layer of sandstone, in some place just inches below the soil surface and in some cases emerging from it. (The round rocks are in a layer below the sandstone.) It will be easy to collect plenty of this sandstone, and I have a notion of trying to create a sort of quarry where I can extract it in high quantity. (Don’t worry, I won’t be strip mining.) I’ll have to split and shape the pieces so they will serve as facing material, but that will allow me to participate more in the creation of the components of the house building.
My ultimate plan is to use the sandstone to face the exterior walls of the house, though I intend to have lots of south-facing glass. (The sandstone wouldn’t be structural but merely facial.) And with that in mind, I cracked the above piece of sandstone in two some years back and set it out where it could experience all of the extremes of weather. I wanted to see just what such sandstone would look like on the face of the house after years of exposure. Most of the “wild” sandstone we find in our woods is weathered into a dull brown color; it’s the innards that still flash their color, and that’s the part I want showing on the house. Thus I opened this stone to see how long the vibrant color would hold up.
It’s too bad that the photo is a bit washed out, but I think you can see the multiple colors that are in the stone. You can see red and orange and brown there. The yellowish streaks are new (to my recollection). I like the idea that the facing could evolve over time. Some of the sandstone I’ve found “in the wild” at Roundrock is more pink than brown. With that in mind, I intend to collect my sandstone from all around Roundrock so that I can get the variety of colors. I think I could make quite a patchwork of stone. And then I’d get to look at it each day.
- Watch for chickadees feedding on insects in bark crevices.