The Gaia Gallery

Floating Ecological Event Space

The Brief

To assist build the first off-grid, touring permaculture workshop and event space in the world, including a heated cob bench, fired by a rocket stove aboard a London barge, earthern walls and treatment to cob in high water areas.


The Gaia Gallery

The Outputs

  • To oversee and project manage cob making and cob renovation of the interior of the space.
  • To conduct the build in a way that involved community groups through a series of public courses.
  • To organize training on rocket stove heaters and together with the cob work, and help the project develop its network of people with skills in cob making and rocket stove builds to assist in the completion of the project.
  • To offer courses in natural material building and permaculture and bring their marriage to the attention of many Londoners for the first time.

The Outcomes

  • Cob in the Community organised multiple cob building weekends that attracted and engaged a number of diverse groups including SOAS Radical Architects, Bow River Farm, The London Permaculture Network, Meadow Forge, Public Works, Community ReLeaf and many more over multiple weekends.
  • The courses helped raise awareness of rocket stoves as an alternative high efficient heating systems that burns very little wood at high temperature and produces little – no smoke. Participants came away with skills to build their one systems; one in a green house, a second in a training workshop, and others were considering this for their home.
  • We enlisted the help of an off grid blacksmith with expertise in brick and iron rocket stove construction to teach best standard practice and assist pioneer it’s application aboard a canal boat.
  • The project gave CIC the opportunity to engage and raise awareness to our work with large engineering projects – such as Cross Rail and Thames Tideway Tunnel to encourage their donation of excess clay extracted from their excavations. As a result of our meetings,Thames Water agreed to be CIC sponsor.

The Technical

The ‘Gaia Gallery’ project is a to refit of a 43 foot steel barge in such a way that it exists totally ‘off-grid.’ ‘Off-grid’ means that the boat will require no mains electrical, water or fuel input and no sewage 
output and will run solely off firewood and solar power generation.

Traditional building methods such as cob construction, carpentry and joinery will be married with cutting-edge technologies such as the latest in permaculture design processes such as rocket stove mass heating and rainwater harvesting. Through combining these different methods we are able to use predominately natural or recycled materials in the build making this a pioneering structure.

We feel beauty and functionality are routed in the materials we use – whether reclaimed, natural or sustainable.

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