My books and articles

Essential Cob Construction:
A Guide to Design, Engineering and Building

Essential Cob Construction by
A Guide to Design, Engineering and Building

Anthony Dente, PE, Michael G. Smith, and Massey Burke
It is now possible to build a cob house to code! This book is intended for professional builders and designers who want to include this versatile low-carbon building system in their work, as well as for owner-builders who want to build to code. Chapters on the materials science of cob, mix design and testing, structural engineering, buildng codes and permits, and budgeting include a treasure trove of information available no where else. The hands-on building section is updated with new information on mechanical mixing and the use of formwork to save labor. Also contains the full text of the cob building appendix to the international Residential Code. Released in 2024 by New Sociey Publishers:

The Hand-Sculpted House:
A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

The Hand-Sculpted House by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley

Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley (Chelsea Green, 2002)
346 pages
The most comprehensive guide to cob and many other aspects of Natural Building. Excellent chapters on ecologically sensitive siting, harvesting and salvaging materials, designing beautiful, efficient, tiny houses, creative economics, and much more. Also includes an updated handbook of cob construction, covering every aspect from foundations and drainage to roofs and plasters. Nearly 200 outstanding drawings by Deanne Bednar, plus color and black and white photos.

The Art of Natural Building:
Design, Construction, Resources

The Art of Natural Building by Joseph F. Kennedy, Michael G. Smith, and Catherine Wanek, Eds.

Joseph F. Kennedy, Michael G. Smith, and Catherine Wanek, Eds. (New Society, 2002)
292 pages
A complete introduction to the Natural Building resurgence in North America and Europe, with 60 articles by 50 leaders in the field. Technical chapters cover 30 different materials and techniques from adobe and bamboo to recycled tires and paper fibers, with extensive resource lists in each chapter. Also covers the philosophy and history of the Natural Building movement, and inspirational case studies. Lots of black and white and color photos.

The Cobber’s Companion:
How to Build Your Own Earthen Home (3rd Edition)

The Cobber's Companion by Michael G. Smith

(used copies available thru Amazon and other resellers)
Michael G. Smith (Cob Cottage Co., 2000)
134 pages
The original cob building handbook, with detailed instructions on all aspects of construction: site selection, materials testing, cob mixing and building, roofs, foundations, floors, and finishes. Made to be taken out on your site and smeared with mud, with great drawings by Deanne Bednar.


Natural Building and community: Published in the Summer 2008 issue of Communities magazine – Issue #139