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City Farmer’s Cob Shed with Green Roof is 12 Years Old



The outside layer of clay belonged to famous Haida artist Bill Reid

Sculptor, George Rammell, donated Haida artist Bill Reid’s clay. “The clay I provided belonged to Haida artist Bill Reid. It provided the form for many of Bill’s sculpture projects including the “Whale” at the aquarium, and the huge bronze “Spirit Canoe” at the Vancouver airport. I also used it for my bear track project where I had a Grizzly Bear walk over 15 meters of clay from which I cast the event. It’s great to know this clay, that has such a history on the Coast, now forms the surfaces on your project.”

George Rammell, sculpture instructor at Capilano College, worked with Bill Reid for 10 years on 14 projects. Their clay was used to make the clay plaster which covers the outside of the City Farmer cob shed.

The ‘West Ender’ newspaper reported at the time: “When completed, the tool shed will have a living green roof, a surrounding bench area and an impressively sculpted cob cooking oven. It will be festooned with a relief sculpture depicting the stratification beneath the topsoil surface: rocks, roots, old fossils, shells and some gnome-like creatures. The door to the structure is a work of art itself, resembling a rounded ship’s hull, and several inches thick.” See here.


Photos showing the oven and cob shed under construction.

City Farmer’s Cob Oven May 23, 24, 25, 2003

City Farmer’s Cob Shed in June 2003

City Farmer’s Cob Shed in July 2003

City Farmer’s Green Roof

City Farmer’s Green Roof on our Cob Shed

Green Roof Membrane

Donated and Installed by Terry Kellogg
TEK Roofing and Sheet Metal Ltd.
The Siplast Roof System installed on the City Farmer cob shed consists of the following:

Base Sheet Ply – Paradiene 20 SA (Self-adhered)
Base Ply Stripping- Paradiene 20 EGSA (Self-adhered)
Cap Sheet Ply – Parafor 50 (Heat welded)
Protection Layer – Adefoundation (Self-adhered)

Green Roof Soil

Donated by Verdir Systems Inc.

Plant List For City Farmer’s Cob Green Roof

2 lbs (seeds) Festuca. 0.5lb. mixed native grasses

25 Sedum oreganum (Oregon Stonecrop) S. spathulifolium 72
25 Sedum divergens (Spreading Stonecrop) S. spathulifolium 72
15 Saxifraga oppositifolia (Purple Mountain Saxifrage)
25 Mahonia nervosa (Low Oregon Grape) 38 plug
25 Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnik) 10cm
10 Potentilla racillis/villosa (Silverweed/Villous Cinqefoil) 38 plug
25 Cornus Canadensis (Bunchberry) 10cm
25 Sisyrinchium douglasii (Satin Flower) 10cm
6 Gautheria shallon (Salal) 10cm
4 Vaccinium parvifolium (Red Huckleberry) 10cm
15 Blechnum spicant (Deer Fern) #1
10 Dryopteris expansa (Spiney Wood Fern) 10cm

The Builder

John Freeman of ERTH Design Consultants built a small garden shed (sculptured building) for City Farmer in 2003 for the enjoyment of all garden visitors. City Farmer is an urban agricultural advocacy group in Vancouver BC teaching composting, organic food gardening, sustainability issues and now green-building techniques. This building is the first cob building in a public space in Canada. “We are starting the seed of green building in the core of the city.”


“The structure is finished with an exterior clay ‘litema’, pronounced DEE TAY MA (African natural plaster) and an interior finish of clay-based plaster (south-western roots). Windows, wood work, floor materials, insulating issues, toxicity, electrical/plumbing integration, living roofs, foundations, doors, arches, structural/seismic concerns are all addressed.”

John Campbell Freeman – Bio
John Freeman of ERTH Design Consultants is a landscape designer and green builder. John has been involved in numerous green building projects throughout B.C. See more of his work here.