From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, July 30, 2010:
FAIRBANKS — Most sheds aren’t much to look at. But the new cordwood garden shed at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens could almost pass for a Victorian stone building from afar, sitting on a hill among a riot of red and pink poppies and giant sunflowers.
It was actually built of recycled telephone poles by 16 students taking a cordwood masonry workshop through the University of Alaska Fairbanks summer session.
The 8-by-8 foot frame was filled with about 20 workers constructing walls out of logs, mortar and sawdust. The walls stood about one foot wide and two feet high Wednesday afternoon. Cordwood masonry uses mortar to cement together short, round pieces of wood — like firewood — with their ends pointing out, incorporating creative patterns and mixed materials.
“Most people haven’t heard of it, but it’s been around for hundreds of years,” said Rob Roy, who taught the class with his wife Jaki. The couple owns a green building school in upstate New York. They have built multiple cordwood homes and teach workshops around the country. Roy, who gave a talk Monday at UAF on affordable home ownership, promotes cordwood masonry as a sustainable, low-cost and creative style of architecture.
Using recycled materials is one way to lower costs and environmental impact.