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First Cob Bungalow on the Island of São Miguel in the Azores (Portugal)

October 11, 2020 - November 15, 2020



Discover the beautiful Azores islands in the Springtime on the largest and most diverse of all the islands where Claudine, director of CruzinCobGlobal, has just bought a few acres of land near the ocean and forest to create the Quinta da Vida Boa Cob Ecovillage Retreat & Educational Center. Come and learn Cob Building while building the island’s and the Quinta’s first official Cob Bungalow with the island’s own materials of course!!!

The Azorean island of São Miguel is a true paradise. Every time I walk, bike or drive around I am in awe of the peaceful and gentle beauty.  The island is the first and main stopping point for visitors of the Azores and, in my opinion, is the most beautiful, and interesting to explore.  It is 62km/40 miles long and 16km/10 miles wide at its widest point. It is shaped like a caterpillar with the crown chakra at the northwesternmost point called Mosteiros, a jewel with large cliff rocks in the ocean that reminded locals of 2 nuns and a priest, ergo the name Mosteiros which means “Monasteries”.  The island has a variety of microclimates and micro regions which make it seem alot bigger. The Nordeste (Northeast) seems like another world with its big forests and cliffs and intense greenscape. The middle of the island is where the “action” is with the best and most accessible surf beaches, markets, and cultural life, centered in Ponta Delgada, the capital, as well as Lagoa, Vila Franca and Ribeira Grande.  Ponta Delgada is the capital of the island and the main hub for the whole Autonomous Region.  Its population is 50,000, about 1/3 of the whole island and like any other European city has many places to eat, hear live music, shop and people watch.  However each part of the island is special in its own way.

The Quinta da Vida Boa (The Good Life Farm) is located in Atalhada, a section of Lagoa, about 8km/5miles east from the center of Ponta Delgada.  It’s an easy bike ride along the coast with a nice bike path covering alot of the way.  It is located in a “rustic” area surrounded by other farms, yet also only a 10-minute walk to the ocean and a short bike or car ride to the Natural Swimmming Pools of Lagoa, Santa Cruz Beach and, my favorite, Praia das Milicias, a fine black sand beach with great swimming and surfing.  There is a big native forest right behind the Quinta for walking and exploring full of red and black volcanic rock, a Volcanic/Seismological Observatory close by and on weekends, students can rent a car (for as low as 2€ or less a day!) to visit different parts of the island like the 3 different hot springs, the highest peak, caves, iridescent green and blue volcanic crater lakes, two important botanical gardens, amazing vistas, villages, beaches, hikes, and waterfalls.  People who are into scuba diving, sailing, whale and dolphin excursions and even visiting Santa Maria, the closest island, will have time to do so as well.

The Quinta is 2 acres of lightly undulating mostly grassy land with an area of banana forest, endless indigenous mini-guava trees of different species, kumquats, native orange limes and passion fruit.  It is totally enclosed with traditional lava rock walls and very private.  A central higher area with eucalyptus and criptomeria will provide support for an ocean-view platform and hammocks to chill.  The vision and design for the whole Ecovillage is already in the works and this lucky group of students will be the ones to initiate the first liveable cob building on the island. A few years ago another workshop built a sauna which students can visit on the weekend.

Claudine will be hosting and teaching the workshop with the support of local assistants who will help wih food preparation and site preparation.




This Advanced Cobber Certification training offers a complete foundation to roof build over a period of 5 weeks. We will be building the island and the Quinta’s first complete cob studio from lava rock foundation to reciprocal green roof, our trademark structure for the Advanced Cobber Certification Courses. The structure will be between 12-15m2 depending on the size of the class. Usually about 1m2 per student. We will be using local clay soil, sand and either straw bales or other wild local grasses.

The foundation will be built in Week 1 from the local lava rock on and near the land using lime and sand mortar.  On Day 5 we will also pour the first layer of cob floor over tamped gravel and insulation.  In weeks 2 & 3 we will build the circular Cob Wall with opening and fixed windows, niches, shelves, bottles, other useful natural elements inserted into the wall for hanging towels/clothes/art work, electrical and plumbing fixtures and pipes/housing, and the roof connection.  In week 4, we will sculpt and plaster the wall, allowing it to dry enough for the reciprocal living green roof to be installed in Week 5, along with the second floor coat on the final day.   Students will learn ALOT by building every day with continuous instruction both practical hands-on and theoretical using lecture time, slides and videos.  You will leave fully confident to build your own cob house or someone else’s, which is your next step after graduating from our training!  This will take you to the next level of understanding and experience after which you can be a competent cob workshop assistant and builder.




The 35-day Advanced Cob Building Workshop consists of 25 days of theoretical instruction
(lectures with graphics) and construction for 4 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.
Students arrive on Sunday, October 11th, and settle in. The workshop begins at 4pm with an Opening Circle, a Host Site orientation and Introduction to the Project.  Dinner is served at 6pm and followed by an Introduction to the 5-week Workshop by Instructor.  Monday morning we begin digging the trench for our Cob Building!!!!

Following Breakfast, the morning session lasts 4 hours with a 20-minute snack pause. Lunch break lasts 1.5 hours which includes rest time before the 3-hour afternoon session begins. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there is a 60-minute lecture, followed by construction. Tuesdays and Thursdays we start building right after the rest time.  After class in the afternoon there is a 90-minute break before dinner, in which students are encouraged to stretch, do yoga, relax. There is often someone officially or informally leading yoga or some other movement practice in the morning and/or afternoon.  There will also be 3-4 evenings (once a week) after dinner for showing slides, videos and having Course-related discussions.  Other evenings are free and sometimes other students offer informal courses in their specialties and passions.

The 35-day Course will offer practical learning by building a complete 12m2-15m2 (depending on number of students) curvilinear building from foundation to roof, as described in the “Project” section above.  Those who complete the 35-day Workshop will receive an Advanced Cobber Certificate of Completion for Foundation, Cob Walls (which includes Door, Windows, Shelves, Art, Electrical & Plumbing), Floor, Plaster & Roof.




The Advanced Cob Building Workshop begins on Sunday, October 11th 2020 at 4pm with the Opening Circle and Introduction to Site & Project, the Welcome Dinner and Introduction to the Course.  It ends on Sunday, November 15th, 2020 after the Closing Circle & Lunch. Students can arrive a day or two before to acclimate and settle in but will need to cover their own food needs.

The daily schedule (subject to slight modifications due to climate) will be:

7:30-8:30 Breakfast
8:45-1:00 Class
1:00-2:30 Lunch
2:30-5:30 Class
5:30-7:00 Rest/Yoga
7:00-8:00 Dinner
8:00-9:00 Slides/Videos/Discussion (once a week)




Students will learn every phase of building a cob building from foundation through the roof in
lectures/theory. In addition to the lectures, slideshows and videos will be shown to support and
enhance their understanding of cob materials, cob building, design, geography , budgeting,
business options and legal issues.

Our hands-on practice will include:

digging foundation trench
pouring gravel and inserting drainage pipe (if applicable)
building foundation stemwall
analyzing soils and materials
making test bricks
deciding on correct mixture
deciding on best location
making cob w/ partner and solo
building with cob
preparing and inserting the door
preparing and inserting fixed and opening windows
preparing and inserting shelves
inserting bottle windows and other objects
inserting electrical wiring and plumbing in walls
preparing and applying earthen plasters (2 coats)
pouring an earthen floor (2 layers)
preparing walls for roof connection
building roof frame
building roof covering
making small-scale cob designs of future projects, time permitting

In addition to Cob Building practices, the Course material also includes:

legal cob construction practices
cost analysis
creating a cob business (building/teaching)
assisting, interning and teaching with CruzinCobGlobal




Students will need to come prepared for physical labor from Day 1.

This includes:

Work clothes appropriate for the country and climate we are in
Work boots or other closed-toe shoes
Flip-flops for cobbing days
Rubber dishwashing gloves (for lime mortar)
Work Gloves
Tape Measure
Box Cutter
Carving Knife
Wood Hand Saw (cheap), Level (2ft), Hammer (if possible)
Ear Plugs (roof week)
4”-6” Diameter Round Plastic Container Lids (plastering)
Good Moisturizer
Safety Glasses
Water Bottle
Sample of Your Soil (Optional)




These workshops are designed for people that want to learn how to build a complete structure from start to finish in a professional manner and amount of time. They are very intensive and, while we make time for yoga, stretching, dancing, music, relaxing….all students are expected to be present and participating in all building/learning hours unless ill or have some other significant reason. This is because we design the size of the building and organize the structure of the workshop in accordance with the number of students and when people are absent it impacts the whole group and the other students have to work harder. In addition Instructors try to set up building work according to students’ preferences and learning needs.

That being said, the workshop intensity also changes from week 1 to week 5. The first foundation week breaks people in with the work of moving, lifting, rolling and placing rocks and is a new and demanding physical experience for most students. It also includes the first layers and coat of cob floor. The second and third weeks of cob making and building are similar to the rock foundation week in physical demand but are more flowing and active in movement and cardiovascular exercise. The fourth week finally slows down and the body can rest as students tap into their creative source and design and sculpt the walls and around niches, shelves, windows, etc.  Plastering follows sculpting and is also an enjoyable lightweight physical experience that lends itself to talking and sharing at the wall in a meditative rhythm as the students have bonded and shared deeply through a variety of experiences for a month. In the fifth week, the roof is the beginning of a change of pace from the earthen building work including carpentry skills, power tools, hammering, screwing, trimming, etc. But now the workshop is in its final stretch and there is a boost of energy to wrap up the green roof and the second floor coat, the grand finale on the last day.

For students wanting a more mellow slow-paced cob experience along with time for personal exploration and experimentation, these workshops are not for you. However you can find a more suitable workshop online that is usually for a shorter period building a garden wall, a bench, acompost toilet or some other small-scale project.

Students are required to read “The Hand-Sculpted House” before the workshop begins and any
other book they find, as well as watching videos on YouTube, especially the ones posted on
CruzinCobGlobal’s website under Gallery to get an idea of what is expected. Please bring your

Students must tend to their own personal needs, drink alot of water, rest when needed and exert themselves at a steady pace. Students who cannot do the strenuous physical work should let us know before the workshop begins so we can adjust appropriately. It is totally OK to come for the lecture/theory part, and then help the building part in less physically demanding ways, ie cutting straw, sifting for plaster, hammering nails into frames or shelves, sculpting, plastering, cutting bottles. There is alot to do besides making and building with cob!!Finally, please bring a watch or use your phone to be prompt and ready for each part of the Course including meals. Feel free to share your dietary needs with CCG or the Host and bring your essential snacks and foods, pillow and whatever you NEED to be comfortable and happy. Feel free to also bring slides, videos, movies and books to share, as well as a sample of your soil to test.


Coming form Europe, you can fly with Azores Airlines, TAP or Ryan Air.  These are the main airlines flying here with Ryan Air being the cheapest, especially from Lisbon (19€/one way minimum).  There may be one or two others I don’t know about that are small charter airlines.  You will be picked up from the airport to go to the land by the Host.

Coming from the North America, direct flights are only from Boston and Toronto with Azores Airlines.  Delta was flying here from New York last year, not sure about now.  Check TAP too. That being said you can book with Azores Airlines or TAP from anywhere in the US to connect in Boston or buy two separate tickets.  You can also fly to Lisbon and then take RyanAir to Ponta Delgada.  NorwegianAir is super cheap especially off-season and flies from the US to Barcelona and Madrid from which you can take RyanAir to PDL.

For students wanting to stay on and explore other islands, SATA airlines connects all the islands year-round.



Students will be fed 3 high-quality prepared delicious meals a day during the weekdays.  CruzinCobGlobal hosts always serve amazing food to cob students in gratitude for their hard work! Since this is the Azores there will be fresh and amazing vegetarian food, which will be the basis of our menu.  Students that have non-vegetarian requirements can bring personal items to complete their diet and other requirements can be presented to the cooks a month before the start date so they can make sure to have what is needed.  We will try to meet people’s requirements of course so it is important to communicate them as soon as possible. Local fish may be served once a week. On weekends, students will be on their own for their meals and can explore and enjoy the island’s offerings!!!

Students will be camping onsite with simple and rustic facilities like compost toilets, hot and cold outdoor showers, an outdoor kitchen & dining area, a yoga/dance space and a cozy hangout communal area with fire circle.  This will be the first workshop and we will do everything we can to offer maximum comfort and enjoyment during this wonderful and transformational time together. The site has normal cell phone service with a 10€ sim card (3GB + unlimited calls & texts) which students can hotspot to their computers if desired. There are many cafés nearby for wifi use. There is a local Decathlon store with camping equipment if you prefer to not fly with a tent one way and you may be able to sell it to someone or us when you leave!



For those not wanting to camp, there are also other options nearby. The Pés Verdes Teahouse is a very sweet hostel with cute patios right near the Praia da Milicias and the owner Margarida has offered our students an amazing deal!!!! For 180€/5 weeks students can have a bed in a shared room (6 people), full kitchen, several bathrooms, outdoor patios, massage space, great teas and vegan snacks. She also has a few private rooms for 300€/5 weeks.  The hostel is right near the beautiful black sand beach and several nice restaurants and cafés facing the beach.  Those choosing to stay there will need to either rent a vehicle (maybe shared together and which currently is 2€/day or less with GoldCar) or rent a bike for the 5 weeks.  Its only a 5-10 minute flat bike ride to Quinta. You could also walk and there may be the option of local students being able to pick you up along the way!  If you want this option you will need to let us or them know ASAP. There are also closer locations in AirBnB accomoodations, Hotel Arcanjo, and Alojamento Rural. Let us know and we can help.  Meanwhile we will explore other good deals with locals.





Claudine Desiree is the original “Cob Queen” of Santa Cruz, where she founded the original “Sunflower Cob Building” which quickly morphed into the California-based “Cruzin’ Cob”, the cob workshop and building business that evolved over a decade.  Once her three sons were “out of the house”, she went for her dream of traveling around the world on a bike teaching cob workshops everywhere every few months to continue supporting herself by offering up what she loves in the countries and languages she is passionate about.  To work internationally with no home base required a new name and a website, hence CruzinCobGlobal was born naturally and appropriately and, after 5 years on the road, Claudine has finally found a new home….for now.  On the island of São Miguel in the Azores (where are the Azores?) she will establish a home and a small Cob Village called “Quinta da Vida Boa” for retreats, workshops, education and just plain chillin’in with friends and family!!!!  CruzinCobGlobal will continue to do the important work of building the best houses and best communities ever of course… with new Teachers hitting the Cob road in 2020 as CCG-trained students begin leading workshops and builds around the world. Claudine will also keep teaching in her favorite places and spreading the Cob everywhere, with more focus on the Azores land and project now.  California will always be one of those favorite places, her and her children’s home for 20 years. And the demand to learn Cob in California is always growing with the fires and earthquakes threatening conventional houses.  Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe are calling too! And the best part is we have a “legal” Cob Code to use anywhere in the world thanks to the CRI architects’ and engineers’ hard work and focus!



The fee for the 5-week Advanced Cobber Certificate Course which includes tuition, camping and meals from Monday through Friday is:

Full Rate: 2000€ by March 15th, 2020

This workshop was rescheduled from March/April due to CV and most students will be staying on, so we have 4 spots open and two work trades.


***This workshop will be followed by a 5-day Cob Oven Workshop from Nov 16-20 on the same site.  Students wishing to stay on for the next workshop will get a 10% discount on tuition! You can register for it at the same time…8-student limit***

For European residents and others, payment can be made by bank transfer in Euros or you can use Transferwise or Paypal.  For US residents you can also use Zelle or Venmo. To hold your spot  in this workshop you will need to pay the full amount or a 50% deposit that will be non-refundable after August 11th, 2020.  The balance will be due by October 4th, one week before the workshop start date. Please contact claudine@cruzincobglobal.org for registration forms and questions.

We always offer four work trade discounts, 2 in the kitchen making breakfast in the morning and 2 helping prepare the site in the morning before breakfast. Each work trade is for 1.5 hours per day for 10€off per day or 250€ off either the food cost or the tuition cost.  Work traders need to pay a non-refundable 50% deposit at the time of their registration to guarantee their spot. To apply for these work trade positions please contact claudine@cruzincobglobal.org  as soon as possible because these are the first spots to go.





October 11, 2020
November 15, 2020
Event Category:


Quinta da Vida Beleza
Lagoa, Azores 9560-418 Portugal


Whatsapp +1 831 212-7225
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