Design/Build Project: Sara Tamler’s Barrel Oven

During the Natural Building Semester each student is expected to design and build a project using skills and techniques learned earlier in the semester during the Sustainable Shelter Series.  During this presentation watch Sara Tamler, natural building alum 2014, explain her process for designing an outdoor kitchen area and constructing a barrel oven.

Aprovecho’s New Outdoor Kitchen
Proposed by Sara Tamler
June 3, 2014

As a natural builder in the beginning phase of my career, I am eager to gain experience in designing and building a functional structure from start to finish that integrates multiple techniques and materials. As I am particularly interested in timber framing and home heating/cooking systems, I am proposing the construction of an outdoor kitchen to aid in processing food and cooking for the large volumes of people that are fed at Aprovecho. My project is designed in phases so that I can take on different elements in manageable chunks, leaving completed and functional structures that can be easily expanded upon.

In general, I aim to gain comfort and experience with integrated natural building techniques, with a focus on heating/cooking elements and timber framing. I am interested in experimenting with using cob as a segue material to blend and connect independent structures, using it to act as both an artistic sculptural material and functional storage and surface space. I also am eager to gain experience in the preparation work for a natural building project, both in design and in sourcing materials.

My project is to revamp Aprovecho’s current outdoor kitchen, finishing four main components and leaving space for additional cooking surfaces and structures. The kitchen will be located directly south of the Straw Bale community space in place of the existing cob oven and cook tops. Part of Aprovecho’s long-term goals for facilities expansion and improvement, my project will be the beginning phase of an extensive outdoor food preparation space that, when complete, will be able to accommodate cooking and seating for as many as 30 people at a time.

SaraTamler'sDrawings2-2My focus will be on constructing a barrel oven and a wood-fired griddle top connected with a combined countertop and cabinet and covered with a round pole timber frame roof. My design uses a cob wall to tie together these cooking and prep surfaces in a semi-circular shape extending from the sloped terrain. The oven, counter space and griddle will occupy one half of the semi-circle, and the other half will be roofed and ready for boilers, stovetops and more counters outside the scope of my project.
My goals are: first, to fully complete two cooking elements – the barrel oven and griddle – and leave them functional; second, to tie them together with a cob countertop with cabinet space; and third, roof and properly drain them to protect from weather.