Architecture and Construction with Earthen Materials

Adobe bricks, made from the most basic elements—earth and water—can be produced in abundance and then used to build locally where they are needed most. It has been demonstrated by indigenous populations throughout the southwestern U.S. that communities working together can build efficient and sustainable housing. Many pueblos in New Mexico are a testament to a synergy between community and sustainability, and adobe exists there as a time-tested and trusted glue.
 
Passive-solar adobe structures combine the natural power of the sun with the great thermal storage capacity of adobe to reduce heating and cooling costs. The three major passive-solar adobe systems are direct-gain, Trombe wall and greenhouse.
 
The Eighth International Conference on Architecture and Construction with Earthen Materials will take place Oct. 2-4 in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe. The biennial conference will feature podium presentations and poster sessions related to the current state of architecture and construction with earthen materials. This will include adobe, rammed earth, compressed earth block (CEB), monolithic adobe (cob) and other materials and methods that utilize clay as a binder. October 5 and 6 will be dedicated to tours of local and regional earthbuilding sites. There will also be pre- and post-conference earthbuilding workshops in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and online. Continuing Education credits are available through the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
A 3-day conference pass costs $300. A 3-day student pass is $150. One-day passes are $150/$75. For more information and registration, visit www.earthusa.org, www.adobeinaction.org
 
The conference is organized by Adobe in Action (AiA), a Santa Fe-based nonprofit organization that provides live and Internet-based instruction in adobe construction. AiA courses are aligned with existing academic and professional earthbuilding institutions to contribute to nationally recognized certification in adobe construction. AiA Education Director Kurt Gardella also teaches college-level adobe courses at Santa Fe Community College and is offering an adobe wall workshop there from Oct. 8-11.
 
With volunteer labor, Adobe in Action makes adobe bricks available free of charge to low- to moderate-income individuals and families that wish to build their own homes and to other nonprofits working on community development projects.

 

 

 

 

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