Banco: Adobe Mosques of the Inner Niger Delta


Banco: Adobe Mosques of the Inner Niger Delta by Sebastian Schutyser and Jean Dethier (author of Down to Earth) et al., is a beautiful book with photographs by Sebastian Schutyser that reveal a neglected African architectural heritage: village adobe mosques. His black-and-white images emphasize an artistic fusion of architecture and sculpture and exalt the strength and beauty of a craft that eludes globalization. The photos emphasize the grain and substance of clay smoothed by villagers’ hands or cracked by erosion, and highlight the solidity of the masonry and the sensuality of the textures. The texts that accompany these stunning pictures are by a leading expert on raw-earth architecture and by a major scholar on African vernacular architecture. Included is an appendix that documents all 500 of the principal adobe mosques of the Inner Niger Delta, with the names of the villages and geographical coordinates. For more information visit

Drying Mud Bricks


Sun dried mud bricks, called “Khesht” in Iran, are laid on their side to promote even drying. The patterns created in a landscape of mudbricks can also be considered as an aesthetic part of the process of building with earth. These bricks are being prepared for the restoration of the Naren Rampart in Yzad, Iran. Image by Dr. Hossein Massoud, 2001

Historic South Carolina Church

Leaders of the Church of the Holy Cross off S.C. 261 in Stateburg, a 150-year-old national landmark, sued both Orkin Exterminating Co. Inc. and Terminex Service Co. Inc. as well as an architect and contractor involved in the restoration of the church. The church, built between 1850 and 1852, was declared a national landmark in 1978. The building is of particular historic significance because of its “unusual construction of rammed earth known as pise de terre.”