Earthquake Devestates Morrocco

Thousands of homeless Moroccans struggled to rebuild their lives after a powerful earthquake that killed nearly 600 people forced survivors to spend the night in the open. Hopes dimmed of finding any more people alive in the rubble of devastated mud-brick homes in villages scattered around the Mediterranean port city of Al Hoceima. The quake, measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale, struck early on Tuesday as many people were sleeping in their houses.

Call for Papers and Conference Announcement

The Second Annual Conference of the Adobe Association of the Southwest will take place May 21, 22 and 23 in El Rito, New Mexico on the campus of Northern New Mexico Community College.

Call for Papers Schedule:

One page (maximum) abstract due March 23, 2004
Notification of acceptance March 31, 2004
Full paper (5-page maximum) due April 23, 2004 for conference prepublication.

Presenters will have 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes to answer questions. Time limits will be carefully monitored.

The host institution can accomodate 2×2 slides in Carousels or Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations.

Topics of special interest are:

Affordable adobe construction
Thermal properties of earthen materials
Historical buildings of note in the United States
Historical builders of note in the United States
Historical architects/designers of note
Historical developers/planners of note
New projects
Adobe education
Manufacture and supply of construction materials

Conference Schedule:

Friday, May 21, 2004

11AM to 1PM Registration
1:30PM to 4:30 PM Session I
5PM to 6:30PM Dinner
7PM to 9PM Social Hour

Saturday, May 22, 2004

9:30AM to 12M Session II
1:30PM to 5PM Tour
7PM to 9PM Session III

Sunday, May 23, 2004

9:30AM to 12M Session IV

Northern New Mexico Community College has dorm rooms, suites, and a cafeteria available at very reasonable prices. Contact Donald Martinez for reservations at 505-581-4120 or

The Conference registration cost is $30 for Association members and $45 for non-members. For more information contact Quentin Wilson at 505-581-4156 or

Rammed Earth University Cottages

Wide-eyed and inquisitive, 25 first-year students moved into Charles Sturt Universitys residential rammed-earth cottages in Thurgoona, Australia. The Student Pavillion, which was the first new building, laid the foundation for demonstrating and gaining acceptance of an environmental design approach to the further development of the Thurgoona campus.

Texas Rammed Earth/South Carolina Origins

Southwest School of Art & Craft, with roots dating to 1848, when the Catholic community started building the Ursuline Academy, an elite, private girl’s school, it is one of the oldest education sites in San Antonio, Texas. It was recently declared the largest and most significant example of French-influenced architecture in the state by the French Heritage Society. Early buildings on the campus were designed by famed architect Francois Giraud, the city’s first surveyor who is responsible for many of the city’s distinct buildings, including the French Gothic style addition of San Fernando Cathedral. Giraud, who was born in South Carolina to French immigrant parents, chose a construction method called pise de terre, or rammed earth, for the buildings. Skilled pise worker Jules Poinsard worked as a subcontractor on the project.

Laurie Baker

Laurie Baker’s architectural career began as a student at Birmingham University. However, his blossoming professional practice, only a year old, was cut short when World War II erupted in Europe. As a conscientious objector, Baker enlisted in the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and served as a medical technician in China and Burma. Read more in the essay, Of Mud and Men: Architecture as a Political Act