Building A 25 Dome Warehouse


The photo above shows one of 25 domes used to construct a warehouse in Saveh, Iran (Markazi province, 130km south-west of Tehran) which has a climate with cold winters with occasional sub-freezing
temperatures and snow because of the altitude (1200 meters). The average rainfall is 40 millimeters/year. The materials used are cooked bricks, cement, clay, plaster, white cement as finish for inside walls, lime mixed with earth in the foundations, clay/straw for wall and roof insulation which enclose 620 square meters of space. The cost of construction (1999) was 50,000 US$ and took a total of 3 months to build. On average, every 2 days 3 domes were completed. The warehouse was constructed by Jacqueline Mirsadeghi. See more construction photos: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Design + Build in Marfa, Texas



JUNE 1 – JULY 1 2005

AREA is a summer research+build workshop that engages a 90 year old abandoned mud-brick building, located in the town of Marfa, Texas, as the testing grounds for questioning the notion of occupation, the theme of this years inquiry. Through a series of explorations that examine the process of making and unmaking in architecture, participants will design and build full-scale interventions that respond to a critical examination of place and program while addressing local/global and industrial/non-industrial agendas for architecture by employing raw earth as the primary building material in these investigations. Marfa serves as an ideal laboratory from where to study these issues. It is a town constructed almost entirely from mud-brick and transformed by rich historical, cultural and geographic forces. At 5,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the oldest cultivated areas in the United States. Located 30 miles from the U.S./Mexico border, Marfa is also home to the Chinati Foundation, an internationally renowned contemporary art museum, founded by Donald Judd, whose emphasis is on works in which art and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked. Participants will have the opportunity to visit this extraordinary cultural and geographic landscape through a series of directed and self-guided field-studies. AREA is an initiative of the School of Architecture at Clemson University and made possible in part by the Adobe Alliance, a non-profit organization committed to the dissemination of traditional earth building technologies.


ADOBE 2004

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 in the recently renovated Cutting Hall Auditorium. It is a stately adobe building joining the two-story adobe South Dorm and Cafeteria.

Adel Fahmy, Cairo: “Old Traditions and New Improvements”
John Morony, Southwest Texas Junior College: “Adobe and Latent Heat; A Critical Connection”
Ronald Rael, Clemson University: “A Counter History of Modern Architecture” Luis Fernando Guerrero Baca, Univ. Autonima Metropolitana, Xochimilco with Francisco Uvina Contreras, Cornerstones Community Partnerships: “Conserving Adobe Architecture at the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro”
Dean Sherwin, Philadelphia: “Heavy and Slow, the Thermal Properties of Thick Wall Construction”
Reid Hayashi and Kristina Orchard-Hays, El Prado, NM: “Monolithic Adobe: A Viable and Inexpensive Building Method for the Southwest”
Arnie Valdez, San Luis, CO: “Adobe Education at UNM: Alternative Construction Methods and Materials”
Richard Burt and Charles Graham, Texas A&M: “The Earth Construction Course at Texas A&M University”
Barbara Narici, Milan, Italy: “Raw Earth Architecture in Italy between Tradition and Actuality; Geologika and Mud Interiors as an Ancient Energy in Today’s Immaterial Life”
Quentin Wilson, NNMCC: “Jacal y Fuerte, Wattle and Daub in NM”
Anita Otilia Rodriguez, Mexico and Taos: “La Enjarradora”
Mark Chalom, Santa Fe: “The Prisciantelli Home: Adobe Off the Grid”
Simone Swan, Santa Fe/Presidio: “Teaching Women in Obregon; Passing on the Legacy”
Pat Frazier, Abiquiu, NM: “Houses built by Pat and Felipe”
Steve Safken, Arizona: “Adobe: Compressive Structures and Materials” (Not Confirmed)
Susan Jerome, Mule Creek, NM: “Community Building at the Mudpit”
Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed Eissa, King Abdel Aziz University, Jeddah: “Ecological Aspects of the Courtyard House as a Passive Cooling System” (Not Confirmed)
Steve Burroughs, PhD, Canberra, “Affordable Earth Construction” (Pending)

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 or local hotel/motel contacts at 505-581-4120 or

The Conference registration cost is $30 for Association members and $45 for non-members. Charles Knight is the Conference Registrar at 505-581-0159 or

Contact Quentin Wilson, Conference Coordinator for other questions at 505-581-4156 or


PROTERRA is multilateral international project and technical cooperative whose focus is the dissemination of earth construction technologies within productive sectors to impact the social policies of Latin American countries. At the moment PROTERRA has more than 50 members coming from 15 Latin American countries. [Spanish and Portuguese Language Website]. Also, see what’s new at OIKOS Eco Arquitetura and visit their photo gallery [Portuguese Language Website].

Auroville Building Center

The Auroville Earth Institute (AEI) was founded by the Government of India in 1989. The AEI aims to research, develop, promote and transfer earth-based technologies, which are cost and energy effective. These technologies are disseminated through training courses, seminars, workshops, publications and consultancy within and outside India. The main expertise is with Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB), but they also promote manual rammed earth and other earth based technologies

18th April: International Day for Monuments and Sites 2004: Earthen architecture and heritage

The International Day for Monuments and Sites was created on 18th April 1982 by ICOMOS and approved by the UNESCO General Conference. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

This year, to mark the 18th April, ICOMOS encourages its National Committees, its International Scientific Committees and members to organise activities to promote and to foster the conservation and protection of all earthen architecture and heritage.

Mud brick, rammed earth or other systems, one of the simplest material – earth – coupled with the skills of hands and minds, has produced an immense diversity of buildings, settlements or landscapes that constitutes a major but unknown part of our cultural heritage, to be found almost everywhere.

Getty Center Conservation Newsletter on Earthen Architecture

From the Getty Center Conservation Newsletter Volume 16, Number 1 – Spring 2001

The Conservation of Earthen Architecture by Alejandro Alva Balderrama

Conservation and Continuity of Tradition: A Discussion about Earthen Architecture with Anthony Crosby, Hugo Houben, John Hurd, Neville Agnew, Erica Avrami

Project Terra by Erica Avrami

Joya de Cerén: Conservation and Management Planning for an Earthen Archaeological Site by Carolina Castellanos, Françoise Descamps, and María Isaura Aráuz