Architect Nader Khalili Memorial

On Saturday March 29th, from 11:00 am throughout the afternoon, Nader Khalili’s surviving family and students invite all who were his friends and supporters to remember and celebrate his life, words and works, at his Cal-Earth Institute, in Hesperia, California, amongst his visionary architecture. Rather than flowers, please send a contribution to a charity which helps the poor and refugees, in his name. [ directions | previously ]

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Dirt, soil, call it what you want–it’s everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it’s no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, by David R. Montgomery explores the compelling idea that we are–and have long been–using up Earth’s soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil–as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.

Nader Khalili Dies at 72

Nader Khalili

Superadobe Structure

Iranian-born architect and author, Nader Khalili, passed away at the age of 72 on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008. Khalili was known for his invention of an Earthbag Construction technique called Super Adobe, which use sand bags, mud and barbed wire to build emergency shelters in areas affected by natural and man-made disasters. His books, Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture: How to Build Your Own and Racing Alone document his life of searching for a method to fire mud houses and turn them to stone by firing and glazing an entire building after it is constructed from clay-earth on site. He is the founder of The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, whose scope spans technical innovations published by NASA for lunar base construction, to design and development of housing for the world’s homeless for the United Nations.