Buy The Book–Earth Architecture

Earth Architecture, the best-selling book born from this blog, has received several reviews. Buy Earth Architecture and read what others are talking about:

“…an excellent and thoughtful survey of earthen structures across the world and throughout building history.”—Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG

“…an excellent book that outlines the history and explores in-depth contemporary uses of earth in architecture….a powerful corrective to those commentators that view buildings made of earth, or the matter that constitutes earth buildings (mud, sand, gravel, soils), as primitive, poor, or crude.”—David Gissen, Architectural Historian

“Earth Architecture compellingly underscores the need for us to rethink how we can build sustainably by using old techniques in new ways.”—Azure Magazine

written in “simple, descriptive prose, each project is traced in a way that creates an anthology and motivates the reader to further study and research. The book is rich in content and draws in other authors, architects, historical buildings and periods.”—Building Design

“…a satisfying survey both for the professional “mudder” and for those who want a quick scholarly survey of earthen buildings from all over.”—Architects Newspaper

A “Must Have”—

“…contains a wide range of modern earthen residences from the simple to the stunningly opulent. A beautiful book for earth-based building enthusiasts.”—

“…brings to the fore earth architecture and its positive impact on architectural design….an important addition to any architect’s library for its important subject matter and the quality of projects included.”—A Daily Dose of

Earth Architecture “charts a grand history of architectural beauty crafted from one of the humblest of building materials”.—The Age, Melbourne

Buy Earth Architecture if you live in the following countries::

[ U.S. | Japan | Germany | U.K. | France | Canada | Australia ]

Yakhchal: Ancient Refrigerators

Yakhchal in Yazd Province

By 400 BC, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. The ice was brought in during the winters from nearby mountains in bulk amounts, and stored in a Yakhchal, or ice-pit. These ancient refrigerators were used primarily to store ice for use in the summer, as well as for food storage, in the hot, dry desert climate of Iran. The ice was also used to chill treats for royalty during hot summer days and to make faloodeh, the traditional Persian frozen dessert.

Aboveground, the structure is comprised of a large mud brick dome, often rising as tall as 60 feet tall. Below are large underground spaces, up to 5000m³, with a deep storage space. The space often had access to a Qanat, or wind catchand often contained a system of windcatchers that could easily bring temperatures inside the space down to frigid levels in summer days.

NimVar Yakhchal

Image Credit

Image Credit

Image Credit

The Yakhchal have thick mud brick walls that are up to two meters thick at the base, made out of a special mortar called s?rooj, composed of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash in specific proportions, and which was resistant to heat transfer. This mixture was thought to be completely water impenetrable.

Meraji Yakhchal

The massive insulation and the continuous cooling waters that spiral down its side keep the ice stored there in winter frozen throughout the summer. These ice houses used in desert towns from antiquity have a trench at the bottom to catch what water does melt from the ice and allow it to refreeze during the cold desert nights. The ice is broken up and moved to caverns deep in the ground. As more water runs into the trench the process is repeated.

The twin ice-pits on Sirjan, Kerman Province, are surrounded by high walls and were constructed 108 years ago with mud-brick, the ice-pits are surrounded by high walls.