EarthUSA 2011

EarthUSA 2011 will be Sep 30, Oct 1 and 2. Location will be at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

This is the Sixth International Earthbuillding Conference sponsored by the Adobe Association of the Southwest and Northern New Mexico College. The National Hispanic Cultural Center and Adobe in Action will also be sponsors. The Adobe Association of the Southwest is expected to turn itself into Adobe USA.

EarthUSA 2011 indicates a wider field of interest than previous conferences and will include adobe, rammed earth, compressed earth block: CEB, and monolithic adobe: cob. Any material or method that uses clay to bind it together is considered.

May 3: Abstracts due
Jun 3: Acceptance notifications
Aug 5: Full Papers due
Sep 9: Proceedings go to press
Sep 30, Oct 1: Conference and Trade Fair
Oct 2: Tour
Oct 3 -7: Classes, Workshops
Oct 1 – 9: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

1. Contemporary earthen architecture, construction and engineering
2. Historical buildings, farms, villages and cities including cultural connotations
3. Conservation, Preservation, Replication, Remodeling, Modernizing, Re-purposing
4. The role of earthen materials in heating, cooling, sustainable, ecological, renewable and green design
5. Codes, norms, building methods, material science, seismic considerations
6. Earthbuilding education and technology transfer
7. Marketing strategies for earthen materials in the modern world

Conference Languages:
Spanish and English
Papers will be printed in the Conference Proceedings in the language received. Papers received with translations will be printed in both languages PowerPoint presentations are encouraged to be labeled in both languages

The Conference Registration will cost $185 USD with reduction for students. Authors and presenters also pay the registration fee. EarthUSA 2011 is a small conference with few financial resources. A one-day tour will be available Sunday for local earthbuilding sites the cost to be determined. Four and five-day courses and workshops October 3 through 7 are being planned and will include basic adobe construction; rammed earth construction; and arch,vault and dome construction.

Submit your abstract as an e-mail attachment in .DOC format no later than May 3, 2011. Please address your e-mail to: Quentin Wilson, Speakers Committee:

For more information and to download the abstract template visit:

Holy Cross Church Restored

Church of the Holy Cross, also known as the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, is an historic church in Stateburg, in the High Hills of Santee near Sumter, South Carolina. It is located on land donated earlier by General Thomas Sumter, a resident of Stateburg, and its walls were constructed of rammed earth. Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.

Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church’s 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway. While the center section is 18th century wooden construction, the two wings were built of rammed earth, or Pise de Terre.

The Church of Holy Cross needed a significant renovation after termites were discovered in the sacristy in 2001. The $1.6 million restoration, paid for in part with a $250,000 Save America’s Treasures grant, replaced major sections of the termite-damaged trusses and roof panels, as well as the floor panels.

Adobe Alliance Nubian Vault Workshop

The Adobe Alliance is hosting a Nubian Vault Workshop March 6th through 13th. Participants will be introduced to the craft of building a Nubian vault using small bricks measuring 10″x7″x1.5″. Hands-on teaching and theory are offered in English and Spanish by Instructor Stevan de la Rosa of Baja California. Simone Swan teaches design, history and gladly discusses in English and French, experiences in earth architecture based on her apprenticeship in Egypt with architect Hassan Fathy (1900-1989). Workshops are limited to 10 participants. There will be three Intern positions for hard working individuals who would like to immerse themselves deeper in the knowledge of woodless construction. Internship runs from March 1st until March 22nd.

Workshop fees for students run $600 paid by February 5th, and $650 thereafter. This includes instruction, materials, and lunches for the duration of the workshop. On site camping with minimal facilities is $3.00 per person per night. For more information about the workshop and to register, write to and visit our webpage. An early, non-refundable deposit of $200 to the non-profit Adobe Alliance, Inc., allows us to reserve a slot for each student, thus helping to cover in advance the expenses of preparatory work.

Information on lodging, meals and directions is posted on the website The Adobe Alliance, Inc., continues its curriculum of adobe design and building thanks to funding made by believers in the future of earth architecture as a healthy and structurally sound material for living. Donations are needed for running our program and are eminently appreciated.

Hassan Fathy is The Middle East’s Father of Sustainable Architecture

Green Prophet has railed against projects like Dubai Burj Tower. They have pounded our chests at the audacity of Masdar City’s “zero” footprint claim, and have decried the potential consequences of unsustainable approaches to building and planning. “USD22 billion” for a building project and “sustainable” simply don’t belong in the same sentence.

Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy died in 1989 but left behind a legacy of 160 building projects ranging from small projects to large-scale communities complete with mosques and schools. His impact can still be felt from Egypt to Greece and even New Mexico, where in 1981 he designed the Dar Ar-Salam community. Fathy received several awards for his work, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1980, and founded The International Institute for Appropriate Technology in 1977.

Tidal Resonance Chamber

Image: © Robert Horner

As the first rammed-earth construct in the City of Tacoma, The Tidal Resonance Chamber provides a contemplative and relaxation space for users of the Center for Urban Waters (a LEED Platinum Marine research and analysis facility) . Aimed at serving as an instrument for perceptual synchronize with the natural rhythms of Commencement Bay, the chamber’s thick insulated earthen walls buffer out the heavy industrial sounds of the surrounding Port of Tacoma, and through a series of feed back pump operations the chamber’s water level mirrors that of the Thea Foss Waterway manifesting as a ratio-reduction.

Image: © Robert Horner

Designed by Robert Horner, the Tidal Resonance Chamber’s main interior space has a trapezoidal footprint roughly 12’ x 18’. The fortified rammed-earth walls measure 8’6” in height, and rest atop a concrete foundation that measures 4’ in height. The chamber has a maximum filling capacity of 2500 gallons, which will fill at the highest of high tides. The interior of the chamber is filled with reclaimed granite curb fragments, river stones and will eventually populate with micro-organisms, barnacles and other aquatic lifeforms.

Eddy Residence

Michael and Lisa Eddy dreamt of living in a home that was designed to showcase their love of nature and appreciation for the environment around them in Colorado. Designed by JCL Architecture, their fantasy home made of rammed earth is characterized by a continuous trellis that greets you at the entry and leads you through the warmth of the house and out into the open backyard towards the landscape beyond. Aside from being beautiful, the house incorporates passive solar strategies and high thermal mass. Proper roof overhangs and southern exposure were calculated to allow maximum solar gain in the winter while minimizing heat gain in the summer. The thermal absorbent qualities of the rammed earth walls and dark stained concrete floors on both levels stabilize temperature swings from night to day and mitigate the need to run an air conditioning unit during the summer. These features are then further supported by a high-efficiency geothermal radiant floor heating system as well as soy-based insulation in the roof and walls.
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New Mexico Earth Workshops

Arches, Domes and Vaults

Arches, Domes and Vaults starts Monday, June 9. Anselmo Jaramillo (blog) instructs and leads construction of a 10- or 12-foot diameter adobe dome on a small adobe building to be built in Chimayo, NM, at Marisela’s. Dorm rooms available at the College in El Rito about 30 miles away. Camping in Anselmo’s fields a couple of miles from the worksite. Tuition costs about $150 for NM residents and $300 for non-residents. College admission, class registration, dorm arrangements through Donald Martinez,, 505-581-4120 or call Quentin at 505-581-4156.

Natural Plaster and Floor Workshop

Natural Plaster and Floor Workshop takes place in LanderLand, Kingston, New Mexico June 28-29 with instruction on Earth Plaster, Lime Plaster, Earthen Floor and Natural Clay Paint(Aliz). Please come join then and learn the fundamentals of clay and lime for your natural home. Please check out for more information. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Tom and Satomi Lander at 575-895-5029.

Adobe Alliance Seeks Intern

The Adobe Alliance, a Texas based non-profit organization whose aims include to apply cooperative building techniques in earth architecture is seeking a resident intern to work in Santa Fe, New Mexico or from a distance. Responsibilities will include research, image scanning, simple bookkeeping, assisting with workshop organization, website maintenance, and telephone management. The ideal person is a graduate student in architecture, art/art history, public policy or related fields. To learn more, please contact Ms. Simone Swan at or visit