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.

The Adobe Alliance Featured in Mother Earth News

Photo by Yasmina Rossi.

“The allure of elegant earthen architecture can be life-changing. At least that was the case for urbane New Yorker Simone Swan, who in the 1970s became fascinated with the ideas and designs of renowned Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. Then the 40-something executive head of the Houston-based Menil Foundation, Swan moved to Cairo to study with Fathy. She became his most passionate advocate, and transplanted his adobe building techniques to the Southwestern United States.”

[ Mother Earth News | Adobe Alliance ]

Soil-Cement Vaults in South Africa

A team carried out a detailed design of structural vaults built from local soil for a new museum at the World Heritage Site of Mapungubwe in South Africa designed by Peter Rich Architects. Michael Ramage (Cambridge), John Ochsendorf, and Philippe Block designed the unreinforced structural masonry vaults in collaboration with Henry Fagan in South Africa. Matthew Hodge developed the cement-stabilized tiles in collaboration with Anne Fitchett (Univ. of Witwatersrand). Based on his experience building the domes of the Pines Calyx in the UK, James Bellamy supervised the vault construction on site. The project was part of masonry research conducted by MIT.

Adobe Classes at the Northern New Mexico College

Anselmo Jaramillo is teaching our one-week introductory class, Build With Adobe, starting April 21. A little bit of talk, a lot of work. Adobe 147-201, CRN 21475.

Following that on Monday, April 28 is our very intensive ADOB 112-101, Arches, Domes and Vaults that runs five days a week for two weeks ending May 9. Also taught by Anselmo this will take place on the property of Alejandro Lopez on the east side of Espanola. The project will be a small vault. Alejandro already has a dome.

The two courses make a nice package.

More information on the College website or by calling Quentin Wilson at 505-581-4156. Email Donald Martinez for registration at or 505-581-4120

Another one-week introductory class begins June 2. The instructor is yet to be identified.

Another on August 18 with Kirk Higbee the instructor. Followed by Arches Domes and Vaults for two weeks beginning Aug 25 and bracketing Labor Day. Taught by Q Wilson. This will be vault in
Abiquiu which we think will be the largest vault ever built west of the Rio Grande, east of the Chama River, South of the Canadian Border and north of EspaƱola.