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Superadobe Domes October 13, 2004 6:18 AM

The following contains excerpts from a National Geographic article about domes made of adobe bags. In regions of the world devastated by floods, earthquakes, fire, hurricanes, and war, where money and natural resources are lacking, one thing always remains—dirt. That is the material of choice for architect Nader Khalili, who uses dirt to build dome-shaped emergency housing. "Observing the use of natural materials to construct homes and moved by the poems of the 13th century Persian mystic poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, who exalted the elements — earth, fire, water and air — [Nader Khalili] sought to develop more organic housing that was in tune with the environment. The style of architecture, alled "Superadobe," uses sandbags—filled with dirt, sand, or clay—and barbed wire to construct the dome. The sandbags are stacked in coils that are held in place with the barbed wire. As the dome rises, the rings of sandbags gradually get smaller, allowing the walls to curve inward and form a self-supporting roof. This construction method allows us to use elements of war—sandbags and barbed wire—and transform them into elements of peace," said Khalili. The domes can be finished with lime and cement to give a more permanent stucco-like appearance.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Images of a Three-Vaulted Modular Earth House October 13, 2004 6:32 AM

The 3-Vaulted house prototype has been in development since the mid-1980's by Nader Khalili to allow the maximum space, light, and interior ventilation, while using the traditional form of the vault. The spaciousness of the interior design derives from this pattern of 3 offset vaults which allow a maximum view through the house's open plan area, and from the height of the vault. The 3-vault system can be combined with domes and apses, or repeated back to back to form a variety of aesthetic and efficiently planned house designs. A prototype 3-Vaulted house has been tested and approved for California's severe earthquake codes and natural elements, in the harsh climate of the Mojave desert (over 100 degree F summer temperatures, freezing winters, flash floods, high speed wind, and the highest US earthquake zone 4). The universality of the material and design has caused these houses to be considered for the moon and Mars by NASA scientists interested in in-situ utilization of planetary resources.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 October 13, 2004 6:33 AM

Very Cool. I especially love the notion of "turning an element of war into an element of peace"  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Better images and more info October 13, 2004 6:47 AM

Features of the Earth One design:

  • Built with Superadobe (earth/stabilized earth filled sandbags and barbed wire).
  • Simple design based on the repetition of a single module to simplify construction
  • Vaulted earthen construction eliminates the need for timber.
  • Environmentally friendly earthen materials, (non-toxic earth plasters and milk paint.)
  • The new invention of offset vaults in the design eliminates corridors and creates a feeling of spacious interior.
  • Passive cooling and heating options
  • More vaults or domes can be added later. Start with 1 bedroom and grow to 4 or more.
  • Wind scoop faces prevailing summer breezes for cooling. Doubles as winter fireplace.
  • Indoor temperature lag due to thermal mass of material.
  • Standard doors, windows, and interior fittings can be bought at local hardware stores.
  • Can be built by hand using self-help techniques, or by machine using standard concrete pumps.


 [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Khalili's a favorite of mine October 20, 2004 12:01 AM

I keep thinking how many more homes could be built for the money using his technique- plus his homes are earthquake-resistant. Architects Links (adobe, cob, straw bale, yurt, etc)  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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