How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block Technology

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block TechnologyAuthor(s): Malcolm Davis

Publisher: Practical Action (December 1993)

Paperback: 36 pages

ISBN-10: 1853390860

ISBN-13: 978-1853390869

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With the right soil, correctly prepared and compressed, it is possible to halve the amount of cement used for block-making. This manual shows how to make and use strong blocks from soil, from the initial planning to the end product.

Soil testing instruction basic description for making Cinva Ram bricks, 36 pages, simple instructions, written for third world or non-English speaking readers, covers soil testing for clay, how to mix and prepare soils, well illustrated, softcover.

Adobe Construction Methods Using Adobe Brick or Rammed Earth (Monolithic Construction) for Homes

Author(s): LW Neubauer

Publisher: UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964

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35 page booklet

A very thorough primer for Adobe! Explains how to make and build with adobe bricks. Soil selection, stabilization and waterproofing with cement, emulsified asphalt, lime are detailed.

Describes how to build and mortar walls, place lintels, windows, doors, and build roofs. Shows diagrams of construction details from foundation to roof, with correct measurements given. Covers finishing, painting, limewashing, fireplaces and chimneys,. Even describes other tamped earth methods such as English Cob, rammed earth, poured adobe; with photos and diagrams of formworks used. Black and white photos throughout, produced by UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964.

Earthen Floors

Earthen FloorsAuthor(s): Bill Steen and Athena Swentzel Steen

Publisher: Canelo Project

ASIN: B001RF9BLG

Order From: Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611

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Natural earth floors are fast becoming the finish of choice for people building with adobe, strawbale and cob. Comfortable to walk on, forgiving of dropped pottery and simple to maintain. Earthen floors are inexpensive, don’t off-gas like man-made products and are easily repaired. This illustrated booklet covers all aspects of earthen floors: base preparations for various climates, earthen mixtures; installation; non-chemical sealants; and upper story applications. 30 page booklet.

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob CottageAuthor(s): Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Paperback: 346 pages

ISBN: 1890132349

ISBN-13: 978-1890132347

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The Hand-Sculpted House A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley This is the long awaited full strength cob building book! Lots of detailed information, color photos and great descriptions on how to build every aspect of a cob house. Recommended!

Publishers description: Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A Cob Cottage, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as “an ecstatic house.”

The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable — earth, clay, sand, straw, and water — and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning “lump”) is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand. Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder’s imagination.

Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

The Hand-Sculpted House is theoretical and philosophical, but intensely practical as well. You will get all the how-to information to undertake a cob building project. As the modern world rediscovers the importance of living in sustainable harmony with the environment, this book is a bible of radical simplicity.

About the Authors
Ianto Evans is an applied ecologist, landscape architect, inventor, and teacher with building experience on six continents. Cob is traditional in his homeland, Wales. In addition to teaching ecological building, Ianto has consulted with USAID, the World Bank, the Peace Corps, and several national governments. Michael G. Smith teaches practical workshops and consults on cob construction, natural building, and permaculture. He is the author of The Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home and co-editor of The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources. Linda Smiley teaches workshops on cob, sculpting sacred spaces, intuitive design, and natural plasters and finishes. With a background as a recreational therapist, she specializes in helping people use natural building as a tool for personal transformation and healing.

Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi Arabia


Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi ArabiaAuthor(s):
William Facey

Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd

Hardcover: 216 pages

ISBN: 1900404133

ISBN-13: 978-1900404136

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Until 1986, when it was acquired by H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Sa’ud, the old farmhouse at al-‘Udhaibat was a tumble-down, neglected mud-brick ruin, no different from many other such buildings which have survived in Saudi Arabia from before modernisation. It was unmaintained and – as all buildings of sun-dried mud will, if left – was quietly subsiding into oblivion. Al-‘Udhaibat is situated just north of the metropolitan sprawl of modern Riyadh, in a location of special resonance for Saudi Arabians. For it lies in the great Wadi Hanifah, just south of al-Dir’iyyah, the old, ruined mud-built capital of the First Saudi State and hub of the 18th-century Islamic reform movement. How the attempt to restore this modest farmhouse, once owned by the late King Faisal, developed into a complex project with important implications for rural housing and the place of traditional materials in modern building, is the story told in this book. Al-‘Udhaibat remains a test-bed, its performance under constant scrutiny, and a source of inspiration for the new generation of Saudi architects. Topics covered in this lavishly illustrated book, aimed alike at architects, planners and general readers, include: The role of vernacular style in modern architecture; The environmental and historical setting of al-‘Udhaibat; Traditional techniques of adobe building in Najd; Issues in adobe restoration and re-building; The re-building process in detail; The reclamation and re-conditioning of the farmland; The future of adobe in the modern world. Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Sa’ud is a grandson of the late King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and a nephew of the late King Faisal. He is perhaps best known to the general public for becoming, in 1985, the first Arab astronaut. He is today, however, equally prominent as an opinion-former, and his commitment to Islamic values and his concern for architecture and the environment are well-known. He is currently the President of the High Commission for Tourism in the Kingdom.

Review

“Back to Earth is the story of a Saudi prince’s concern for the environment and his desire to preserve and give new life to the dying skills of adobe building in Saudi Arabia. To set an example, he has restored, in traditional techniques, a farmhouse outside Riyadh. The end result is stunning. … The most interesting section of the book is the description of the restoration. … The various processes are all documented with good photographs and drawings.” – Venetia Porter, Times Literary Supplement, 24 April 1998.

About the Author

William Facey is a historian of Arabia. He is also a museum consultant and a director of the London Centre of Arab Studies.

Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

Author(s): Paul Graham McHenry

Publisher: Univ of Arizona Pr

Paperback: 158 pages

ISBN: 0816509484

ISBN-13: 978-0816509485

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This book explores the depths of adobe and enables the reader to build their own home intelligently and realistically. With an emphasis on adobe construction, McHenry discusses the planning of every aspect of one’s home from the financing to the foundation, the floors to the fireplaces. The prospective builder must be prepared for a long period of frustration, doubt, worry, and plain hard work, but the helpful ideas found on the pages of this book will encourage readers to build despite the challenges. McHenry describes this process as a tremendous puzzle, for which one must create and arrange all the pieces, and then live with the result.

McHenry begins with a brief history of adobe and then moves on to the planning of the home, emphasizing the influence of individual ideas. The intention of this book is to help bridge the gap between architects, builders, craftsmen, and the unskilled but determined individual who wants to build their own home. This book outlines the technical aspects of adobe construction with several pictures and figures to simplify production.

The creation of a home, from the earliest design concepts to successful completion, is one of the most rewarding experiences one can ever have. McHenry’s Adobe offers a realistic and straightforward guide to “doing it yourself.” His advice regarding adobe is useful for professionals and amateurs alike.

 

 

The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling

The Solar House: Passive Heating and CoolingAuthor(s): Dan Chiras
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green (October 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1931498121
ISBN-13: 978-1931498128

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Passive solar heating and passive cooling—approaches known as natural conditioning—provide comfort throughout the year by reducing, or eliminating, the need for fossil fuel. Yet while heat from sunlight and ventilation from breezes is free for the taking, few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved. Now Dan Chiras, author of the popular book “The Natural House,” brings those principles up to date for a new generation of solar enthusiasts. The techniques required to heat and cool a building passively have been used for thousands of years. Early societies such as the Native American Anasazis and the ancient Greeks perfected designs that effectively exploited these natural processes. The Greeks considered anyone who didn’t use passive solar to heat a home to be a barbarian! In the United States, passive solar architecture experienced a major resurgence of interest in the 1970s in response to crippling oil embargoes. With grand enthusiasm but with scant knowledge (and sometimes little common sense), architects and builders created a wide variety of solar homes. Some worked pretty well, but looked more like laboratories than houses. Others performed poorly, overheating in the summer because of excessive or misplaced windows and skylights, and growing chilly in the colder months because of insufficient thermal mass and insulation and poor siting. In “The Solar House,” Dan Chiras sets the record straight on the vast potential for passive heating and cooling. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, he highlights certain egregious—and entirely avoidable—errors. More importantly, Chiras explains in methodical detail how today’s home builders can succeed with solar designs. Now that energy efficiency measures including higher levels of insulation and multi-layered glazing have become standard, it is easier than ever before to create a comfortable and affordable passive solar house that will provide year-round comfort in any climate. Moreover, since modern building materials and airtight construction methods sometimes result in air-quality and even toxicity problems, Chiras explains state-of-the-art ventilation and filtering techniques that complement the ancient solar strategies of thermal mass and daylighting. Chiras also explains the new diagnostic aids available in printed worksheet or software formats, allowing readers to generate their own design schemes.

Built By Hand

Built By Hand
Authors: Eiko Komatsu, Athena Steen, Bill Steen
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Gibbs Smith, Publisher; 1 edition (September 26, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158685237X
ISBN-13: 978-1586852375

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A modern, full-color version of the Bernard Rudofsky classic ‘Architecture without Architects’, this book takes readers on a magnificent journey to distant corners of the earth in search of the world’s most amazing vernacular architecture. It is the most comprehensive and groundbreaking documentation of hand-made architecture ever published. (Prarie Avenue Bookshop Holiday Gift Guide )

From elaborate bamboo structures in Sumba, Indonesia, to houses carved out of volcanic rock in Cappadocia, Turkey, and homes made from earth-block in Chipaya, Bolivia, Japanese photographer Yoshio Komatsu (assisted by spouse Eiko) has traveled the world photographing vernacular structures. The Steens (The Straw Bale House) provide captions and notes on construction techniques in stone, reeds and many other materials. With more than 700 full-color photos in an 8″X9″ format, the book takes readers to Ethiopia, Iran, Japan, Spain, Venezuela and many other places. (Publishers Weekly )

“more than just a collection of amazing photos” (The Last Straw Journal )

Product Description

Shelter the Human Family is the most extensive documentation ever published of traditional (“vernacular”) buildings throughout the world. With examples from nearly every continent, the book documents the diverse methods people have used to create shelter from locally available natural materials, and shows the impressively handmade finished products through this truly stunning compilation of photographs. Unlike modern buildings that rely on industrially produced materials and highly specialized electric tools and techniques, the shelters featured here represent a rapidly disappearing genre of handcrafted and beautifully composed structures. They are the work of simple and real people who, as builders and homesteaders, have integrated artistic beauty and practical form into their shelter needs. Shelter the Human Family offers insights into the world of vernacular building, along with potential solutions to many of the problems that plague modern architecture. It is a must-have collection that preserves and documents the rich cultural past of each structure and its community, and offers inspiration for those looking to build in a way that is motivated by something larger than speed, efficiency, and economic profit. Bill and Athena Steen are the authors of The Straw Bale House and The Beauty of Straw Bale. They are active in community building programs that teach low-income families how to build their own shelters, and known for their efforts to incorporate artistic techniques based on local and natural materials into the world of modern construction. They live in Elgin, Arizona. Yoshio Komatsu has been photographing buildings and people around the world for 25 years. His photographs were collected in the Japanese book Living on Earth, and his work is regularly published in books, magazines, and calendars throughout Japan. This is his first book in English. He and his wife, Eiko, live in Tokyo.

A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

Author(s): John S. Taylor

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 1890132020

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A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions

Reprint Edition
Paperback, 160 pages
Publication date: September 1997

In a new take on sustainable living and building, John Taylor presents a stunning array of traditional building techniques and housing solutions from around the world and from history. Most are motivated by available materials, economic necessity, and local climate and terrain. In this time of growing interest in earth-friendly building techniques, Taylor shows us that we need to relearn many practical aspects of constructing shelter and must blend the technologies of the present with the traditions of the past, with those of other cultures, and even with those of our own grandparents. Taylor, an architectural designer, has filled this delightful book with remarkable drawings and sketches of building techniques gleaned from his travels; it is a feast for the eyes as well as the brain.

Designing With Nature : The Ecological Basis for Architectural Design

Cover, Designing With Nature : The Ecological Basis for  Architectural Design Author(s): Ken Yeang

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

ISBN: 0070723176

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Designing With Nature: The Ecological Basis for Architectural Design

Hardcover, 243 pages
Publication date: May 1995

A timely, incisive book providing a comprehensive framework for designing buildings that work with nature. Offering a compelling case for ecological design, it provides architects and designers with a full understanding of the impact that their work has on the natural environment, as well as what can be done to mitigate the damage man-made structures inflict on the natural environment.

Table of Contents
Preface
1. Ecology and Design
2. Architecture and Its Ecological Impact
3. Framework for Ecological Design
4. External Ecological Interdependencies of the Built Environment
5. Internal Ecological Interdependencies of the Built Environment
6. External-to-Internal Ecological Interdependencies of the Built Environment
7. Internal-to-External Ecological Interdependencies of the Built Environment
8. Ecological Design
References
Index

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