Earth Building - Building with earth

is it possible build with earth in modern world?

It´s true that Earth construction is the oldest building practice known, with documented cases of the use of earth bricks in Mesopotamia around 10,000 BC. Earth construction is a type of sustainable architecture with large application in vernacular buildings. Vernacular architecture is based on localized requirements and building materials and reflects local traditions.
board Egiptian building an adobe wall, ilustration dated of 1500 AC (Schroeder, 2012).

artNoveau Art Noveau facade in adobe, Aveiro, Portugal (from:Câmara de Aveiro website ).

Building with earth 🍂

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The earthen raw materials that are used do not need any kind of firing treatment before their use as a construction material, comprising only raw, sun-dried earth. There are several earth construction techniques employed worldwide such as cob, rammed earth (“pisé de terre”, “taipa”), “wattle and daub” (“tabique”, "pau a pique"), and adobe.
Here you can check this link "that explains and illustrate about these techniques in a very simple way!


Dou you know what an adobe is? 🧱

Adobes are building material and construction technique, since it has the peculiarity of being used both in walls, ceilings and roofs. The technique consists of using raw earth blocks molded without compaction.

The adobe is made from the moist soil, which can be used as a pasty clay that fills the mould, or a less pasty clay that is thrown into a wooden mould. It is manufactured by forming blocks into wooden mold The moulds are filled by a mixture with the soil of the site and water, and in some cases with the addition of stabilisers. Their application is similar to conventional bricks in masonry, with an earth-based mortar in order to obtain a better interaction between the materials, avoiding cracking and eventual detachment.

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Building with adobes is not too rustic?

The use of adobe construction is spread all over the world, especially in countries where the raw material is easily available. This happens because this is the simplest and easiest form of construction. However, what occurs over time with scientific and technological developments is that there is a certain abandonment of this technique, especially in more developed countries despite the advantages that this constructive technique offers in terms of sustainable development. Click on the pictures to check modern earth buildings around the world and also very cool renovations!

Adobe modern house Adobe house in Spain

What are the pros and cons of this type of construction?

Adobe is an eco-friendly, lowenergy, and cost-efficient construction material. You can use the available soil to build, only to stabilize with small amoutrs of other material, in order to improve their mechanical resistance and durability. The adobe material offers indoor thermal comfort and adequate sound insulation, even better then concrete.


Is it sustainable?🌱

An adobe building can last hundreds of years (if the materials used are the most appropriate), it is totally recyclable and it is executed with low energy consumption, sice it´s not fired, allows the economization of carbon dioxide during its production. The waste of the earth construction can be deposited at the site of extraction in the absence of any environmental hazard. This increases the present interest in adobe as an environmentally friendly material for sustainable construction.

Would you like to know more about it?

Codded by Deborah Arduin
This website content was adapted by the article Costa, C., Cerqueira, Â., Rocha, F., & Velosa, A. (2019). The sustainability of adobe construction: past to future. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 13(5), 639-647 and from my master thesis.