Adobe is a sustainable construction material consisting of soil, clay, straw, and water. In the construction, adobe is used as a mix for the structures and as a material for the bricks. Adobe buildings are durable and energy-efficient with high thermal mass properties. The construction material is flexible, fire-resistant, and has great sound insulation. Adobe homes are best for desert climate areas with temperature fluctuations.

Photos - Adobe house

Adobe is a building material consisting of organic materials, such as soil, clay, straw, silt, water, which has become very popular due to its exceptional energy-saving qualities. ‘Adobe’ means ‘mudbrick’ in Spanish but generally refers to two notions. First, defines a clay mix, second describes the synthetic unbaked brick technology, also called ‘soil blocks’. Adobe bricks are usually produced in open cast molds and remain to dry in the sun. The usual structure of adobe buildings is normally plain resembling cob or rammed earth houses with a flat roof and rounded interior walls. Although with the creative approach an adobe building can be adapted into a more complex and sophisticated structure. 

 

History of the adobe as the building material

Today’s constant search for innovative technologies has resulted in new more efficient approaches and improvements but at the same time in the abandonment of some already existing quality methods. Quite often eco-friendly structures were replaced by the harmful producing CO2 emissions. Now let us take a look at the adobe development process and see why it has proven to be a great construction material through the centuries. The art of using adobe mud for construction was known in almost all of the ancient cultures:

  • bricks made from mud in dried river beds in the Middle East from 8,000 BC,

  • mad brick houses in Turkestan from 6,000 BC,

  • a fortified medieval town in adobe technique Arg-e Bam in Iran built between 6,000 and 4,000 BC,

  • city Ur on Iraq territory from 2,000 BC,

  • clay brick structures in Egypt from 1,800 BC,

  • some sections of the Great Wall in China constructed from mud bricks,

  • 75-meters “Pyramid of the Sun” in Teotihuacan, Mexico, made from soil bricks,

  • adobe brick temple Huaca del Sol in Peru constructed in 100-800 AD,

  • the world’s most ancient high rise residence in Shibam, Yemen, from 300 AD,

  • World Heritage Site of UNESCO - Taos Pueblo in New Mexico with the construction started between 1,000 and 1,450 AD.

These are only a few examples demonstrating that adobe being a flexible material still has a capacity to stand the test of time. 

 

The advantages of adobe buildings

Great heat conductor. Adobe houses are perfectly suitable for dry and harsh climates with fluctuations, as they store and conduct heat. Adobe absorbs heat during the daytime and stores it in the building to keep it warm during cold nights. The inside temperature in such buildings is regulated naturally, saving great amounts of electricity from air-conditioning. Adobe houses are not suitable for the areas with high humidity as it makes the material weak but particularly good in hot and dry areas and resilient against earthquakes with the right structure. 

Ecologically friendly. Adobe is extracted organically, does not include any toxic or industrial components, and does not create any waste. No chemicals are necessary for adobe production. When adobe structure has to be taken away it can simply be put into the ground.

Affordability. Adobe's price is quite low and such houses can be affordable to anyone. Although it might be quite difficult and expensive to find a professional who works with the material on a high level, there are a lot of neat DIY adobe projects anyone can do.  

Unique look. If you are interested in out-of-common and rustic architecture an adobe house might be an amazing option for you.

 

Adobe house - video

Adobe house