Aug 13, 2010

From the Earth, a Home

Adobe! It's a time-tested building method indigenous to the Southwestern United States as well as other arid parts of the world such as West Asia, Northern Africa, and parts of South America. Making homes from earth is resourceful, inexpensive, long-lasting, fun, and an opportunity to handcraft physical space.

Here is an image of the largest abobe structure in the world: the citadel of Bam in Iran.

Here is an image of the Taos Pueblo near to where I now live. The pueblo is made from adobe and has housed the Tewa people for nearly 1200 years.

I've wanted to learn the craft of adobe making as a way of understanding my surroundings, honing a skill, and appreciating the local architectural vernacular. The following images create a visual narrative of my recent attempts to make bricks from earth. As these images relate, making adobe is also a practice in trial and error and tenacious experimentation.

Adobe brick making is best produced with a large group of people. Here are a few images of the Reality Construction Company, a commune that lived near Taos in the 1960s; their cottage industry was adobe bricks. Images courtesy Roberta Price.

I will be leading two earth-mixing workshops at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in conjunction with an exhibition at the Gallery of Contemporary Art entitled Hypothesis. The exhibition pairs artists and scientists in an examination of inquiry and research. Learn more here.