Superadobe and eco-construction

Courses in Superadobe and eco-construction

Superadobe

Superadobe is a form of earth bag construction pioneered by the Iranian architect Nader Khalili. The technique uses layered bags filled with an earth and lime (as used at Finca La Tierra) mix and then manually compacted. The beauty in using a dome formation is that only one material (earth) can be used to build the entirety of the structure: from foundations to roof. It is a form of construction that can be used in any part of the world and also can be combined with more traditional building methods by building straight walls (as apposed to the dome technique) and then using a traditional wooden roof structure. It has also been used extensively as the foundation material in straw bale construction, isolating the straw walls from rising damp. All adobes have a very high thermal mass, meaning that it stores excess heat well, keeping houses cool in the summer and maintaining its heat for longer during the winter months.

The fact of it’s ease to learn and the relatively few different materials used means that superadobe is excellent choice of technique when considering a self-build.

Adobe bricks

Some of the oldest man made structures in the world are made of adobe bricks, with examples in from Spain to Iran to native American cultures dating up to 3000 years old. Similar to other earth structures, like rammed earth, superadobe and cob, adobes also have a high thermal mass meaning that they are an excellent choice of material for storing excess heat. As they are formed into bricks (from traditional size to up to 2 metres) they can be incorporated into more conventional architectural designs with ease.

Lime mortars, plasters and concretes

Here at Finca La Tierra we are dedicated to the use of only natural materials. Lime, that comes from limestone rock, has been used in construction for thousands of years and can be mixed with different sands, earths and aggregates to form very strong mortars and plasters. The concretes used by the Romans, a mixture of lime and volcanic sand, has been proved to be stronger and longer lasting that the cement based concretes used in conventional construction today.

Upcoming courses:

Combined Permaculture and Natural Building Course 9th - 17th April 2016

This combined course is an initiation in the principles of design and philosophy of permaculture as well as a hands on introduction to a variety of different natural building techniques.

Together we are going to build an integrated Chicken Coop and Greenhouse to highlight the benefits of intelligent design whilst using different techniques for each wall and roof. We will combine Straw-Bale, Superadobe, Cob and Light-Earth for the 4 walls and put a insulated green roof on top.

The practical part of the course will run from 9.00 to 14.00 every morning, with afternoons reserved for theory classes, fun in the veggie patch and walks in the countryside.

The course is aimed at those with little to no experience of natural building or those with an interest in discovering the possibilities that a Permaculture lifestyle can bring.

Accommodation is in tents (although there will be a couple of spaces free in the Domes, as well as a hotel in the village, Cost 30€ per night), with breakfast and lunch included and the kitchen and living room always free for everybody to use.

Price – 250€

Course given by Helena Maristany and Sam Baxter

Call Sam on 0034 635 801051 o send a email to fincalatierra2012@gmail.com to reserve your place

 

'Rocket Stove Mass Heater' Course 28th April -1st May 2016

Want to heat your house in the most efficient way possible? Come do our 4 day ‘Rocket Stove’ course with Pablo Bernaola, founder of Estufasrocket.es. A rocket stove enables us to use as much of the thermal energy possible given by a fire , utilizilng the hot air to it’s maximum potential using a series of pipes as well as storing the thermal energy in banks of clay and cob. The course will be a mixture of the practical with theory and we will build a stove from start to finish during the 4 days.

Accommodation is in tents (although there will be a couple of spaces free in the Domes, as well as a hotel in the village, Cost 30euros per night), with breakfast and lunch included and the kitchen and living room always free for everybody to use.

Price – 200€ (180€ for inscription before 1st April)

Course given by Pablo Bernaola and Sam Baxter

Call Sam on 0034 635 801051 o send a email to fincalatierra2012@gmail.com to reserve your place     

Intensive Superadobe Dome Construction Course June 2016 (dates to be confirmed)

This two week course is aimed at new-comers and experienced builders alike. Together we will build a 3.3metre diameter dome using the superadobe earth-bag technique from foundations to natural plaster finishes and everything in between.

Practical work will be in the morning with theory in the afternoons, leaving some time for students to go and explore the area after the days objectives are completed.

Sleeping is in tents, with outdoor showers and toilets on site and breakfast and lunch included in with the course.

Maximum number of participants – 15

Cost – 250 Euros

Where? – Real de San Vicente, Toledo, Spain

Course conducted by Sam Baxter

Superadobe and Reciprocal Roof Course July 2016 (date TBC)

I’ve got a mate in the valley who has lived the past 3 years off the land in his caravan without heating! In that time he has transformed his finca into a beautiful, abundant and permaculturally inspired vegetable garden and its about time he had a solid roof over his head so he can flourish in winter just like his cabbages do.

We are going to build a small 16m2 abode using the compacted earthbag technique as the supporting walls and then use a reciprocal roof frame for the roof. The build will include the foundation work, doors and windows, structural walls, and the wooden roof frame, as well as a basic introduction to clay and lime plasters.

Practical work will be in the morning with theory in the afternoons, leaving some time for students to go and explore the area after the days objectives are completed.

Sleeping is in tents, with outdoor showers and toilets on site and breakfast and lunch included with the course. There is a communal kitchen and living room at the finca for the use of everyone.

Maximum number of participants -12

Cost – 250€

Where? – Sleeping and theory at Finca LaTierra, the build is 5km up the road near Cenicientos

Course conducted by Sam Baxter

Testimonial

At the first sight you’ll have a hard time spotting the adobe houses in the hilly Spanish country side. It fits so seamlessly in the scenery, that one wouldn’t think, it was manmade. Because it is not machine made. It wasn’t just put there. It grew slowly, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, shovel by shovel, hand by hand. And once you walked into them you can tell. It’s such a unique feeling to have the walls curving over you. Not being able to tell where they stop and where the ceiling starts.

You can see how much effort and energy was out into them and how many people put their love and perfection into this house.
So if you want to learn how to build such a unique place, if you want to spend your time under the bright Spanish sky, if you want to sit by the campfire and listen to the silence, make music with fantastic people and eat pizzas from the stone oven, this is where you want to be! Enjoy it! Peace.

Nele Dora, 21, Germany
Stayed for 3 months in the summer of 2014

Nele Dora

Call Sam on +34 635 801051 to discuss your internship

or read about internships here