SuperAdobe is a term coined by Iranian architect Nadir Khalili. After a fruitful life as a commercial architect in the US he traded it all in for a chance to discover something simpler. He began experimenting with the earth below his feet on a property in the Californian High Desert. With the help of his architecture students and volunteers, he began to build odd structures among the Joshua trees.
Why did he do it?
From his travels throughout Iran he had noticed a flaw in all of the traditional Adobe buildings of the native people; their inability to withstand earthquakes and heavy rains. He concluded that there was an element missing from these structures, and endeavored to discover what that was, so that he could offer a cheap, strong alternative for people seeking shelter. The system he invented was incredibly simple, built from abundant materials, and for an incredibly low price.
How does it work?
His system employs long, uncut polypropylene bags, traditionally used for grain storage. These rolls are filled with soil taken from the build site, often stabilised with a small amount of cement or lime, wetted, and filled from coffee cans. Barbed wire is then laid in between each row of bag for tensile strength and to hold the bags onto one another. The circumference of the rings are then systematically lessened to bring the walls into the center, achieving the Dome form.
Builders of all ages and capabilities can join together to build a structure. This technique does not discriminate based on ability, age, gender, credentials, knowledge, or wealth. It is an open design system that allows anyone at all to take control of their housing.
These buildings have been tested and approved against the Californian building regulations to withstand even the most extreme earthquakes and above. They offer one of the best answers to hurricanes, cyclones, fire, flood, seismic forces, and rain available today. It also has a tiny carbon footprint, as the majority of the building material is right below your feet!