"The Hat House" made with Superadobe

Superadobe, also known as “rammed bagged earth,” is a natural building technique that uses bags filled with rammed earth to create strong, sustainable structures. It was developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili, who was inspired by ancient earthen construction techniques from the Middle East.

How It Works

Construction with Superadobe is based on the stacked placement of earth bags, generally made of polypropylene, filled with a mixture of earth, sand and clay. The bags are joined together using barbed wire or metal mesh, creating a vault or dome-shaped structure. The curved shape of the structure provides high compressive strength, allowing multi-story buildings to be constructed without the need for additional formwork and supporting structures.

The advantages of Superadobe are numerous:

Sustainability: Earth, the main material of Superadobe, is an abundant resource with low environmental impact. Its use significantly reduces the need for industrialized materials and the emission of greenhouse gases associated with their production and transportation.

Economy: It is an accessible technique, especially in communities with local labor and access to land. Construction does not require heavy machinery or specialized labor, significantly reducing costs.

Resilience: Superadobe structures are highly resistant to earthquakes, hurricanes and fires. Compacted soil provides significant thermal mass, which regulates indoor temperatures and reduces the need for heating and cooling systems.

Versatility: It allows a wide range of structures to be built, from single-family homes to community buildings and even infrastructure such as vaults and tunnels. Its curved and flexible shape makes it easy to adapt to different terrains and design needs.

Community Empowerment: Construction with this technique can encourage community participation and the empowerment of people. By using local materials and accessible techniques, communities can build their own homes and improve their quality of life.

However, it also presents some challenges:

Requires technical knowledge: Although basic construction with Superadobe is relatively simple, it requires technical knowledge and experience to design and build safe and durable structures.

Moisture vulnerability: Compacted soil is susceptible to excessive moisture, so it is important to implement proper waterproofing measures, such as well-drained roofs and ventilation systems.

Construction time: Construction with Superadobe can be slower than traditional methods, especially on large-scale projects.

Despite these challenges, Superadobe is presented as a promising alternative for sustainable and resilient construction. Its low cost, reduced environmental impact, and ability to adapt to different environments make it a viable option for communities around the world.

Examples of constructions with Superadobe:

  • CalEarth: A non-profit research and education institute founded by Nader Khalili in California, USA, which has constructed numerous buildings with Superadobe around the world.
  • Ecovillage Yetkili: An ecological community in Türkiye that has built all its houses with Superadobe.
  • Guadalema Project: A social housing project in Spain that has built Superadobe houses for low-income families.

Conclusion:

Superadobe is a promising construction technique that offers a sustainable, resistant and economical alternative to traditional construction. With its low cost, low environmental impact and high durability, Superadobe has the potential to revolutionize the way we build our homes and communities.

Video showing the project of the hat house, a highly resistant ecological home, made with the Superadobe system, by the Corn Men, as an alternative for housing for our country and the world, are Ecological and are up to 70% cheaper to build than with any other conventional material.