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Earth Architecture

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Nader Khalili, California architect/author is the world renowned Earth Architecture teacher and innovator of the Geltaftan Earth-and-Fire System known as Ceramic Houses, and of the Superblock construction system. Khalili received his philosophy and architectural education in Iran, Turkey, and the United States. He has been a licensed architect in the State of California since 1970, and has practiced both in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1975 he has been involved with Earth Architecture and Third World Development, and is a U.N. (UNIDO) consultant for Earth Architecture, the Ceramic Houses and SuperBlock Technologies. In 1984 the award for "Excellence in Technology" went to him for the innovation of the Ceramic Houses system, from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects (CCAIA), and in 1987 Khalili's project "Housing for the Homeless: Research and Education" received a Certificate of Special Recognition from the U.N. International Year of Shelter for the Homeless and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Since 1984, Lunar and Space habitation have become an integral part of his work; his "Magma Structures" design, based on the Geltaftan (Ceramic Houses) System, and "Velcro-Adobe" system (later to become the Superblock/ sandbag and barbed wire system) were presented at the 1984 NASA symposium, "Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century". He was subsequently invited to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a visiting scientist. He has presented papers and has been published since 1984 in several symposiums and publications including those of NASA, and the "Journal of Aerospace Engineering" for which he was awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Khalili was a member of the team of the "Lunar Resources Processing Project," along with the Princeton -based Space Studies Institute, McDonnell Douglas Space Systems, and Alcoa.


Since 1982 Khalili has been directing the Architectural Research Program at SCI-Arc, California. He is the director and founder of the Geltaftan Foundation, and the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth) since 1986. Current projects include the Sustainable Desert Village and Hesperia Museum & Nature Center, the Rodeo/Arena for the Mojave Desert city of Hesperia, erosion stabilization of Hesperia Lake, a FEMA related project. At Cal-Earth he continues building and testing prototypes in Earth Architecture for inclusion in the Uniform Building Code. Recent work has been funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Katharine Tremaine Foundation, the Rex Foundation, the Leventis Foundation, Our Ultimate Investment Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.

His four books were written while evolving these techniques and his philosophy of architecture. "Racing Alone", and "Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture: How to Build Your Own", while developing the Geltaftan "Earth and Fire" system for building ceramic houses; "Sidewalks on the Moon", while designing for the moon, a journey through tradition and technology; and "Rumi, Fountain of Fire", translations of 75 poems from the Persian language mysti c poet, Rumi whose wisdom concerning humanity and the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire are the inspiration behind his work.

Khalili's "Works and Words" have been widely exhibited and published in the US and internationally including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and broadcast on national and statewide TV channels such as the BBC World Service and Voice of America. Over 100 hands-on workshops and lectures have been conducted in the U.S. and abroad, from Princeton University/ Princeton New Jersey, International Space University/MIT Boston Mass., to inmates of Chino and other prisons, from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) / Washington D.C., Los Alamos National Laboratory/ New Mexico, to many Native American Reservations, the Eight Northern Pueblos/ San Juan New Mexico, and from children in South Central Los Angeles hospitals to the Universities of California, national and international universities.

Khalili's architectural works also include: the design of a future-oriented community for 5,000 inhabitants for Future City/Villages, Intl. in New Cuyama, California in 1988 (prototype structures were built on-site, and pre-fabricated vault modules were built, fired and glazed at a brick factory); Malekshahr of Isfahan, a community for 20,000, which was designed and partially constructed by 1979; the Middle East headquarters of Dupont/ Polyacryl was designed and supervised, completed in 1978; over 100 projects of conventional buildings ranging from high-rise to single residence.

Geltaftan Foundation/ Cal-Earth: 10376 Shangri La Avenue, Hesperia CA 92345.
Tel: (760) 244-0614 Fax: (760) 244-2201
Email: CalEarth@AOL.COM
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