Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture

Mud Housing Project

Using mud as construction material in urban construction
Under the aspects of
Energy Consumption,
Resource Protection and
Changing Economy
as well as the Construction Biology,
an interesting alternative for future architecture

Change of pattern of ventilation
Change in orientation criteria for planning and implementation
Entrance from the north
Buffer zones in the south and the west
Room level differences in case of single storey buildings
Using natural possibilities of ventilation
Careful usage of the available spaces
Think twice before using modern age materials
Consider user behaviour
Consider the surrounding situations
Balance legal requirements with the individual situation
Consider carefully the construction of the roof, the walls and the flooring.
Room dimensions should be flexible and not subject to automatic patterns
Wall opening versus walls with natural ventilation
Flexible planning of the drainage and utilities, i.e. not according to fixed patterns


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:25 PM, ,

Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture

Nader Khalili first describes his revolutionary techniques of "earth architecture" in Racing Alone. Here he offers a step-by-step guide to the simple and natural process of using clay-earth to build adobe houses and fire the structures with potters' glaze to create ceramic houses. His techniques, which integrate graphics, sculpture, art, and architecture, are easy to follow and apply. Khalili's techniques can be used successfully by anyone who wants to build an inexpensive, durable, and energy-efficient house that fully expresses the individual's taste and imagination. Whether you want to build one of your own or simply learn more about the process, Ceramic Houses describes both the ancient and modern techniques of building with the elements available to everyone: earth, water, air and fire.

Architect and author Nader Khalili developed the simple breakthrough building technologies known as Superadobe (sandbags and barbed wire) and Ceramic Houses, with the freely available material of earth, for almost thirty years. Inspired by the poetry of the 12th century mystic Rumi, who wrote in his native Persian language, Khalili served as a consultant to the U.N. (UNIDO) and a contributor to NASA, as well as directing the Architectural Research Program (ARP) at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture).

For his work in Earth and Ceramic Architecture since 1975, he received awards from organizations such as the CCAIA for "Excellence in Technology," the U.N. and HUD for "Shelter for the Homeless," the ASCE (Aerospace Division) for his work in lunar base building technology, and most recently the Aga Khan award for architecture for "Sandbag Shelter Prototypes".

Through his work, Nader Khalili has inspired a global movement and left a rich body of philosophy, design and innovative construction technology. His work is continued at Cal-Earth Institute, as the basis for its research and educational mission.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:04 AM, ,

Mud Architecture

Revival of Mud Architecture in Pakistan appeared in the TechnoBiz Monthly Magazine in June 2009 issue.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:32 PM, ,

With Dr. Senta Siller

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:10 PM, ,

The World Cup Kiks Off

"Football is not only a game. Football is connecting people."

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:24 PM, ,

Prof. Dr. Norbert Pintsch on Mud, Slums and History

Street walkers are critical people.
While walking through newly constructed areas,
there can hardly be any discussion about the multiplicity of forms,
material experiments and alternative engineering systems
as everything seems rather standardized,
not to speak of the aesthetics,
which has become a victim of standardization at the DIY-stores.

The entire spectrum of the city planning
is best visible from the sky.
Thanks to our inability to fly,
we remain spared from the depression caused by
the idea-less planners,
construction engineers and

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:41 AM, ,

Aging Mud Hut


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:13 AM, ,

Mambukal Mudpack Festival

Held at the height of monsoon season, the Mambukal Mudpack Festival in Murcia, Negros Occidental, celebrates the harmony of man and nature and encourages environmentalism among young people. To get in the spirit, participants cover themselves with the rich soil known as Mambukal clay. [Via]


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:40 AM, ,

Earth Architecture

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.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:33 AM, ,

The Valley Of Mud-Brick Architecture

By examining in close detail the cities of Shibam and Tarim, Dr Damluji analyses the ways in which the buildings of the Hadramut region are distinguished from other forms of local Arab architecture. In many Arab regions (including parts of Yemen) 'modern', 'Western' town planning and building methods have displaced original architectural forms; typically the traditionally-built, older areas tend not to be supplied with basic services such as sewers, and have quickly degenerated into slum districts, while the 'modern' areas are regarded as more desirable. However, the author argues that many of these new building practices and materials are innately unsuited to an Arab environment, and are in fact inferior to the authentic styles of architecture. 

Amongst her reasons are that this 'modernity' (in both its planning and use of materials) lacks consideration of climatic needs, and that its execution is technically inferior to that achieved by master builders who have long experience of the building art and a long-established and sophisticated method of construction. Moreover, the new style presupposes not only 'imported' authority or expertise in the form of the engineers, but also imported raw materials (concrete, steel) and therefore has implications for both the economy and for architectural autonomy and style. Dr Damluji concludes that the mud-brick architecture in the Hadramut region of southern Yemen offers a unique source of cultural and technical knowledge. This uniqueness lies in the contemporary nature of the architecture, which has not been displaced by imported, 'modern' techniques but has adjusted to keep pace with the changing needs of the society it serves.

The architecturerepresents a real asset in the local building sector and contributes to the national sense of identity. It is thus not only an ancient design but also a valid twentieth century architecture ideally suited to the local environment. This important work describes in detail the history of the region, the rationale of traditional town-planning, and both building processes, design concepts and materials in contemporary use. It is richly illustrated with the author's own photographs and line drawings.

Examining in detail the cities of Shibam and Tarim, Dr Damluji analyses the buildings and planning of the Hadramut region of Yemen. She argues that many new building practices are unsuited to the local environment, lack consideration of climatic needs and are technically inferior to long established construction methods. Moreover, they presuppose 'imported' expertise and raw materials and therefore have implications for economic and cultural autonomy.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:48 PM, ,

Mixing Traditonal and Modern Technologies

The Laurie Baker International School of Habitat Studies (Labishas), an autonomous institution under the Kerala State Nirmithi Kendra (Kesnik), has embarked on a project to popularise the use of mud as a construction material in housing.

The project, which seeks to integrate traditional mud architecture with modern technology, was inaugurated on the Kesnik campus here on Wednesday. Minister for Housing Benoy Viswom laid the foundation stone for a mud house on the campus.

The walls of the house will be built using a mixture of cement and earth containing more than 20 per cent mud. This, according to engineers at Kesnik, will lend strength and stability to the building. The roof of the mud house will be made of iron, coconut wood and sheets with tiles on top. The floor will have terracotta tiles.

Up to 50 per cent of people all over the world dwell in mud houses.

“Mud is a good insulator and eco-friendly material. It is preferred because it results in cooler interiors. A mud house costs 50 per cent less than other houses,” says project coordinator, S.Radhakrishnan.

The model house on the Kesnik campus is expected to come up in two months. [Via]


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:41 PM, ,

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