FACTOID # 4: Just 1% of the houses in Nevada were built before 1939.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
People who viewed "Adobe" also viewed:


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Adobe
Renewal of the surface coating of an adobe wall in Chamisal, New Mexico
Renewal of the surface coating of an adobe wall in Chamisal, New Mexico

Adobe is a natural building material composed of sand, sandy clay and straw or other organic materials, which is shaped into bricks using wooden frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. Adobe structures are extremely durable and account for the oldest extant buildings on the planet. Adobe buildings also offer significant advantages in hot, dry climates; they remain cooler as adobe stores and releases heat very slowly. Adobe work Source: National Park Service Caption: Traditionally, adobe surface coatings that protected the fragile adobe building fabric were renewed every few years. ... Natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. ... Patterns in the sand Sand is a granular material made up of fine rock particles. ... The Gay Head cliffs in Marthas Vineyard are made almost entirely of clay. ... Bales of straw bundles of rice straw Pile of straw bales, sheltered under a tarpaulin Straw is an agricultural byproduct, the dry stalk of a cereal plant, after the nutrient grain or seed has been removed. ... Cob building dated 1539 in Devon, England. ... Mudbrick was used for the outer contruction of Sumerian ziggurats — some of the worlds largest and oldest constructions. ...

Buildings made of sun-dried earth are common in the Middle East, North Africa, and in Spain (usually in the Mudéjar style), but adobe had been in use by indigenous peoples of the Americas in the Southwestern United States, Mesoamerica, and the Andean region of South America for several thousand years, although often substantial amounts of stone are used in the walls of Pueblo buildings. This method of brickmaking was imported to Spain in the 16th century by Spaniards who had traveled to Mexico and Peru. Mudéjar is the name given to the Moors who remained in Spain after the Christian reconquista but were not converted to Christianity, and to a vernacular style of Spanish architecture and decoration, particularly of Aragon and Castile, of 12th and 16th centuries, strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship...

Detail of Adobe kilns in Arizona

A distinction is sometimes made between the smaller adobes, which are about the size of ordinary baked bricks, and the larger adobines, some of which are as much as from one to two yards long. Adobe Brick Kilns (Ruins), Tucson, Pima County, AZ; Detail of Adobe Brickwork at arched openings, looking west; John P. ONeill, Photographer March 3, 1937; HABS # 10-TUCSO,7-2; This image is from HABS/HAER, the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record collection at the Library of... Adobe Brick Kilns (Ruins), Tucson, Pima County, AZ; Detail of Adobe Brickwork at arched openings, looking west; John P. ONeill, Photographer March 3, 1937; HABS # 10-TUCSO,7-2; This image is from HABS/HAER, the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record collection at the Library of...

The word Adobe ([əˈdəʊbiː] or [əˈdoʊbi]) has come down to us over some 4000 years with astonishingly little change in either pronunciation or meaning: the word can be traced from the Middle Egyptian (c. 2000 BC) word dj-b-t "mud [i.e., sun-dried] brick." As Middle Egyptian evolved into Late Egyptian, Demotic, and finally Coptic (c. 600 BC), dj-b-t became tobe "[mud] brick." This in turn evolved into Arabic at-tub (al "the" + tub "brick") "[mud] brick," which was assimilated into Old Spanish as adobe [aˈdobe], still with the meaning "mud brick." English borrowed the word from Spanish in the early 18th century.

In more modern usage, the term "adobe" has come to mean a style of architecture that is popular in the desert climates of North America, especially in New Mexico. (Compare with stucco). This article is about arid terrain. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... Capital Santa Fe Largest city Albuquerque Area  Ranked 5th  - Total 121,665 sq mi (315,194 km²)  - Width 342 miles (550 km)  - Length 370 miles (595 km)  - % water 0. ... Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water which is applied wet, and hardens when it dries. ...


Composition of adobe

An adobe brick is made of clay mixed with water and an organic material such as straw or animal dung. The soil composition typically contains clay and sand. Straw is useful in binding the brick together and allowing the brick to dry evenly[citation needed]. Dung offers the same advantage and is also added to repel insects. The mixture is roughly half sand (50%), one-third clay (35%), and one-sixth straw (15%). The Gay Head cliffs in Marthas Vineyard are made almost entirely of clay. ... Patterns in the sand Sand is a granular material made up of fine rock particles. ...

Adobe bricks

Bricks are made in an open frame; 25 cm (10 inches) by 36 cm (14 inches) is a reasonable size, but any convenient size is acceptable. The mixture is molded by the frame, and then the frame is removed quickly. After drying a few hours, the bricks are turned on edge to finish drying. Slow drying (shaded) avoids cracking.

The same mixture to make bricks, less the straw, is used for mortar and often for plaster on interior and exterior walls. Some ancient cultures used lime-based cement for the plaster to protect against rain damage.

The brick’s thickness is preferred partially due to its thermal capabilities (that is, adobe’s capacity to retain heat and cool temperature), and partially due to the stability of a thicker brick versus a more standard size brick. Depending on the form that the mixture is pressed into, adobe can encompass nearly any shape or size, provided drying time is even and the mixture is including of any reinforcement should the brick be too large. Reinforcement can include anything from manure, to straw, to cement, to rebar and wooden posts. Experience has shown that straw, cement, or manure added to a standard adobe mixture can all produce a strong brick to use in construction. A general testing is done on the soil content first. To do so, a sample of the soil is mixed into a clear container with some water, creating an almost completely saturated liquid. After the jar is sealed the test is performed by shaking the container vigorously for at least one minute. Allow the container to sit on a flat surface until the soil sediment has either collected on the bottom or remained a blended liquid. If the sediment collects on the bottom, that indicates there is a high clay content and is good for adobe. If the mixture remains a liquid, then there is little clay in the soil and using it would yield weak bricks. In the most general sense of the word, cement is a binder, a substance which sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. ... Rebar is common steel reinforcing bar, an important component of reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures. ...

The largest structure ever made from adobe (bricks) was the Bam Citadel, which suffered serious damage (up to 80%) by an earthquake on December 26, 2003. Other large adobe structures are the Huaca del Sol in Peru, built using 100 million signed bricks, the ciudellas of Chan Chan and Tambo Colorado, both also in Peru. The Arg-é Bam (ارگ بم in Persian, Bam citadel) was the largest adobe building in the world, located in Bam, a city in the Kerman province of southeastern Iran. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 361st in leap years. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Huaca del Sol as seen from the southeast, with the Moche River delta beyond and city ruins in the foreground. ... Overview of ruins of the Tschudi Complex, Chan Chan The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site located in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, just north of Trujillo. ... Tambo Colorado remains of original colours on adobe walls Tambo Colorado overview Tambo Colorado is a well-preserved Inca adobe site on the coast of Peru. ...

Thermal properties

An adobe wall can serve as a significant heat reservoir. A south-facing (in the Northern Hemisphere) adobe wall may be left uninsulated to moderate heating and cooling. Ideally, it should be thick enough to remain cool on the inside during the heat of the day but thin enough to transfer heat through the wall during the evening. The exterior of such a wall can be covered with glass to increase heat collection. In a passive solar home, such a wall is called a Trombe wall. Adobe has a relatively dense thermal mass; therefore this type of construction is most useful in tropical climates. In temperate climates it is less effective to heat a structure this way due to heat leaching by the ground and walls. Passive solar energy refers to collection systems that do not use other forms of energy to increase the effectiveness of the collection system. ... A Trombe wall is a sun-facing wall built from material that can act as a thermal mass such as stone, concrete, adobe or water tanks combined with an air space, insulated glazing and vents to form a large solar thermal collector. ...

Adobe Wall Construction

When building an adobe structure, the ground should be compressed because the weight of adobe bricks is significantly greater than a frame house and may cause cracking in the wall. The footing is dug and compressed once again. Footing depth depends on region of site and it's ground frost level. The footing and stem wall are commonly 24" and 14", much larger than a frame house because of the weight of the walls. Adobe bricks are laid by course. Each [course] is laid the whole length of the wall, overlapping at the corners on a layer of adobe mortar. Adobe walls usually never rise above 2 stories because they're load bearing and have low structural strength. When putting in window and door openings, a [lintel] is placed on top of the opening to support the bricks above. With in the last courses of brick, bond beams are laid across the top of the bricks to provide a horizontal bearing plate for the roof to distribute the weight more evenly along the wall. To protect the interior and exterior adobe wall, finishes can be applied, such as mud plaster, whitewash or stucco. These finishes protect the adobe wall from water damage but are high maintenance in that they need to be reapplied periodically, or the adobe walls can be finished with other nontraditional plasters that provide longer protection.

Adobe roof

The traditional adobe roof has been generally constructed using a mixture of soil/clay, water, sand, and other organic materials that were at hand. The mixture was then formed and pressed into specially constructed wood forms to promise rows of dried, earth bricks that would then be laid across a support structure of wood and plastered into place with more adobe. To gain a deeper understanding of adobe, one would only have to look over to a cob building for inspiration. Cob, which is a close cousin to adobe, contains proportioned amounts of soil, clay, water, manure, and straw. This fusion is blended, but not separated into forms like adobe. Cob is then spread and piled around a frame and allowed to air dry for several months before habitation. Adobe, then, can be described as dried bricks of cob, stacked and mortared together with more adobe mixture to create a thick wall and/or roof. Cob building dated 1539 in Devon, England. ...

Roof Materials

Depending on the materials at hand, a roof can be assembled using cut lengths of wood or metal to create a frame work to begin the layering of adobe bricks. Also depending on the thickness of the adobe bricks, the frame work has been performed using a steel framing and a layering of a metal fencing or wiring over the framework to allow an even load of pressure as masses of adobe are spread across the metal fencing like cob and allowed to air dry accordingly. This method was demonstrated with an adobe blend heavily impregnated with cement to allow even drying and to prevent any major cracking.

Traditional Adobe Roof

More traditional adobe roofs were often flatter than the familiar steeped roof as the native climate yielded more sun and heat than mass amounts of snow or rain that would find use in precipitous roofs. Moisture, however, is often foe to a composite of mud and organic matter, so the introduction of cement is often more common to help ward off any undue water damage. It is at this turn that sense is required before the construction of any adobe is begun, be sure that the location for such a structure is similar to the climate it naturally comes from, that is, a hot, arid climate would suit adobe well. Cool and moist climates would do well with moisture precautions planned out.

Raising a traditional Adobe Roof

To raise a flattened adobe roof, beams of wood or metal should be assembled and span the extent of the building. The ends of the beams should then be fixed to the tops of the walls using the builder’s preferred choice of attachments. Taking into account the material the beams and walls are made from, choosing the attachments may prove difficult. In combination to the bricks and adobe mortar that are laid across the beams creates an even load-bearing pressure that can last for many years depending on attrition. Once the beams are laid across the building, it is then time to begin the placing of adobe bricks to create the roof. An adobe roof is often laid with bricks slightly larger in width to ensure a larger expanse is covered and when placing the bricks onto the beams. This wider shape also provides the future homeowner with thermal protection enough to stabilize an even temperature through out the year. Following each individual brick should be a layer of adobe mortar, recommended to be at least an inch thick to make certain there is ample strength between the brick’s edges and also to provide a relative moisture barrier during the seasons where the arid climate does produce rain.


Adobe roofs can be inherently fire-proof, an attribute well received when the fireplace is kept lit during the cold nights, depending on the materials used. This feature leads the homeowner and builders to begin thinking about the installation of a chimney, a feat regarded as a necessity in any adobe building. The construction of the chimney can also greatly influence the construction of the roof supports, creating an extra need for care in choosing the right materials. An adobe chimney can be made from simple adobe bricks and stacked in similar fashion as the surrounding walls. Basically outline the location and parameter of the hearth, minding the safety elements characterized to a fireplace, and begin to stack and mortar the walls with pre-made adobe bricks, cut to size.

Around the world

See also

The Great Mosques signature trio of minarets overlooks the central market of Djenné. The Great Mosque of Djenné is the largest mud brick building in the world and is considered by many architects to be the greatest achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, albeit with definite Islamic influences. ... Cob building dated 1539 in Devon, England. ... Hassan Fathy (Arabic: حسن فتحى) (1989-1899) was a noted Egyptian architect who pioneered appropriate technology for building in Egypt, especially by working to re-establish the use of mud brick (or adobe). ... Mudbrick was used for the outer contruction of Sumerian ziggurats — some of the worlds largest and oldest constructions. ... Rammed Earth is an old building material that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek low-impact building materials and natural building methods. ... Super Adobe is a form of Earthbag Construction that was developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili. ... Compressed Earth Block often referred to simply as CEB, differs from rammed earth in that there is no formwork into which earth is poured and tamped down. ...

External links

  • The Natural Building Network - find natural builders, teachers and resources.
  • Earth Architecture - A website whose focus is contemporary issues in earth architecture.
  • Building With Awareness - A detailed how-to DVD video that shows adobe wall construction and their use as thermal mass walls
  • Cal-Earth (The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) has developed a patented system called Superadobe, in which bags filled with stabilized earth are layered with strands of barbed wire to form a structure strong enough to withstand earthquakes, fire and flood.
  • '"Kleiwerks'"- International organization recognized for their unique contribution to modern earthen and natural building techniques throughout the world, their focus is on education through hands on experience.
  • EARTHA : Earth Architecture and Conservation in East Anglia- British organisation that focuses on the proper maintenance and conservation of earth buildings in a region of the UK that has a long history of building with mud. Very experienced experts are contactable and there are regular demonstrations in the area.
  • Kerpic.org - A website on earthen architecture researches stabilized with gypsum.

  Results from FactBites:
Adobe Systems - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1170 words)
Adobe has continued to be a strong presence in the fonts market: in 1996, the company, in combination with Microsoft, announced the OpenType font format, and in 2003 Adobe completed the conversion of its library of Type 1 fonts to OpenType.
Although sales of Adobe Acrobat, which generates PDF files, were slow to start in the mid-1990s, Adobe continued to develop the product, perceiving its long-term potential for revenues.
Adobe's reputation suffered in the eyes of some free software advocates when the FBI arrested Dmitry Sklyarov in 2001 for what Adobe claimed was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  More results at FactBites »



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m