Adobe construction has always fascinated us here at Casas del Oso Luxury homes. Most of the architectural styles that we design & build have their roots in adobe construction. It is one of the original building materials used all over the world. We have built homes in the past that have adobe details, fireplaces, and accent walls. Now we are planning to integrate more adobe into our homes.
Originally adobe was basically dirt that contained clay & a little straw moistened with water shaped into blocks and allowed to dry in the sun. These blocks were susceptible to water erosion. Today’s adobe brick contain stabilizing agents which make them stronger & waterproof.
A truly “green” material, adobe bricks are fireproof, durable yet biodegradable and non-toxic building material. They provide sufficient thermal mass to buildings to ensure excellent thermal performance. Other benefits include low sound transmission levels through walls and a general feeling of solidity.
Last week we visited Clay Mine Adobe (www.claymineadobe.com) outside Tucson. They are one of only a handful of adobe manufacturers in Arizona and are the largest commercial facility in the United States producing cement stabilized mud adobe. Currently they are in the process of relocating their manufacturing facility to a new location. While not fully set up yet they are able to manufacture.
Making adobe is an art. Originally mixed by hand and shoveled into wooden forms. The forms were leveled with a straight edge, removed & reused. The adobe blocks were allowed to dry in the sun. Today’s mechanized operations use a pugmill mixer with a adobe laydown machine and can produce 5000 to 7000 blocks a day. This mixer allows the operators to fine tune the adobe components & colors. Different molds of various sizes & shapes can be used.
Concerned about the durability of adobe? Consider this; Parts of the Great Wall of China were built with adobe.