MULTIPLE DATES

Introduction to Building with Adobe in California

This 4-week online course covers the basics of building with adobe (earthen blocks) in California.


The best way to learn the basics of adobe is to grab some local soil and make some blocks yourself. This course takes you through that process step by step – from locating and sourcing soil and aggregates to storing your dried adobe blocks for use in a future project (e.g. during our follow up “Building an Adobe Garden Wall in California” course).

What to Expect:

Each course module includes:

    • relevant reading material on the week’s topic
    • podcast interviews with adobe experts from the field
    • video overviews of the week’s project/plan drawings
    • step-by-step, hands-on project videos to get you working in the field
    • an integrated discussion forum which can be used for Q&A sessions between the instructor and course participants.

Course Topics:

Module 1

  1. Gain an understanding of how earth has been used as a building material worldwide and in CA.
  2. Gain an understanding of the life cycle and basic properties of earthen building materials.
  3. Learn how to locate and identify suitable soil samples (clay and aggregates) for use in adobe construction.
  4. Gain a basic understanding of clay minerals and aggregates and their role in the adobe mix.
  5. Learn how to perform and evaluate field soil tests to determine soil suitability.
  6. Learn the proportions of a good adobe mix for your area and how to amend/blend your soil if a suitable mix is not naturally present.
  7. Graded Hands-On Project #1 – Collect and Test a Local Soil Sample

Module 2

  1. Learn how to make a 1/2″ soil screen for prepping soils and aggregates for use in adobe construction.
  2. Learn how to make a 1-block (or 2-block) adobe form.
  3. Learn how to mix mud on a table/mud board.
  4. Learn how to mix mud in a wheelbarrow.
  5. Learn how to mix mud with a paddle mixer.
  6. Learn how to mix mud with a barrel mixer.
  7. Gain a basic understanding of stabilizers and their role in the adobe mix.
  8. Graded Hands-On Project #2 – Make a 1-Block Adobe Form and a 1/2″ Soil Screen

Module 3

  1. Learn how to mix and test a batch of mud on a tabletop for use in adobe block production.
  2. Learn how to make adobe blocks.
  3. Obtain an overview of the basic adobe block drying sequence.
  4. Obtain an overview of different methods of FIELD testing your adobe bricks for strength.
  5. Obtain an overview of different methods of LAB testing your adobe bricks for strength.
  6. Learn different ways of increasing adobe block production speed.
  7. Graded Hands-On Project #3 – Make Adobe Tests Blocks

Module 4

  1. Obtain an overview of different ways in which adobe blocks can be transported.
  2. Learn how to stack and safely store adobe blocks in preparation for an adobe wall build.
  3. Learn how to calculate the number of adobe blocks needed for a given project.
  4. Bonus Topic: Learn how to prep bagged hydrated lime for use in adobe block stabilization.
  5. Optional Post-Course Hands-On Projects – Turning & Drying + Strength Testing + Stacking & Storing Adobe Blocks
  6. Obtain an introduction to our follow-up course “Building an Adobe Garden Wall in California”.

Instructor

Kurt Gardella

Kurt holds a certificate in Adobe Construction from Northern New Mexico College. He is also certified as a Specialist for Building with Earth by the Dachverband Lehm (German Association for Building with Earth) and the Handwerkskammer Ulm (Ulm Chamber of Trades and Crafts).

Instructor

Ben Loescher

K. Ben Loescher is a licensed architect, founder of adobeisnotsoftware and principal of Loescher Meachem Architects, and holds certification in Adobe Construction from The Earthbuilders’ Guild.

Course Information:

Dates: November 1–28, 2021
Workload: 6-8 hours/week
Fee: $350


Register Here

Dates: March 7– April 3, 2022
Workload: 6-8 hours/week
Fee: $350


Register Here

Dates: October 3–30, 2022
Workload: 6-8 hours/week
Fee: $350


Register Here


Location

The class will be conducted entirely online.


Registration

The cost for the class is $350/person.
Register Here


Fine Print

Construction is inherently dangerous, and participants are expected to be partners in ensuring their own safety. You may be asked to sign an acknowledgement of this in advance of class participation.

Classes may not be held in the event of sufficient registrations to cover operating costs – adobeisnotsoftware reserves the right to cancel undersubscribed classes and events with at least 7 days prior notice.

For individuals who find they may not be able to attend a class or event for which they are registered, adobeisnotsoftware will offer a full refund if notified at least one week in advance. Cancellations within 7 days of the event are non-refundable.