June 7 – 9, 9am — 5pm

Horno Building – 3-Day Intensive (In-Person)


Earthen ovens are inexpensive to build, fun to use, and provide a baking environment impossible to recreate in the kitchen. You will leave the class with the knowledge necessary to build your own oven, with materials you may already have in your yard. As an AIA-accredited class, architectural professionals will also have the opportunity to earn 10 HSW Learning Units.

Out of stock

Your next major appliance might be made out of mud, using materials you may already have in your yard.


24 hours (three 8-hour days)

Course Topics

  1. Local considerations and siting your earthen oven
  2. Soil and material selection, sourcing and testing
  3. Foundations and oven base design and materials
  4. Sizing your earthen oven
  5. Sand Form and oven domes
  6. Natural oven plasters and finishes
  7. Firing and baking in your earthen oven

Who is it for?

Beginners welcome! Horno Building – 3-Day Intensive bundles essential “100 to 200-level” topics from the Adobeisnotsoftware Adobe Curriculum into a format that is suitable for all levels. The class will be particularly interesting for building professionals and DIYers, and is also a great introduction to adobe construction and natural plasters covered in more depth in Adobeisnotsoftware’s other classes.

Course Learning Objectives

  • Learn how California regulations apply to wood-fired earthen ovens.
  • Learn about safety in earthen construction.
  • Learn about how earth has been used as a building material worldwide and in CA.
  • Learn about the environmental and health benefits of earth as a building material.
  • Learn how to locate, identify and test suitable soils for use in adobe construction.
  • Learn about clay minerals and aggregates and their role in the adobe mix.
  • Learn the proportions of a good adobe mix for your area and how to amend your soil if a suitable mix is not naturally present.
  • Learn correct horno sizing.
  • Learn about the necessity and types of foundations used for earthen ovens.
  • Learn the basics of adobe block laying.
  • Learn about the benefits and types of hearth insulation.
  • Learn about different types of oven floors.
  • Learn how to install a brick oven floor.
  • Learn different methods for forming the oven dome.
  • Learn how to create a sand form for the oven dome.
  • Learn how to install the different layers of the oven dome – including the thermal layer, insulation layer, and finish layers.
  • Learn how to finish your oven with different plaster types.
  • Learn to properly fire and maintain your oven for low temperature and high temperature baking.
  • Learn about cooking in earthen ovens.

Instruction Type

This is an in-person, hands-on class. Attendees will have the opportunity to get dirty and use tools and equipment typical of adobe construction. Due to the course format, enrollment will be limited to 8 individuals. Children under the age of 14 unfortunately cannot be accommodated except by prior arrangement. In the unlikely event of inclement weather, instruction will occur indoors.

Lodging & Food

These classes will take place at the Love Residence in Juniper Hills, California, just north of Angeles National Forest on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking the western Mojave Desert, a scenic 1.5 hour drive from Downtown Los Angeles.

Artist Stevie Love and her husband Bruce Love, an anthropologist and archaeologist, built their adobe home by hand using 14,500 bricks made from local soil. The class includes a tour of their home.

On-site camping is available free of charge. There are also plenty of hotels, motels, and Airbnbs within a 20-minute drive of the site. Lunch, snacks and beverages will be provided each day.


Ben Loescher

Ben Loescher is a founding Principal at Loescher Meachem Architects where his work focuses around reuse of existing buildings, high performance workplace design for the film, television and media industries, and innovation in earthen construction. Loescher provides education for earthen building through Adobeisnotsoftware, is currently Chair of the Earthbuilders’ Guild, the U.S. trade association for earthen construction and a board member for Adobe in Action, a New Mexico based non-profit focused on assisting individuals in creating affordable earthen housing.

Evaluation Methods

20-question written exam
Evaluation of earthen oven field work


This course  includes topics from the following Adobeisnotsoftware Curriculum modules:

  • 100 Intro to Earth as a Building Material (full module)
  • 120 Soil Selection and Testing (full module)
  • 122 Making Adobe Blocks (full module)
  • 124 Water Resistance Admixtures for Earthen Building Materials (aka Stabilization) (full module)
  • 180 Intro to Earthen Building Codes and California (select topics)
  • 230 Introduction to Foundations for Earthen Buildings – Concepts (select topics)
  • 232 Introduction to Earthen Wall Building – Concepts (select topics)
  • 242 Horno Building (full module)
  • 250 Introduction to Plasters for Earthen Buildings – Concepts (select topics)

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