Sunday May 5, 12pm — 4pm

Making Adobe – 1/2-Day Intensive (In-Person)


This class is a condensed introduction to adobe block and construction taught in a single pleasant afternoon in Pioneertown, California. As an AIA-accredited class, architectural professionals will also have the opportunity to earn 2 HSW Learning Units.

7 in stock

This introduction is suitable for DIYers, natural building enthusiasts, adobe homeowners, aspiring builders, and the adobe curious.


4 hours (1/2 day)

Course Topics

  1. Soil Selection and Testing
  2. Water Resistance and Stabilization
  3. Adobe Forms
  4. Making Adobe Blocks
  5. Gravel Garden Wall Foundations
  6. Adobe Brick Laying Techniques

Who is it for?

Making Adobe – Half-Day is suitable for all levels, from beginners to building professionals, DIYers, natural building enthusiasts, adobe homeowners, aspiring owner builders, and the adobe curious.

Course Learning Objectives

  • 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 which building codes apply to earthen construction.
  • 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 about the use of stabilizers for improved water resistance, including asphalt emulsion, portland cement, and lime
  • Learn how to mix mud in a wheelbarrow.
  • Learn how to make adobe blocks.
  • Learn the basic adobe block drying and storing sequence.
  • Learn different methods of field testing your adobe blocks for strength.
  • Learn to build a basic gravel garden wall foundation
  • Learn techniques for laying adobe blocks to build a wall
  • Learn techniques for properly applying mortar and tooling mortar joints

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.


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


This course  includes topics from the following Adobeisnotsoftware Curriculum modules:

  • 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)

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