May 3 – 30, 2021

Introduction to Building with Adobe in California

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

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
  • The course also contains an integrated discussion forum which can be used for Q&A sessions between the instructor and course participants.

Course Topics:

  • Intro to the History of Adobe Construction in CA
  • Intro to Soil Selection
  • Intro to Soil Testing
  • Intro to Adobe Stabilizers
  • Deciding on a Block Size
  • Making Adobe Blocks
  • Drying Adobe Blocks
  • Field Testing of Adobe Blocks for Strength and Water Resistance
  • Transporting Adobe Blocks
  • Storing Adobe Blocks for use in a Future Project
  • Adobe Block & Mortar Amount Estimating

Course Learning Activities:

  • Various PDF reading assignments and plan drawings on all course topics
  • Podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on the history of adobe in California with info on interesting structures to visit
  • Podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on sourcing and testing clay-rich soils and aggregates for use in adobe block production
  • Podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on choosing an adobe block size and making your own adobe blocks
  • Podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on simple field tests for testing the strength and water resistance of adobe blocks
  • Podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on properly drying, transporting and storing adobe blocks
  • Bonus podcast interview with architect Ben Loescher on our follow up “Building an Adobe Garden Wall in California” course
  • Video on soil and aggregate selection for adobe blocks
  • Video on soil testing for adobe blocks
  • Video on making a soil screen for adobe projects
  • Video on making a 2-brick adobe form
  • Video on possible stabilizers (water-resistance enhancers) in adobe blocks
  • Video on mixing mortar and making adobe test blocks
  • Video on testing adobe blocks for strength and water resistance
  • Video on storing and protecting adobe blocks for use in a future project
  • Video on basics of adobe garden wall construction

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact Ben by email at mud[at] or by phone at (760) 278-1134.


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).


Ben Loescher

K. Ben Loescher is a licensed architect, founder of adobeisnotsoftware and principal of Loescher Meachem Architects.

Course Information:

Format: Online (4 Weeks)
Dates: May 3 – 30, 2021
Workload: 6-8 hours/week
Fee: $350

Register Here


The class will be conducted entirely online.


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.