Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nader Khalili Creates Homes from Natural Elements

Nader Khalili is looking to tradition for clues on how to produce ecologically friendly buildings. He is following what many peoples of pre-industrial age used, materials that were readily available, local, and free.
"To me it's obvious to use earth as a building block," says Khalili in an interview with AFP, "I don't consider that I have invented anything at all. All the Mediterranean civilizations used earth or natural materials in their architecture."
Nader Khalili came to th US in 1971, bringing with him ideas about architecture from his homeland of Iran. Traditionally in the Middle East, primitive houses were not only made of the abundant materials of the earth, but they were shaped differently. They used a shape from nature- the sphere. Like an egg that is strong when pressure is applied in equal amounts over its surface, the simple properties of physics in a dome shaped structure increase its strength. In our modern day of steel and braces, timber in mass production we began making our homes like cookie cutter productions. Khalili has shown us that domes lack the inherent flaws of cubes, making them resistant to wind, rains, and even earthquakes.
Its a simple concept, to fill bags with earth, stack them, and cover them with clay. The dome is fired, and the finishing touches put in. Khalili teaches these principles at CalEarth Institute in California. His students are able to build a beautiful home built for less than $4,000, safe to live in and good for the environment. They use natural light, passive heating and cooling, and are easy to build.
I learned about Khalil a few years ago and bought his book to check out how he does it. Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture turned out to be a wonderfully comprehensive manual on how to build an earth dome, so detailed he even included instructions on how to make clay temperature gages for the firing process.
Khalil's latest project is to build domes on the moon for NASA.

for the original article in Yahoo News

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