Adobe brick making #2: Some adobe brick abodes

Blog entry by daltxguy posted 02-18-2009 01:01 PM 15520 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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As part of my adobe brick making series, I thought I might show some examples of what an adobe brick building might look like.

I guess most people might imagine that an adobe brick building must necessarily look like came out of the southwest US but not so. Mudbrick has been used for centuries and there are far more mudbrick homes than you probably imagine. Many of them look like any other building that you are used to seeing.

I’ve chosen to limit my pictures to homes built here in New Zealand and to buildings which use the kind of unstabilized (ie: no cement added) mud bricks shown in my previous post. The main reason I do this, is that New Zealand is hardly the typical dry desert like landscape that one might associate with these buildings. Here, it is quite windy, frequent rains and widely variable and quickly changing weather because of the prevalence of two oceans close by on either side of us and a mountain range down the center.

Our main weather systems come from the south, ie: antarctic and it usually means cool and wet and windy.

In addition the islands are basically two land masses mushing up against each other, creating the mountains and earthquake hot spots pretty much throughout the country. Many parts of the country are active volcanoes. If all these things are not a true test of a house made from mud, I’m not sure what else could be thrown in the mix. ( Ok, It’s true we do not typically have tornadoes ). Murchison, where we plan to build, was the epicenter of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in 1929 which was felt along the entire length of the country. One of the things you will not see in our buildings are masonry chimneys because that’s what caused most of the injuries and deaths back then.

So here are a few pictures of existing buildings. Note: none of these are mine and none of these are the design which I plan to build. That is still a work in progress!

This is Peter Olorenshaw’s house in Nelson, an architect and engineer, about 1 1/2 hours NE of where we plan to build. Note the use of passive solar heating, solar hot water heating and PV panels. Also he has trombe walls, which are the things which look like a tinted windows -which are actually solar panels built into the wall and the bricks absorb the heat directly.

Inside view:

A local company called SolidEarth, which specializes in producing bricks, producing adobe houses and mud plastering has many more pictures of their projects, which only use un-stabilized earth bricks like the ones I am making. You can see their portfolio of projects here

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posted 02-18-2009 01:45 PM

i never would have guessed this was a mud block home . looks very nice . can you buy the brick pre made as well ?

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posted 02-18-2009 05:54 PM

Thanks so much for the pictures. As you said, you think of mission buildings when you consider adobe.

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posted 02-21-2009 04:48 PM

Really interesting style and look to this house.Thanks for the post.

-- Dustygirl Hastings,Ont. Life is too short to sit around doing nothing

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31 posts in 5365 days

posted 02-21-2009 11:25 PM

The actual look of this house is pretty much normal for this part of the world, at least outside the cities in either New Zealand or Australia. The look on the inside, however, is a different story and the brick and wood brings a lot of character. Peter’s use of renewable energy is probably exemplary. Our electricity runs us nearly 30c/kwh now with the irony being that 80% of the generation in NZ is already from renewables ( this is not a condemnation of renewables – but rather of privatization and monopolies of large scale generation). So, renewables are becoming more commonplace.

MRTRIM, Yes, in fact, you can buy the bricks premade. See Solidearth which is local to us. I think they run about $4.40/brick. You would need about 3-4000 bricks for a single story house of average size. You can also get the mud premixed for the mortar. If you make the bricks yourself, a 2 person team can produce about 100 bricks/day – perhaps more as organization improves – so you can see it’s more of an investment in time ( and space) vs money. Keep in mind though, with mud bricks, once you get the walls up, the wall is pretty much done inside and out – no studs, no drywall, no taping, sanding, painting etc.

Solidearth has plenty more pictures of adobe houses here

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posted 02-22-2009 05:24 PM

Loved the pictures.So different from the homes around here.

-- Dustygirl Hastings,Ont. Life is too short to sit around doing nothing

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posted 02-06-2019 06:18 AM

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