Cal-Earth

Feature

Friday, November 14, 2008

In Hesperia, California, architect Nader Khalili created a housing movement for the future. Khalili, who passed away in March, prototyped his dome-shaped adobes on a commission from NASA for a lunar colony. Then he realized that his “superadobes” could take root on Earth. Studio 360’s Eric Molinsky visited Cal-Earth with some friends who dream of living in giant igloos made of dirt.

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Contributors:

Eric Molinsky

Comments [15]

bklynebeth from Brooklyn, New York

The goal of being mortgage-free is an excellent one. It's also possible for just about any homeowner. Buy a modest home - only what you need for your basic space. Pay extra on your mortgage every month and you'll shave years off. If it's the only debt you have, forego unnecessary luxuries and excess consumer goods and whittle it down even more. It's the most amazingly secure feeling you'll ever have. Suddenly, you're not a slave to the monthly payment and your money and maybe even the decision about what you do for work are your own.

Feb. 10 2011 08:37 AM
Art B from San Antonio, TX

I don't think this is the wave of the near future, but dwellings of this design must be somewhere in our future if we are to survive as a species. We desperately need to move from a "growth" based paradigm to one based on sustainability.

Nov. 20 2008 10:01 AM
Marlo from LagunaBeach Ca

I visited CalEarth for the NaderKahlili Memorial earlier this year.If you are able, it is well worth the visit to see the variety of structures.Please also see Kahlilis' book "Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture",to get an idea of his background in Iran,and that regions'use of humble materials to achieve brilliant solutions to sustainable living in a harsh envoirnment.

Nov. 16 2008 10:12 PM
Bonnie Avery from Louisville, KY

I would love to live in a dome that stays cool in the summer, in particular. I also love the idea of saving trees, as our planet sees more and more desertification, which is, of course, adding significantly to a warming planet.
But, how to avoid sprawl? Any vertical dome ideas?

Nov. 16 2008 09:25 PM
Bob Kearney from Westchester County, NY

Absolutely. To build environmentally from the start, rather than trying to retro-fit an existing house makes great sense to me (and to my environmentally astute 13-year old daughter who loves the domes). We have plans to use geothermal and photovoltaic panels to reduce energy use, but these are simply filling holes in the dike. We really should be using a new dike design.

Nov. 16 2008 02:18 PM
Melissa Fafarman from El Sobrante, CA 94803

Yes! I would love to live in a well-designed adobe house, particularly one designed with those lovely curves and domes. This is just what my husband and I daydreamed of creating when we were in our idealistic 20s forty years ago. I'd very much like to tour what has been put up so far.

Nov. 16 2008 12:43 AM
Mike Schmidt from Hays KS

Domes have always been aneco friendly structure and more needs to be done to educate the public so the resistance from the cities who adapt and enforce building codes is not so archaic.

Nov. 15 2008 04:55 PM
Victor Novotny from Francestown, N.H.

I've often wondered at how much and how long people spend their lives working just so they can own their own home. If this design and technology proves to be wokable and practical throughout this country, imagine how much richer we would be as a nation. Instead of working your whole life to pay off a mortgage, the money you make could be yours instead of the bank's. I believe many people, including myself, would be very open to the idea of living in a super adobe. Still, I would like to know more about it. Would this work in colder, wetter climates such as New hampshire? How would plumbing and electrical be run in such a house? Could it meet code compliance in my state? More info please !

Nov. 15 2008 03:24 PM
Pam Katz from Portsmouth, NH

I am looking at the photo of the beautiful little dome house and I am in LOVE!!!!! Is it possible to live in a house like this in cold, snowy New Hampshire????
More info, please.
Wow!

Nov. 15 2008 02:36 PM
alexander from frederikcsburg, VA

It is very interesting. They may have said it but what was it modeled on? I can't imagine it in an urban enviroment.

Nov. 15 2008 01:37 PM
JEAN KUKUCKA from va

WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL I VISITED MY FATHERS SISTER. IT WAS A BIG DOME INSIDE AND REMINDED ME IF AN IGLOO. I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN BEING THERE, I LOVED IT. WHY ARE WE STILL BUILDING THINGS THAT DO HARM TO OUR ENVIORMENT. YES IS MY ANSWER

Nov. 15 2008 01:32 PM
Peter from Manhattan

Intriguing idea, but it appears that those superadobes will only work in a low-density, low-occupancy setting. It would clearly be an improvement if we started building igloos instead of McMansions, but the underlying structural/ecological problem would remain: suburban sprawl.

I'll be impressed when they build a six-story superadobe within walking distance of an A-train stop.

Nov. 15 2008 12:47 PM
writerslife from Moneta, VA

I was fascinated by your story and forwarded it to both of my children...my son, who works for the government and has his degree in Envirnomental Studies---and to my daughter, now with the Peace Corps in Africa. I believe both can be inspired and apply the principles of your story in their own ways.

Thank you for sharing this little-known story.
The photos you posted show a beautiful yet relevant application of ages-old adobe technology.

Nov. 15 2008 11:48 AM
Maria Menghraj from New York

I would love to live in the earth friendly adobe home!
Our ancestors got it right building shelters in harmony with dear Mother Earth. Count me in!

Nov. 15 2008 10:49 AM
Michael Murray from Homer, Alaska

The Eco-Dome design and materials are quite fascinating and I assume are able to withstand earthquakes based on their approval in Californian construction codes. Most appear to have been built in drier and warmer climates. I was curious about how they would hold up and function in areas such as Alaska where it is often colder and in some areas damp.

I restored an old abandoned school (60's vintage) and super insulated it with blown in recycled newspaper that was processed close by (Anchorage)using newspaper from the area recycling centers. I have been able to keep it comfortable with less fuel even though it is fairly large (living area is about 2400 sq. ft.) I also recycle dish water for flushing and we try to conserve where we can.

As far as living in an eco-dome - I think it would be great! I think I would especially lean that way if I were in a desert environment.
Any problems with visiting insects/reptiles? Just curious.

Keep up the great work with Studio 360. I get it on Thursday mornings from 9-10 on KBBI Homer.

Nov. 15 2008 12:05 AM

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