Most people think of Santa Fe New Mexico or Latin America when the word adobe is mentioned; however, adobe architecture is a world-wide phenomenon and has been for thousands of years. Despite building structures form mud bricks having a long tradition in Latin America and Southern Europe, the countries of the Middle East also have a long and fascinating history of building all sorts of dwellings from mud brick construction techniques.
Adobe is a building style that works rather well for desert climates; hence, its long-lasting popularity in Iran. Like all earthen building techniques, structures made from adobe are wonderful at maintaining steady interior temperatures despite fluctuations in outside temperatures over a 24 hour period of time. Structures made from adobe do not have very good insulative properties when compared to other building materials such as straw bales; however, mud brick buildings do have excellent heat and cold retention capabilities, which also known as thermal efficiency ratings. Earthen building methods offer great thermal storage capacities which makes them a great building choice in desert climates that have high day time temperatures and cold nights. An adobe building’s ability to store heat from hot desert days and then radiate this heat from its walls during cool desert nights also allows thick walls made from adobe to store and then radiate cool temperature from the night hours into the interior of the building during the following hot day.
Aside from the practical energy saving advantages that adobe architecture offers in desert climates, the people of Iran have found ways to turn mud bricks into a medium of artistic expression. The photos in this article reflect the amazing works of art that builders can render with a little work and a few mud bricks. The following article was discovered on greenhomebuilding.com
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Traditional Adobe in Iran by Mostafa Arefhaghi
Iran is an ancient country where the use of adobe and mud brick techniques have been common for a very long time. Below are some photo’s showing adobe and mud brick structures from historic Iranian architecture.
This is known as Khoh-e khawje.
Valuable and diverse ancient relics from the Paleolithic period to the modern time have been spread out in abundance all over the country, some of which have been registered in the list of the World Heritage, and some are waiting to be registered. These places are exposed to different natural hazards such as overflowing of the rivers and seasonal floods, increasing sea level, destructive and high speed seasonal winds, running sand, earthquakes, etc. The destruction of the historic citadel of Bam by earthquake in 2004 is, so far, the most obvious and well-known example of such huge damage to Iranian historical sites.
Above is “Ghale Nouv,” an earthen village in Sistan of Iran. This village’s name means “New Castle.”
Below are pictures of the “Jalgh Tomb” in Saravan, which was my earth building conservation and preservation project. My research is about Adobe and Mud brick structures in Iranian vernacular architectural.
SEEB Castle (below) is built with 5 floors
KANT Castle (below) is built with 4 floors
The project for the restoration and reconstruction at SEKOOHE adobe castle in 2008 is shown in the following photos. In the flat plains of Sistan are gradual and regular deposits of a clay layer with a uniform and accurate aggregation. This bed is the best place to find clay for adobe or adobe structures. 2 to 2.5 times the compressive strength and shear strength are possible with proper and accurate aggregation. This type of adobe has increased wear resistance against abrasive agents such as wind. Even more quality adobe can be created when adding straw or cow manure to the mud.