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  • The Attraction of the Earth

    Adobe as an old-new building material

    Text: Bálint Botzheim
    Photos: Ökodome Projekt

    The use of adobe, as one of the oldest building materials, has declined significantly in the past decades. Due to its special properties, however, in recent years it has been receiving more and more attention in the construction industry. In folk architecture, it is best known for two types of application: adobe brick and rammed wall. If we examine it as a building material from the point of view of sustainability, its most important feature is that it can be completely recycled. In addition, if we make adobe bricks from it, the energy required for production is orders of far less than that of the burnt bricks used today. Adobe brick has recently become a commercially available, certified building material again. Its thermal conductivity factor is also similar to burnt brick. However, its compressive strength is much lower than that of fired brick, which is why hollow bricks with improved thermal insulation are rarely made from it. Construction industry players have been developing 3D adobe printing for quite a few years now. This technology makes it possible for the inner structure of the printed adobe wall to be hollow, so the thermal insulation capacity of the entire wall structure can be increased. In the article, we present the Hungarian Ökodome project’s experiments in this direction.