SuperAdobe Project in Persian Gulf: Presence in Hormuz (Iran)

We found out about this amazing project through instagram. They were nominated for Best Project of the Year by ArchDaily Magazine in 2017. This is a cafe and tourist information center on Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf of Iran. 

Client: Ehsan Rasulof
Architects: Zav Architects
Construction: Amir Tehrani
Location: Hormuz Island, Persian Gulf
Instagram: @rongcenter

JORDAN TIMES-Classrooms built by refugees for refugees win world architecture award

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“In their situation, refugees need simple, fast, low cost and sustainable solutions, which is what we are providing with these classrooms,” di Marco told The Jordan Times, referring to the SuperAdobe technique used in the project.

SuperAdobe is a form of earth bag architecture developed by architect and CalEarth founder Nader Khalili. Using long sandbags, barbed wire, on-site earth and a few simple tools, the revolutionary building system has been published by NASA and endorsed by the United Nations, according to online sources.

Link to Arch Daily 2018 Building of the Year Awards

CalEarth in VOGUE!

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“Forced displacement from war or persecution is one of humanity’s great challenges in the 21st century,” says Kathryn Mahoney, Senior Communications Officer for the UN’s refugee agency. “It’s not about to go away any time soon and those who are affected desperately need our help..."READ MORE

Going back to the basics- Earth Architecture in Kenya


Daily Nation, February 8, 2018 (Kenya)

“The US and South America have re-energised the use of earth as an architectural building component through earthbag housing technology. Architect Nader Khalili of the California Institute of Earth Architecture (CalEarth Institute) has dedicated a lot of resources to re-introducing earthbag houses to the US and the rest of the world..." 

Playground in Zanzibar

CalEarth Alumni Quintin Christian is hard at work with another amazing project. This time it is a playground in Fumba Town Eco City in Zanzibar, Tanzania. 

Christian and his team trained people from the local community in Zanzibar, including a large group of women. 

The playground consists of a barazza for parents to relax while they watch their children (it will eventually be covered with shading), in front of that is a fish pond and the central area is a sandpit (they are planting a large tree there for shade).  It also has a kiosk for drinks and snacks and the domes are play areas that shelter children from the harsh sun and have loads of holes they can climb in for fun.

Christian worked together with @ecodomesafrica @frankogreen and @permaculture_zanzibar on this project and had the president of Tanzania visit the project and were very impressed with the technology. 

Domes in Madagascar!

Thanks to the magic of the internet and social media we recently discovered this amazing Eco Dome in Madagascar. We posted it on instagram and the builder found us and sent us more photos and details about the project. Here are some highlights: 

2012: French architect Rebecca Pelayo hears about the superadobe building technology

2013: Pelayo trains with one of Nader Khalili's former students, Paulina Wojciechowska, in the UK and then created the Genius Ecodomus Association 

2014: Pelayo returns to her motherland of Madagascar and organizes a workshop with 10 volunteers, building the domes in just 30 days. The two domes are 16.5 feet and 14 feet in diameter, for a total area of 375 sq. ft.

2015-2017: 2 years of strong rainy seasons, earthquakes, ant attacks, consecutive tests of coating based on banana juice, zebu dung ... before finding the ideal final plastering, a mixture of hydraulic lime and iron oxide.

2017: Today Pelayo is working on additional projects in Mauritania and Madagascar. We will provide updates when they are available. According to Pelayo, "the ecodome welcomes yogi groups, artists, travelers from all horizon, and sometimes bees."

Superadobe Online Workshop Series

Hello CalEarth friends! We have so much exciting news to share.

After many months of work we are thrilled to announce our Superadobe Online Workshop Series. For those looking for hands-on demonstrations and lectures, this 12-part video series includes nearly 7 hours of classes. This package includes the Intro to Superadobe Course, the Plasters & Finishes Course (also sold individually) along with 7 additional lessons and 3 plasters demonstration videos not available for individual purchase. Click to read more and download or stream the class instantly from your computer or mobile device. 

Cal-Earth at the MoMA in New York

Last month I had a surreal experience. I was invited to the opening night of a new exhibit at the MoMA in NYC entitled "Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter" which featured powerful images of refugees and refugee camps. To see my fathers work up there on the wall of solutions for shelter was truly an honor. These past 8 years running Cal-Earth Institute with my brother Dastan Khalili and our team has been challenging in so many ways, but this moment was a reminder that our father's vision to create solutions for shelter is immensely important and I am honored to carry that vision forward. 

-Sheefteh Khalili

CalEarth part of upcoming MoMA exhibit in New York-- Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter


NEW YORK, May 5, 2016—The ways in which architecture and design have addressed contemporary notions of shelter, as seen through migration and global refugee emergencies, will be explored in the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter, on view at The Museum of Modern Art from October 1, 2016, to January 22, 2017. Bringing together works by architects, designers, and artists in a range of mediums and scales that respond to the complex circumstances brought about by forced displacement, the exhibition focuses on conditions that disrupt conventional images of the built environment as an arbiter of modernity and globalization. The prevalence of shelters and refugee camps calls into question the “safety” that they represent. Insecurities is organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art. 

Recent United Nations figures suggest that 67.2 million individuals worldwide are refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons. Where borders once marked the peripheries of nations, today, manifold territories on sea and land have blurred one’s potential confinement within spaces that are determined by external powers. Under these conditions, shelter has been redefined through constant movement or escape. By extension, refugee camps, while once considered to be temporary, are no longer so, and have become a locus through which to examine how human rights intersect with and complicate the making of cities. 

Insecurities brings together a range of objects, including the jointly-designed IKEA Foundation-UNHCR-Better Shelter modular emergency structure, along with works by Estudio Teddy Cruz, Henk Wildschut, and Tiffany Chung, among others. Insecurities raises questions regarding how the design and representation of shelter as a source of security and stability ultimately reflects how refugees are living in permanent upheaval today. 

Insecurities is part of Citizens and Borders, a series of discrete projects at MoMA related to works in the collection offering a critical perspective on histories of migration, territory, and displacement. 

A New Website and So Much More!

As we approach the 25th anniversary of CalEarth, we are continually amazed and humbled by the unwavering support of our community. As a nonprofit organization, almost everything we do is thanks to the support of students and volunteers. There is something magical about CalEarth...when we need something it has a way of turning up. In May 2016 at an Open House we had the pleasure of meeting Lauren Webster, an extremely talented web designer and art director who offered to volunteer her time to help us. Over the past few months Lauren has built us a new website completely from scratch, including re-branding and re-focusing our story to give a fuller and richer picture of all that CalEarth encompasses. Thanks to Lauren, our work is now available to people everywhere in its fullest form. Be sure to read about our founder, Nader Khalili, and browse the gallery of SuperAdobe projects worldwide. Also check out our online classes, and the full 2016-2017 workshop schedule including our annual Permaculture Combined course in just a couple of weeks. 

Thank you Lauren for your selfless commitment to helping CalEarth reach those in need, and thank you to all our students and supporters past and present--we are eternally grateful. 

Sheefteh Khalili, CFO
Dastan Khalili, President
CalEarth Institute

Permaculture Combined Training October 3-15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 5, 2015 Superadobe/Earthbag Orphanage Withstands Nepal Earthquake

After the 7.6 magnitude earthquake in the Kathmandu valley in Nepal, Cal-Earth Institute pleased with how their patented Superadobe/Earthbag technology fared in contrast to the neighboring homes. The 90 children and caretakers at Pegasus Children's Project Orphanage are safely sheltered by these domes, made of just sandbags and barbed wire.

About Cal-Earth

Cal-Earth, the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing solutions to the human need for shelter through research, development, and education in earth architecture. Cal-Earth envisions a world in which every person is empowered to build a safe and sustainable home with their own hands, using the earth under their feet. Currently, Cal-Earth reaches over 1.5 million through worldwide outreach and social media, in addition to more than 1,500 visitors who come to the Hesperia site annually for workshops and tours.

Media Contact:

Sheefteh Khalili



Cal-Earth Low-cost Sustainable Earthen Housing Solutions Proved Effective and Safe in Earthquakes

Hesperia, Calif., May 5, 2015 -- Cal-Earth Institute today announced they received confirmation that the Superadobe/Earthbag orphanage project built for the Pegasus Children’s Project in the northern Khathmandu valley in Nepal survived the 7.6 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015, and the structures are all still standing.

The Superadobe (sandbags/barbed wire) building system developed at Cal-Earth (U.S. Patent #5,934,027) integrates traditional earth architecture with contemporary global safety requirements, and passes severe earthquake code tests in California. The technology has been published by NASA, endorsed by the United Nations, featured in countless world media outlets, and awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004.

A UK charity, Small Earth, built over 40 domes in 2006 for the Pegasus Children’s Project in Nepal, which is home to over 90 children and their caretakers, all of who are confirmed safe after the earthquake. Trained by a Cal-Earth alumni in 2005, Small Earth’s founder, Julian Faulkner, shared the news: “The domes have come through relatively unscathed with just surface cracking to the plasterwork… in the village below the site 15 houses have collapsed and many others are badly damaged with all the villagers now sleeping under tarpaulins in the fields.”

Faulkner stated the superficial damage to the buildings is a “testament to the quality of training we received that has enabled us to further develop the technology for use in climates as diverse as the temperate UK, the monsoon-drenched Himalayas and the African savannah.” Pegasus is raising funds to rebuild a brick structure that was destroyed during the quake, but feel validated in their choice to build earthbag domes to withstand the extreme conditions.

The Cal-Earth organization is dedicated to addressing the pressing needs of all the Earth’s homeless population and displaced people. The global housing shortage currently includes some 20-40 million refugees and displaced persons, and hundreds of millions more who live in substandard or slum housing. With compounding environmental challenges and the acceleration of natural and man-made disasters, this shortage will only become more severe in the coming decades. Cal-Earth believes the time to act is now, in order to ensure that everyone has a safe and sustainable place to live.

Cal-Earth is responding to the growing need to educate people in the face of compounding environmental challenges and the acceleration of natural and man-made disasters. On May 11, 2015, Cal-Earth will launch its first online class for download and streaming: Introduction to Superadobe. Cal-Earth is working toward raising addition funding to create more online content so that anyone, from anywhere, will be able to learn sustainable earth architecture in person or online.