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A Journey through the Natural Building Techniques: Adobe

El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara

The word adobe comes from the Arabic word al-tob, which means “the brick” and from Coptic tube, which also means “brick”. A brick is precisely what adobe is, a sun-dried brick of clay-soil and sand, with fiber added in some instances as well. These fibers, which add tensile strength, are usually straw, hair, or even horse manure. Yes, I said horse manure! Building with adobe is one of the oldest building techniques in the world, and some of the world’s oldest standing buildings were constructed with adobe.