Adobe construction: it's been around for a long time. Adobe construction: it's been around for a long time.

Students see solution in adobe housing

Another proposal for earthquake victims utilizes a traditional material

After a rash of new home construction ideas that utilized everything from PVC to recycled plastic bottles, students from the Autonomous University of México State (UAEM) have gone back to basics: they’re proposing the use of adobe, one of the most traditional construction materials in Mexico, to build houses for earthquake victims.

The architecture and design students believe that an improved form of adobe that is more resilient and flexible could be used for reconstruction efforts in the México state municipalities of Ocuilan and Joquicingo.

The idea for the project, called Xacali, emerged from the need to rebuild while maintaining the years-old identity and image of earthquake-damaged towns.

“What we want to do is save the identity without losing its essence, and promote the benefits of using adobe, a thermal and friendly material. In this case we’ve stabilized it, allowing it to reinforce standing structures,” said Jazmín Andrea Cristino Reyes, one of the project’s members.

The resulting adobe brick and the homes built with it “are more resistant and are not as weak as traditional ones, and are ideal for several types of weather conditions,” added team member Lorena Cabrera Rosales.

Teammate Erick Daniel Alcántara Medina told the newspaper Milenio that a three by three-meter room would cost 36,000 pesos (US $1,800) and take three weeks to build.

The students expect that with the 120,000-peso reconstruction grant from the federal government, a family would be able to erect a complete house using their reinforced version of adobe.

Now the project requires the participation of the three levels of government if it is to be adopted in the official reconstruction process.

The name Xacali stems from the Náhuatl term xacalli, a contraction of the words xamitl and calli, literally meaning “hut.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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