Education


The AiA Certificate in Adobe Construction

Adobe in Action provides adobe construction education for the benefit of community development and cultural enrichment and preservation. The classes promote the continued qualification of adobe craftsmen through theoretical and practical instruction. To reach a broad range of students, the courses are offered as a blend of online and live instruction and synchronize with ongoing Adobe in Action building projects. A certificate of completion is offered by Adobe in Action for each class successfully completed. Upon completion of all 8 classes (total of 24 credits) the student is presented with an Adobe in Action Certificate in Adobe Construction. The educational component strives to align its courses with existing academic and professional earthbuilding institutions to contribute to a nationally recognized certification in adobe construction.


Certificate in Adobe Construction Curriculum

Course 1: “Passive Solar Adobe Design”
Credits: 2
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks)
Workload: 3-5 hours per week
Fee: $250
Next Session: This is a Spring 2014 Class - More info here!

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of designing a passive solar adobe structure which combines the natural power of the sun with the great thermal storage capacity of adobe to reduce heating and cooling costs. The hands-on projects for this course focus on the steps involved in siting and modeling the performance of a passive solar adobe brick house.

Topic overview: history of passive solar design worldwide with a special focus on the Southwest of the USA, intro to the 3 major passive solar adobe systems (direct gain, Trombe wall and greenhouse), site planning and building layout for optimum solar gain, passive solar floor plan design and modeling, passive solar system sizing and glazing requirements, calculating heat gain and heat loss for a passive solar design, thermal storage of heat using adobe, calculating window shading and passive cooling, backup heating practices, passive solar insulation techniques

Course 2: “New Mexico Adobe Building Permit Process”
Credits: 2
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks)
Workload: 3-5 hours per week
Fee: $250
Next Session: This is a Spring 2014 Class - More info here!

About the Course

This course covers the process of applying for a permit to build with adobe bricks in New Mexico. We work through the current New Mexico Earthen Materials Building Code to define key vocabulary and correct building procedures of a typical New Mexican adobe brick structure. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on the permit-related steps that need to be taken before construction can begin as well as a detailed overview of producing and submitting all required building plans. Note: The New Mexico Earthen Building Materials Code is highly-respected around the world. Even if you are not planning on building your home in New Mexico, the code can be used as a guide to ensure that quality adobe construction principles are followed regardless of your location. The New Mexico Earthen Building Materials Code is sometimes also accepted in states or countries which do not have their own adobe code in place. Contact your local construction industries division for more details on this process.

Topic overview: locating the current New Mexico Earthen Building Materials Code, general overview of all code-related vocabulary and definitions for adobe construction, allowable wall heights for adobe construction and other wall-related topics, classes of adobe, soil and brick testing in the code, foundations and bond beams in the code, lintel sizing for window and door openings, plastering and wall insulation in the code, detailed overview of New Mexico adobe permitting process, detailed overview of adobe building plan drawing process and requirements, detailed overview of adobe building plan submission process, detailed overview of adobe building inspection process

Course 3: “History & Basics of Adobe Construction”
Credits: 2
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks)
Workload: 3-5 hours per week
Fee: $250
Next Session: This is a Spring 2014 Class - More info here!

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of building with earth with a special focus on adobe bricks. We begin with a historical overview of earthen and adobe architecture and construction in the Southwest of the USA. We also look at and discuss alternative earthen building traditions and techniques used around the world and why sun-dried adobe bricks make sense for the owner/builder. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on the preliminary steps that need to be taken before construction of an adobe brick house can commence. This course covers the entire pre-construction sequence - from soil selection and testing to adobe brick production and storage.

Topic overview: history of adobe architecture and construction in the Southwest of the USA and worldwide, overview of alternative earthen wall building techniques past and present, overview of earthen home characteristics and why earth makes sense as a building material, overview of the main building components of an adobe house from foundation to roof, overview of the main adobe architectural styles found in New Mexico - their pros and cons, overview of basic tools needed for adobe construction, locating clay and aggregates for adobe construction, performing and evaluating soil tests to determine soil suitability, making a 2-brick adobe form, making a soil screen, mixing soil for adobe bricks and mortar, making and curing adobe bricks, transporting and storing adobe bricks, testing adobe bricks for strength and water resistance - field and lab tests, calculating adobe bricks and mortar needed for a given project

Course 4: “Foundations for Adobe Structures”
Credits: 2
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks)
Workload: 3-5 hours per week
Fee: $250
Next Session: This is a Spring 2014 Class - More info here!

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of designing and installing different foundation types commonly used for adobe structures. We define key vocabulary and building procedures of standard foundations that pass code in New Mexico as well as an alternative foundation design that can be used if approved by an engineer. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on installing two popular foundation types for adobe structures in New Mexico - the 'concrete spread footing/CMU stem wall' foundation and the 'gravel/trench with concrete grade beam' foundation.

Topic overview: historical foundation types found in New Mexican adobe structures - their pros & cons, definition and importance of foundations in the context of earthen and adobe construction, overview of helpful tools and leveling devices for foundation layout and installation, analysis of key foundation rules and regulations in the NM Earthen Building Materials Code, site selection recommendations for adobe foundations, detailing recommendations for adobe foundations - stem wall heights & moisture barriers, building and foundation layout process (setting batter boards, finding corners, marking sides), low-cost & low-impact foundation dig methods and recommendations, technical overview and installation of concrete spread footing/CMU stem wall foundation, technical overview and installation of gravel/trench foundation with concrete grade beam, discussion of insulation techniques for foundations, calculating materials for foundations, instructions on the process of obtaining an alternative foundation permit in New Mexico

Course 5: “Adobe Wall Construction”
Credits: 4  (40 AIA Learning Units - LU|HSW)
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks) or Blended (4 Weeks Online + 5 Days Live Instruction)
Workload: 6-8 hours per week online, 8 hours per day for live instruction
Fee: $500
Next Session: May 2014

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of building earthen walls using natural, sun-dried adobe bricks. We begin the wallbuilding process by laying a first course of adobes onto the foundation wall and continue working our way to the top of the wall with subsequent adobe courses and the installation of a wood bond beam. We work through all wall-related sections of the current New Mexico Earthen Building Materials Code to help define key vocabulary and correct building procedures of a typical adobe brick wall. We also examine different methods of installing window and door openings into the wall.

Topic overview: historical overview of various earthen wall construction techniques used worldwide, discussion of why adobe bricks are recommended for owner/builder earthen walls, overview of common adobe wall thicknesses - their pros & cons, thermal storage and heat transmission properties of adobe walls - R-values and U-values, basic overview of seismic considerations when building with adobe bricks, constructing and setting up speed leads for adobe brick walls, mixing mud mortar for adobe wall construction, applying mortar to the wall, correct brick coursing and leveling, cutting adobe bricks, constructing and installing gringo blocks and rough bucks into an adobe brick wall, constructing and installing lintels into an adobe brick wall, constructing and installing a wood bond beam on an adobe brick wall, scaffolding and high wall strategies for adobe wall construction, insulation techniques for adobe walls, basic overview of plumbing and electrical installation for adobe walls

Course 6: “Roofs for Adobe Structures”
Credits: 4
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks) or Blended (4 Weeks Online + 5 Days Live Instruction)
Workload: 6-8 hours per week online, 8 hours per day for live instruction
Fee: $500
Next Session: July 2014

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of designing and installing common roof types on adobe structures. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on basic shed and pitched roofs with extended eaves which offer protection to the adobe wall below and allow for exterior natural plasters to be used on the building.

Topic overview: historical overview of roof types found on New Mexican adobe structures - their pros & cons, discussion and overview of helpful tools and leveling devices for roof installation, flat roofs: installation techniques, disadvantages for owner/builders, shed roofs: installation techniques and finishing, advantages for owner/builders, pitched roofs: installation techniques and finishing, advantages for owner/builders, bond beam attachment systems for roofs, ordering & sizing & installing vigas & roof beams & other roofing lumber, overview of ceiling board installation and finishing, roof insulation techniques and installation, selecting and installing roof decking and metal roofing, importance of extended eaves for natural plaster usage, earthen roof alternatives (domes and vaults) – advantages and disadvantages

Course 7: “Interior and Exterior Plastering”
Credits: 4
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks) or Blended (4 Weeks Online + 5 Days Live Instruction)
Workload: 6-8 hours per week online, 8 hours per day for live instruction
Fee: $500
Next Session: September 2014

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of finishing interior and exterior adobe brick walls with natural plasters and paints. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on the mixing and application of earthen plasters, lime plasters and lime/casein paints.

Topic overview: historical overview of interior and exterior finishes for adobe structures in New Mexico, importance of respiratory and eye safety when preparing and mixing plasters, overview of mud plaster characteristics and why earthen plasters make sense on adobe walls, summary of tools and materials needed for plastering, window and door opening reinforcement using reed mat, adobe wall preparation for maximum earthen plaster adhesion, locating and testing clay for earthen plasters, locating and testing aggregates for earthen plasters and lime plasters, preparing lime putty, importance of work site and material organization for plaster work, fiber (straw) preparation and chopping techniques, sifting & preparing & mixing soil and aggregates for earthen plasters, wheat paste production for strengthening mud plasters, casein production for lime paints, natural exterior earthen plaster stabilization techniques (lime, cactus juice), hand application techniques of earthen plasters (base coats, patching), hawk & trowel application of earthen and lime plasters (leveling and finish coats), basic earthen plaster ingredients and recipes, basic lime plaster ingredients and recipes, calculating surface area to be finished and materials needed, troubleshooting earthen and lime plasters (cracking, adhesion problems, etc.)

Course 8: “Floors for Adobe Structures”
Credits: 4
Instruction Format: Online (8 Weeks) or Blended (4 Weeks Online + 5 Days Live Instruction)
Workload: 6-8 hours per week online, 8 hours per day for live instruction
Fee: $500
Next Session: October 2014

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of installing floors commonly used in adobe structures in New Mexico. Our hands-on projects for this course focus on high-mass floors for passive solar adobe structures with a special focus on low-cost earthen floors.

Topic overview: historical overview of floor types found in New Mexican adobe structures - their pros & cons, overview of helpful tools and leveling devices for floor installation, poured mud - mud brick - rammed earth floors: installation techniques and finishes, brick-on-sand floors: installation techniques and finishes, suspended wood floors: installation techniques and finishes, importance of mass floors for passive solar performance

For more information or to register for an upcoming class please contact our Director of Education (Kurt Gardella) at:

kurt@adobeinaction.org

 

Supplementary Adobe Training Certificates

Course Name: "Adobe Conservation and Preservation"
Credits:
4
Instruction Format: Blended (4 Weeks Online + 5 Days Live Instruction)
Workload: 6-8 hours per week online, 8 hours per day for live instruction
Fee: $500
Next Session: 2014

About the Course

This course covers the fundamentals of preserving and restoring adobe structures. We begin with a historical overview of adobe architecture and construction in the Southwest of the USA and then walk through the basics of “Adobe Dynamics 101” to understand the “Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation” and how they can be applied to adobe structures. The class includes hands-on topics such as assessments on adobe buildings, stabilization techniques and traditional plasters.

Topic overview: history of adobe architecture and construction in the Southwest of the USA and worldwide, introduction to “Adobe Dynamics 101”, introduction to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation, overview of common tools, equipment, materials and supplies used in adobe preservation work, basic understanding of safety procedures and equipment for adobe preservation work, introduction to the topics of capillary action and permeability, moisture testing techniques for adobe walls, crack monitoring techniques for adobe walls, overview of common examples of deterioration in adobe structures and their solutions, material identification and preparation (aggregates, clays, silts, gravels), adobe brick production, adobe wall basal stabilization techniques, introduction to adobe structural issues and structural retrofitting of historic earthen buildings, seismic considerations and wind and lateral forces which affect historic earthen buildings, lime putty preparation, lime mortar preparation and application, earthen and lime plaster preparation and application, maintenance management and monitoring strategies