Adobe is one of the oldest building materials in use. As early as 11 000 years ago, the residents of Jericho were using oval, hand-formed, sun-dried bricks. The bricks are traditionally hand moulded in wooden moulds and always sun dried. The name adobe comes from the Arabic word toub which means brick.
Adobe bricks are made of a mixture of clay, sand, water and a binder such as straw or manure is added. This blend is pressed in a form made to the size of the bricks required, which are removed.
These bricks bake in the sun until they are hard. The walls are usually a minimum of 250mm thick for a single storey and 600mm double-brick for a double storey building. A similar clay-sand-water mix is used as mortar between the bricks.
The buildings of Shibam in Yemen are made of earth brick and many rise five to eleven storeys. Some houses and large buildings still remain from the first centuries of Islam, such as the Friday Mosque built in 904, and the castle built in 1220. It represents the best example of traditional Hadrami urban architecture in its grid layout of streets and in the visual impact of its form and is mostly in good condition.
Materials & Methodologies