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Sunday, September 21, 2014
MUM Students Build Adobe House from Scratch in Texas Desert
Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living students study natural building and travel to the Texas desert to put up a 14' x 14' adobe bunkhouse made primarily from indigenous materials
 
For their October 2013 Natural Building class, a group of 12 MUM Sustainable Living students traveled to the Texas desert, where they spent 11 days constructing a 14 x 14ft. adobe house made primarily from local materials.
 
Working with their instructor, MUM Sustainable Living Workshop Director Mark Stimson, the students began their work on campus, creating a plan and estimating the amount of materials they would need. For the post-and-beam frame, they harvested and trimmed dead spruce trees on campus. They also prepared and canned all their food in advance.
 
Another major project before they left: learning metalwork so they could make machetes for harvesting the river cane they would need for thatching the roof.
 
The desert site is just north of Big Bend National Park, 80 miles from the nearest town on a road too rugged for ordinary cars.
 
They traveled from the MUM campus in Fairfield, Iowa, via the Sustainable Living Department bus, which is powered by biodiesel fuel that was made by the students and staff member Steve Fugate.
 
Once on site, the students learned to sift the soil used for the bricks, moisten it with water, and then use forms to create the bricks. Once skilled, they were able to make a brick in less than a minute. But then the 850 bricks -- all 17,000 lbs. of them -- had to be carried up a long hill. The students formed a chain, and accomplished the task with aplomb.
 
Then they harvested local giant river cane (Arundo donax) with the machetes they'd made. Tied into bundles, the river cane served as a waterproof thatched roof. The finished adobe house will be used as a bunkhouse and field research station.
Posted by on 12/20/2013 12:19:00 PMComments 0
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