Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ojinaga Dome Project

The Adobe Alliance, which is headed by Simone Swan, is working on a project in Ojinaga, a small Mexican town across the border from Presidio, TX. The dome uses an ancient Egyptian technique, perfected by Hassan Fathy, the author of "Architecture for the Poor'. No cement is used... not even in the mortar. The bricks are adobe. The mortar is clay, sand, and water. A simple compass ( a hinged 2 x 4 ) is used to measure and guide the bricks into a perfect, self supporting dome. The placement of the bricks combined with gravity and mortar require no extra support. The Adobe Alliance is located in Presidio, TX and hosts workshops in the area and beyond. The dome in the picture was built by the Adobe Alliance, however the building on which it rests was already there. Inside the dome, it almost appears as an optical illusion. It seems as if the bricks should fall, but they don't. Perhaps it is because we are not used to seeing this in conventional architecture. Simone Swan and her crew were gracious enough to let me work with them for a day. A completed version can seen at the Adobe Alliance complex.

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