[GSBN] earthquake-proof adobe walls‏

Lorenzo Robles lorobles55 at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 18 03:33:26 CDT 2009

Hello Alex,

 yes I will try to give more detailed description  _
but unfortunately no photos available from that beautifull old house,
at the time the walls were opened., my long stay in Lima ended more
than 25 years ago, though the memory is vivid.    As attachment, there
are a few photos found on the web, that illustrate somehow the system,
an show comparison between reinforced and non-reinforced adobe walls.

old thick walls were about 70cm wide, and the bricks dismanteled by the
workers looked hairy, like the handmade type including fiber. The fiber
may have been straw, or drie local grass or fiber from plants ,lots of 
very tough growing on hillside and semi desertic near Lima _sorry again
no botanical name to suggest.

 There were 2 bricks end to end
across the wall,on cossing course; so each brick had a length of about
35 cm; the other dimensions I cant tell sure, perhaps like 20 and 10, .

  The netting was central, showing vertical  cane sticks about 50
cm distant, less for the horizontal sticks, like 20 or 22cm, probably
embracing one of every two courses of adobe bricks.    As often , the
courses alterned parallel and transversal (crossing) layers of bricks.
the canes were not tied, but webed _like in our grannies baskets.    
I remember well staying  a long time to observe the dismantling job,
and discussing  with other, older  people, who  where commenting how
strong ang good this netting was to help the wall against the hazard of
collapsing after those earthquakes.  A few weeks before, a strong shake
had damagesd several houses in the area we lived, so these discussions
ment something to everyone.
 At that time I wasnt involved in
building, though feeling very concerned by earthquaques.   I havn't had
the opportunity to copy or adapt this combination of adobe/webed canes
reinforcement, because my earth constructions werent really in 
sismical  high risk areas. 

A tip from my humble experience:
_for added strength, the choice of the mud or clay used for the adobes
is very important, as they should not be able to "burst into dust" when
dropped, once fully dried. The mud must be sticky enough, and a
generous proportion of hcked straw or other fiber ("schaff") added when
mixing, is structurally very good. A good test is to drop the dry brick
from a meter hight. It should not break, or at least, give only 2

_think of a "crown beam" connecting from the top all 4 walls, and are the connection for roof or terrace beams.

All the best,


From: lotan-build at lotan.ardom.co.il
To: lorobles55 at hotmail.com
CC: jc10508 at windstream.net
Subject: RE: [GSBN] earthquake-proof adobe walls
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 14:08:13 +0200

Dear Lorenzo,


The detail of the fiber net is, in your
words, a critical element.


Your explanation is not clear.  You typed
(there may be some incorrect letters):

"The workers
had to take brick by brick, an saw each cane to release de digged trough
area. it took much more time than with simple adobe. "


Please expand your description.  Also, would you be able to
send me, or post for all, some photographs of the net, a cross section of a wall
that show the interplay between the adobe brick and the netting.  Also, what size
are the earth bricks, were they "hand" molded or compressed and do they
have fibers (straw or other) in them?


Thank you.  This information is very important for our work,
also a seismically active area, with low cost housing for Bedouins in southern Israel
and Palestine.




Alex Cicelsky

Center for Creative Ecology

a non-profit
education institute supported by

Amuta Tzel
Hatamar, Israel tax exempt no. 580347029

Friends of
Lotan, USA 501(c)(3), no. 17053031035036

Kibbutz Lotan

D.N. Eilot 88855 Israel

Tel: +972-(0)54-979-9009

Websites: www.kibbutzlotan.com


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