SuperAdobe is a form of earth bag architecture developed by architect and CalEarth founder Nader Khalili. Using long sandbags ("SuperAdobe Bags"), barbed wire, on-site earth and a few tools, Khalili devised a revolutionary building system that integrates traditional earth architecture with contemporary global safety requirements, and passes severe earthquake code tests in California.
This technology has been published by NASA, endorsed by the United Nations, featured in countless world media outlets, and awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004. It comes from years of meditation, hands-on research and development. Inspired by traditional earth architecture in the deserts of Iran and adapted for modern usage. Simplified so that anyone can build.
CALEARTH AND RUMI
Many find it interesting that there is a strong connection between CalEarth and the poetry of Rumi, a Persian mystic who lived over 800 years ago. There is a Rumi Dome on site, books of poetry for sale in the bookstore, and Rumi stories shared during the Open House, but what's the origin of this connection? The founder of CalEarth, Nader Khalili (1936-2008) looked to Rumi for inspiration through most of his adult life, and remnants of this inspiration can be found in many of the buildings and designs.
For 25 years, Nader Khalili’s specialty as an architect was skyscrapers. Then at thirty-eight, his turning point in life, he “… bought a motorcycle and went to the desert for five years in Iran to see what the solution was for sheltering the poor in the world and to learn from what already existed. There [he] got to know five personalities: earth, water, air, fire and Rumi, the 800 year old Persian mystic poet...." Rumi taught him the unity of these universal elements, forming his "Archemy" — architecture and alchemy. Water is fire, earth is water, and there is a unity in all elements.
In Rumi, Dancing the Flame, Khalili wrote, “I have also discovered, dealing with these universal elements for my own earth-and-fire architecture, that Rumi, more than any other individual has dealt with fire and water, or earth and wind, and yet no one to my knowledge has looked at Rumi’s life and works through these elements. I have been blessed by making my life’s work following this narrow stream springing form the ocean that is Rumi.”
In addition to his revolutionary earth architecture and Superadobe techniques, a great part of his life’s work was translating Rumi’s Rubaiyat and Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrizi. “In the last seven hundred years many millions have lit their candles from Rumi’s fire and I feel I am one of them—awake or dreaming.”
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