CASAS DE ADOBE
As you may know, Adobe was originally used for the housing of unprivileged people with low incomes. However, the Adobe method has now adapted to the new trends and designs in modern construction and is now used for the manufacture of more exclusive homes.
In Ecuador, as in most developing countries, a large percentage of the current population lives in houses made of soil. The most common method of these constructions is Adobe. Adobe blocks are rectangular and are used in various different sizes. Adobe blocks have been used since the Pre- Hispanic era in a very large many regions such as South America. Due to the special characteristics of this soil, one has the possibility of building a wide range of constructions. There are many different techniques used to create Adobe blocks. For example, in lowlands a special soil is mixed with sea shells and egg shells; and in high lands Adobe is made with hay and straw mixed with a special type of soil. These techniques have been used since the Pre- Hispanic era. However, with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, new techniques were incorporated to the construction of Adobe. Moreover, the basic features remain the same as they were hundreds of years ago in the Pre- Hispanic era.
Adobe houses have excellent acoustic and thermal assets, making them ideal for climate zones with severe and large temperature changes. For underprivileged people, Adobe houses are their main option when it comes to construction due to its low cost and easy manufacture. However, Adobe buildings are vulnerable and have a poor resistance to seismic activity such as earthquakes. After a seismic event, the appearance of cracks in the corners and in the walls cause a fracture in the Adobe blocks which leads to the collapse of the roof.
Since a large earthquake occurred in Guatemala in the late 1970s, the Solaradobe School of the United States Southeast started using string reinforced walls, concrete to strengthen and tie the entire structure. In Peru and Canada, the "confinement of adobe" is used to reinforce the corners and the main sites of the construction. This reinforcement is made out of mesh welded metal and concrete which is anchored to strings and beams coating in the walls of the adobe constructions. This method is used in Peru, to restore old houses making them resistant to seismic activity.
Currently In Ecuador, the Adobe building technique has been applied to construct, not only houses for underprivileged people but also, for high class clients with important incomes. An innumerable amount of Adobe buildings have been constructed and the numbers are increasing at an astonishing rate. The growth of Adobe’s popularity is due to its many advantages such as, the warmth it provides, its malleability, the peace and tranquility provided by the Adobe buildings, and most importantly the construction of adobe buildings is environmentally friendly. To build adobe blocks one does not need to burn them; therefore, the contamination rate is inferior to that of other construction made out of bricks. Moreover, there are infinite possibilities of fillers and final touches one can use in Adobe buildings. It all depends on the client’s tastes and how he or she wishes the final result to look like. The Adobe method is the answer to the demand of clients worldwide fulfilling the needs of the modern world of construction.