I am in Argentina for seven weeks building the largest adobe dome in Latin America with Gernot Minke. He is an Architect, former professor at the University of Kassel in Germany and head of the Building Research Laboratory, an author of an array of books on many different natural building techniques, and many other things as I have to come to find out. Over a dinner of trout with mashed potatoes, Roquefort sauce, and a good bottle of red wine we spoke less about sustainability than we did about Buddhism, Energy Medicine, meditation, and psychedelics.
The dome is being built for Awaike, an organization dedicated to midwifery education, the development of women and children’s health in a sustainable environment, and promoting actions and policies to ensure equitable access to health services.
It has been quite an amazing experience so far. In the first 3 workshops we built the dome and the vaulted entrance. The diameter is 9.2 meters (30 feet) with a finished height of 6 meters (20 feet) and it took a total of 11,000 adobes! Note the curved interior end of the adobes which reduces the echo dramatically, offers amazing acoustics, and is beautiful aesthetically. The night before we finished the dome we realized that the lunar eclipse was going to usher in the completion of it. We were fortunate that the sky cleared for this event and everyone played instruments and danced around the fire until late into the night.
Looking up into the ceiling of the dome it is hard to believe that we built it in only 12 days. Over the next 2 weeks I will continue to work on the plastering and then a thin membrane will be applied over that for waterproofing (more details on this in an upcoming post). Then, in the upcoming fourth workshop we will install a green roof over the vault and lay down the earthen floor.
It is a good thing that I am staying on longer to assist with the finish work as my list of questions for Mr. Minke grows longer every day! Check back soon for more info and photos.