Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home pageNo. 39, Spring/Summer 1996

Adobe (the mud) goes online

by Paul G. McHenry Jr.

EACI has a New Home on the World Wide Web

Earth Architecture Center International (EACI), which is associated with the University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning, was created to provide a platform from which to collect and distribute information on earth building and to encourage its use throughout the world.

Our world suffers from severe energy and housing shortages; the two problems are closely related. Both can be addressed and at least partially alleviated by the expanded use of earth building in a vernacular (low tech, local materials, labor intensive) mode. The new materials generated by World War II, energy surpluses, low construction costs, and wasteful practices have produced a whole generation of professional architects, engineers, building officials, and planners who are unfamiliar with the possibilities of earth for building. To remedy this situation, we propose to provide sound, accurate technical information to the influential professionals of each country where earth architecture is practical.

At EACI, one of our projects is to assemble and maintain a source of technical reference information. An annotated bibliography with more than 1300 references and keyword list is currently available. The bibliographic entry form has fields that include title, author, publisher, publication date, description, key words, and library location. The information is available in electronic form both in a Microsoft Works for Windows database and online via the Internet. The current release is designated March 1994. It will be expanded and updated as new entries are added, and existing entries are corrected. Users are urged to send new references or corrections to this bibliography at EACI (address below).

The proceedings of a number of international conferences on earth building are being assembled. These conference proceedings contain reports that deal with many varied aspects of earthen building and seldom are seen by those not in attendance. They contain some of the most valuable resources available. Our publication will include the conference name, date, a list of subject titles on which papers were presented, author's names and affiliations, and an abstract. Please write for availability and cost. International copyright conventions will be observed.

EACI will organize and conduct seminars, workshops, and training sessions adapted to your needs and requirements. Planning and construction of full-size or scale models for demonstration will be undertaken on request.

EACI is assembling and will maintain an international roster of organizations and individuals active or interested in earth building. If you or your colleagues would like to be included in this roster, please let us know. The list is being constantly updated.

EACI maintains a file of more than 10,000 photos covering all aspects of earthen architecture and technology from many parts of the world. The bulk of the collection is in 35mm color slide form, plus some black-and-white and color prints. Duplicate slides, color, and B&W prints are available. A system is under development for the digitization of photo images with an accompanying database, including keywords and annotation information, for research and additional uses. This resource may ultimately be made available worldwide via the Internet.

Future plans call for creation and production of film and video educational programs on earth building. Special programs can be tailored or created to suit your needs.

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Paul McHenry is Managing Director of EACI. EACI is a self-supporting organization, relying on donations, book sales, grants, and contract research. All Directors, Board of Directors, Advisory Board Members, and staff at this time are unpaid volunteers. Write to McHenry at Earth Architecture Center International Ltd., 5928 Guadalupe Trail NW, Albuquerque NM 87107-5423.

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