Earthbag building (or ‘super adobe’) is a technique credited to Nader Khalili, an Iranian-born architect and humanitarian. The technique uses polypropylene bag (the kind of bag your chook food comes in, before it is cut into lengths) as a continuous, flexible form to hold courses of earth, building up a structure layer by layer. Rendering weatherproofs the structure, and is the final binding mechanism holding the bags together.
Earthbag building is great where we are in Central Australia, as there seems to be no shortage of soils with a reasonable sand/clay mix, and there’s not much else to build with. Sure, you need to buy the bag, barbed wire and rendering materials; but the bulk of what you’re building with can often be sourced from your site, and moved with the aid of little more than a shovel and wheelbarrow. Along with being cheap and simple, earthbag building is also tough, flexible and provides good thermal mass – enough reasons for us to give it a go!