Adobe experiments and research will continue at Swan House on Casa Piedra Road with clay plasters, lime, alum and lye soap; with planning and design, also building with indigenous plants like ocotillo cactus, prickly pear and sotol; we are devising metal protection for adobe vaulted and domed roofs in colder climates, such as in northern New Mexico.
The Hassan Fathy Memorial Library is stored at Swan House where we accept and safeguard manuscripts and published works by architects committed to local materials, appropriate technology, builders by hand and thinkers in the environment, esthetics and ethics. Donations are sought for the keeping of this budding library and for the sponsorship of writings under the aegis of the Adobe Alliance.
The internship program accepts, with a registration fee, the volunteer work of those interested in receiving free instruction in mud masonry for a negotiable length of time, depending on current construction activity. Interns also interested in administrative, managerial, grant writing and publicity experience receive room and board; salaries will be available in the future.
Adobe Alliance structures are lived in. They include domed pavilions and houses in Texas: Presidio, Alpine and Lajitas; and in Mexico. One prototype 2 bedroom 550 square foot house built in Mexico in 1995, with vaulted roofs and a domed kitchen, cost a total of $5,000, or $9.09 a square foot, paying minimum wage Mexican salaries.
The 1998 Swan House in Presidio is 2000 square feet and includes four vaults and one domed room. The vaulted power house (12’x10′) shelters batteries and an inverter from DC to AC electricity collected on solar panels to provide all the electricity for the entire operation. A windmill serves as back-up generator. An outdoor shower offers hot water from an on-demand water heater. A turbine in one wing and an oculus in the dome evacuate hot air rapidly at ceiling height. A ramada of ocotillo plants from the property shades the south facade. Two patios serve as cooling devices and as spaces for meals in sun or shade; one features a date palm, bougainvillea and a fountain.
The 2000 Parr house in Presidio measures 3,000 square feet and includes the impressive eight-arched loggia, called takhtabush in islamic architecture, and is oriented to the west to reduce the sun’s glare and heat in the house. Two bedrooms are covered with domes 17 feet high.