Earth building course

24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 May 2021


Raw earth as a building material, yesterday and today.
Physical and mechanical characteristics, field tests and specimens.
Stabilisation, blending and formulation with raw soil.

Different construction techniques and applications: adobe, tapial, cob, cob formwork, quincha, superadobe, clay floors, mixed techniques.

  • Soil protection
  • Construction carpentry, formwork and shuttering
  • Implementing legislation
  • Round table discussions
  • documentary film screening
  • technical consultations and much more!


We will test with the different types of clay existing in the area, identification and collection of samples. Conducting field trials and comparing results.
Production of different specimens for resistance tests (destructive and erosion). using different mixtures and ingredients. Testing and conclusions

  • Practice in the construction of load-bearing walls with fibre-lightened earth, focusing on the techniques of adobe, cob, cob formwork and quincha.
  • Manufacture, drying and laying of adobe bricks on site. Erection of cob walls, with and without formwork.
  • Construction of substructure and subsequent application of lightened earth (quincha).
  • Stakeout and measurements, dimensioning and formwork placement
  • Practice of earth coatings, preparation of the substrate, clay-based base coat and additives. Bridging and transition layers.

Course development

In order to offer a more dynamic experience, the practical part of the course will take place in the mornings, leaving the afternoons to deal with theoretical aspects, didactic excursions, discussion and the sharing of practical cases.


Theoretical part

Nadir Sirera Oriol

Architect and Builder based in Iscles. Specialised in Bioclimatic Architecture and Bioconstruction, working for years in the restoration and recovery of Vernacular Architecture.

Practical part

Equipo Iscles

The entire Iscles team will guide the construction works.


Day One


9:00-15:00 (with a short break)

Introduction to the use of earth in construction, its history, current affairs, different construction techniques, as well as formulations and regulations. Carrying out field trials with different soils and clays to learn to identify their properties and aptitudes. Test specimens are made following the Carazas Test model to understand the different techniques depending on the pouring method and moisture content of the mixture. Formulation and production of specimens with different additives in moulds for subsequent testing.


17:00 - end

Didactic excursion to different clay quarries, where we can observe how to differentiate and extract the earth for its use in construction.

Day Two


9:00-15:00 (with a short break)

Practical workshop on adobe construction. Manufacture of adobe bricks at the foot of the quarry in a mud pool. Curing, large-scale formulation and mixing by manual and mechanical means Experimentation with different moulds and consistencies.


17:00 - end

Theoretical approach to earthen construction: application techniques, advantages and disadvantages Documentary screening Discussions

Day Three


9:00-15:00 (with a short break)

Practical workshop on the construction of load-bearing walls with earth. Construction of structural walls with adobe bricks and cob. Erection and erection of formwork: cob formwork and rammed earth walls


17:00 - end

Screening of a short documentary on rammed earth and adobe, round table discussion Open space for the sharing of case studies contributed by the participants or by ourselves. We encourage you to bring your project!

Fourth Day


9:00-15:00 (with a short break)

Practical workshop on basketry or quincha Preparation of different supports and lattices to hold the soil in place Formulations: lightened earth, straw formwork, common quincha, dry quincha… Precautions and sizing


17:00 - end

Theoretical lecture on ground finishes and applicable regulations. Discussions Open space for the sharing of case studies contributed by the participants or by ourselves. We encourage you to bring your project!

Fifth Day


9:00-15:00 (with a short break)

Introduction to earthen plasters. Formulation and additives Preparation of supports Different coatings: base coat, transition coat, thin coat, top coat, top coat Taller práctico de revocos de tierra, formulación y puesta en obra de mortero de tierra para capa base y de transición (arcical aditivado)


15:00 - closing

Farewell and closure


The course

The participation fee for the course is

325.- €

Accommodation and Meals

The price of the meals is 25€ per day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, all prepared with love and mostly from our own gardens. Accommodation can be in a shared room, teepee or single tent with bed (€10/night) or free camping with use of shower and dry toilet (€3/night).

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Photos from previous Courses