If ever a book was inspired by compassion for earthquake victims, this is it. Aware of the bitter experience of Middle East peoples with seismic disasters, architect Nader Khalili pulls together what works in those same cultures to show how we can build affordable housing that will survive major earthquakes.
Key principles: Use the earth (clay) underfoot as your building material. Spare the forests and watersheds.
Use simple human-scale building elements, like bricks or sandbags that ordinary people can stack by hand.
Use the arch, dome, and vault. These architectural forms work where post and beam timbers are not available. They are seismically stable. They are not subject to the gravitational loads that make flat roofs cave in over time. They make climatically comfortable spaces with sun and shade surfaces that circulate hot and cool air appropriately.
Fire the clay structure to make it a strong unitary enclosure, like an inverted teacup. It will slide safely over seismically moving earth.
Ceramic Houses - and Khalili's work generally - offers a timely recipe for new development and rebuilding in seismically active areas like the Middle East, and, take note, California. It's no accident that Khalili's prototype structures have been built and approved by local authorities in Hesperia, CA.
Nader Khalili brings together the clay and earth underfoot, the architectural vocabulary of arch, dome, and vault, and simple building technques that ordinary people can use to build seismically safe, comfortable, inexpensive, and beautiful houses.