So much disturbing news from Israel and Palestine in the last two weeks has left me completely exasperated, and I’m sure our readers can relate. Thankfully NPR gives us a brief respite with this great story of a Nader Khalili-styled dome home that a young Palestinian firm recently completed in Jericho.
Working with NASA as part of an initiative to design homes fit for space, Iranian architect Nader Khalili conceived the dome home as an affordable, accessible, easy to build, and environmentally sensible housing solution.
He first presented his Superadobe construction method, which involves stuffing bags full of readily available dirt and then stacking them in a circular form. The bags are held together with barbed wire, and then covered with lime plaster. Any holes are filled in with grout.
The resulting homes are so well-insulated, no air-conditioning is necessary in summer, and in winter, the thick walls retain enough heat to keep the interior space comfortably warm
In 1991, Khalili founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth), which continues to provide workshops and empower people around the world with these low impact structures.
For SharmsArd, the young Palestinian firm that Ahmad Daoud commissioned to build his home in Jericho, building with Earth was an obvious choice that allows them to feel empowered in the context of the nation’s ongoing struggle against Israel’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the West Bank and Gaza.
One of the firm’s partners, Danna Massad, expresses their collective desire to operate independently of the foreign aid that so many Palestinians have to rely on to make any kind of respectable living in Palestine.
“I think the Palestinian society is oversaturated with international aid,” she tells NPR’s Emily Harris.
“Of course, we’re not the only example of a local business that refuses any kind of aid, but we can see how excited people get … to see how you can actually do something without being dependent.”
Despite some skepticism from his community, Daoud is chuffed with his new home.
“It’s an environmentally friendly house,” he told NPR. “I can tear it down and nothing will remain. In the summer, I don’t need air conditioning, and in the winter, I don’t need heat.”
Photos of the construction process taken from SharmsArd Facebook Page. Please head over to NPR for more details and a photograph of this beautiful home, which is now complete.