Building with Super Adobe techniques at The Hive has been a truly enlightening and empowering experience. Throughout my time working at this site I’ve learned: how to dig trenches with a pick axe, sift earth, make excellent punch out of vitamin c packets, and how to fill, lay, and tamp earth bags into the foundation of a Super Adobe structure. With a small group of just 5-10 people, we’ve achieved an immense amount of progress on this project. Working as an efficient assembly line, we positioned one or two people at each station in the Super Adobe construction process. These stations included shoveling gravel and earth into piles, sifting the earth, mixing lime and earth in the cement mixer, holding up the earth bag, filling it with the earth mixture, shaking and forming the bag for the desired distribution, and finally, tamping the bag down to create an even surface to build upon. I have taken pictures of workers in many of these stations which are displayed below.
With no heavy machinery, toxic materials, or large amounts of labor, Jesse and his crew at The Hive have constructed multiple large-scale earth structures that are safe, affordable, and sustainable. Super Adobe is considered a green building technique because it can create reliable shelters that are environmentally friendly, inexpensive to build, and require a small labor force to construct. Super Adobe fulfills all three sides of the sustainability pyramid. It is financially viable, environmentally benign, and promotes social harmony and equity.
This building technique reinforces and promotes a sense of community wherever it is constructed. The effort at the 2105 St Cyr complex has brought together many individuals from around the Albuquerque area and helped to forge friendships and communal bonds that would not have otherwise arose. Volunteers at this site work towards a unifying and common goal, while also receiving a hands on education in sustainable building techniques.
Before joining this effort, I believed that only professionals and specialists could pull off feats such as: constructing a Super Adobe structure, installing LED lighting, and building solar panels. Working at this site has destroyed this notion. Jesse and the other mentors have shown that with enough passion, hard work, and patience, anything is possible. The only limitation that exists is an illusion that we place upon our own abilities. If I’ve taken anything away from this experience, it’s a sense of empowerment and a belief that I am more capable than society has led me to believe. I will continue to volunteer at this site because it is an admirable cause and because there are certain things in life that you can’t learn in a classroom.