Houses in Burkina Faso and Kythera

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Nankani village, Burkina Faso, West Africa | Paliochora, Kythera, Greece, c.1450

Adobe is basically mud. It is strengthened and stabilized by being mixed with sand and straw or animal dung. It is not as strong as fired ceramic bricks or concrete, but in the right conditions it can be very durable. In a hot dry climate, adobe bakes hard and takes on the texture of terracotta. In damper places, its surface needs to be protected to stop it deteriorating.

Regional names for much the same thing as adobe in Europe include cobb and pisé. A mixture of clay and dung makes a surprisingly waterproof coating, whether for ...

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