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WORDS OF THE WEEK – SEPTEMBER 30, 2010

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Karin • Filed under:

These are terms from the world of ADOBE CONSTRUCTION:

ADOBE

Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, and/or manure), which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. Adobe structures are extremely durable and account for some of the oldest existing buildings in the world. In hot climates, compared to wooden buildings, adobe buildings offer significant advantages due to their greater thermal mass, but they are known to be particularly susceptible to earthquake damage.

Adobe had been in use by indigenous peoples of the Americas in the Southwestern United States, Mesoamerica, and the Andean region of South America for several thousand years, although often substantial amounts of stone are used in the walls of Pueblo buildings. (Also, the Pueblo people built their adobe structures with handfuls or basketfuls of adobe, until the Spanish introduced them to the making of bricks.)

An adobe wall can serve as a significant heat reservoir due to the thermal properties inherent in the massive walls typical in adobe construction. In desert and other climates typified by hot days and cool nights, the high thermal mass of adobe levels out the heat transfer through the wall to the living space. The massive walls require a large and relatively long input of heat from the sun (radiation) and from the surrounding air (convection) before they warm through to the interior and begin to transfer heat to the living space. After the sun sets and the temperature drops, the warm wall will then continue to transfer heat to the interior for several hours due to the time lag effect. Thus a well-planned adobe wall of the appropriate thickness is very effective at controlling inside temperature through the wide daily fluctuations typical of desert climates, a factor which has contributed to its longevity as a building material. In addition, the exterior of an adobe wall can be covered with glass to increase heat collection. In a passive solar home, this is called a Trombe Wall.

PUEBLO

Pueblo is a term used to describe modern (and ancient) communities of Native Americans in the Southwestern United States of America. The first Spanish Explorers of the Southwest used this term to describe communities that consisted of apartment-like structures made from stone, adobe mud, and other local material. These structures were usually multi-storied buildings surrounding an open plaza and were occupied by hundreds to thousands of Pueblo People.

MESA

A mesa (Spanish and Portuguese for “table”) is an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape.  ‘

ARROYO

A Spanish word that translates to an intermittently dry creek.

KIVA

A kiva is a room used by modern Puebloans for religious rituals, many of them associated with the kachina belief system. Among the modern Hopi and most other Pueblo peoples, kivas are square-walled and underground, and are used for spiritual ceremonies. The term kiva is now commonly used to describe the traditional fireplaces of the Pueblo peoples.

LINTELS

Lintels (or, headers) are the horizontal members placed over window, door and other openings to carry loads to the adjoining walls. The depth of a lintel is determined by the width of the opening and vertical loads supported.

PASSIVE SOLAR

Passive solar technologies are means of using sunlight for useful energy without use of active mechanical systems (as contrasted to active solar). Such technologies convert sunlight into usable heat (water, air, thermal mass), cause air-movement for ventilating, or future use, with little use of other energy sources. A common example is a solarium on the equator-side of a building.  Passive cooling is the use of the same design principles to reduce summer cooling requirements.

TROMBE WALL

A Trombe wall is a sun-facing wall patented in 1881 by its inventor, Edward Morse, and popularized in 1964 by French engineer Félix Trombe and architect Jacques Michel. It is a massive wall separated from the outdoors by glazing and an air space, which absorbs solar energy and releases it selectively towards the interior at night.

Even single pane glass worked for this process because glass is transparent to visible light but less so to infra-red radiation (heat). Modern variations include insulating glass to retain more of the stored solar heat and high and low, sometimes operable, vents to allow convective heat transfer to the indoors.

Terms and definitions taken from Wikipedia.com



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