Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi Arabia

By William Facey


Until 1986, the farmhouse al-‘Udhaibat was a tumbledown, neglected mud-brick ruin, no different from many other such old buildings which have survived in Saudi Arabia.

It was unmaintained and — as all buildings of sun-dried mud will, if left — was quietly sliding into oblivion. The restoration of this farmhouse developed into a complex project, with important implications for rural housing and the place of traditional materials in modern building. Al-‘Udhaibat has become a source of inspiration for the new generation of Saudi architects. This lavishly illustrated book, aimed at architects, planners, and general readers alike, uses the history of al-‘Udhaibat to examine the role of vernacular style in modern architecture; traditional techniques of adobe building; issues in adobe restoration and re-building; and the future of adobe in the modern world.

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