Children at CalEarth
What is Cal-Earth?
THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF EARTH ART & ARCHITECTURE (Cal-Earth) is an educational program of the non-profit Geltaftan Foundation, dedicated to research and educating the public on environmentally oriented arts and architecture. Its scope spans design and development of housing for the world's homeless to technical innovations acclaimed by NASA for lunar base construction. Founded and directed by the internationally renowned architect and author, Nader Khalili in 1986, its philosophy is based on the equilibrium of the natural elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, and their Unity at the service of the arts and humanity. Children are our greatest students and hopes for the future.
What will the children learn?
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS: The Children will learn through the life size examples of the Cal-Earth buildings about living in harmony with the environment: How to build and live with only what they find around them in the natural environment, and the principles of how to utilize the natural elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, to create a Utopia. How to use earth as building material, wind in wind-catchers, solar energy for glazing buildings and for cooling them, shade for making ice reserve systems, earth and clay as the most precious resource. "Earth is not dirt, it is better than gold".
BUILDING WITH EARTH: The children learn how to build their home with arches, vaults and domes, using the earth under their feet as the alternative material to timber, steel, or concrete. And how to use the Superblock construction system, adobe techniques and how to make adobe plaster. Because the systems developed and tested at Cal-Earth are simple, direct, and understood through the hands and senses children are our best students. They learn faster than any adults!
EMERGENCY HOUSING: The children learn how, with a few bags and a shovel they can build a flood and fire-proof, earthquake and hurricane resistant emergency shelter for themselves, their family and their community in a few hours.
STOPPING DEFORESTATION: The image we all learn to draw as a child is a pitched roof, a square window, and a chimney. If we can change that image to a rainbow arch, half the forests of the world can be saved for future generations.
How are the children taught?
LEARNING HOLISTICALLY: The teaching method at Cal-Earth uses all five senses together. All students from children to Khalili's apprentices and associates learn by touching, inhabiting, making, listening, and observing. Synectics — the art of putting together seemingly unrelated, subjects teaches us to think creatively; in his way the world's top scientists design by feeling for their subject, and mystic poets such as the Persian language poets Rurni, create poetry filled with meaning and knowledge.
How can a school group get involved?
School groups and other institutions or groups can register for a tour, morning, or day-long workshop (see registration from). Schools may also undertake projects in the c1assroom or school site using Cal-Earth's educational tools — books, videos, modelmaking kits, and full-size building kits.
Some responses from the children ...
"I don't want to draw a pitched roof. I love the dome..."
"It's impossible to break an egg with the dome in the palm of your hand. I made a dome house. I made a water house too..."
"Thank you for explaining how we can save the earth by not using only wood for houses ... like the arches and the mud and filling the sand bags thank you for letting us..."
"I liked getting in the mud. I liked putting on the plaster..."
Life Size — the class experiences a 20ft dome from above
"This is not just playing in a sandbox. We want to teach children and their parents how they can build a home out of sandbags that will resist earthquakes, fires and flooding."
~ Nader Khalili, Director. Victor Valley Daily Press
BUILDING WITH EARTH: Emergency Housing
Fourth graders build with Superblocks
"Imagine this: 30 kids organizing, working together and building a home without so much as a single argument. The only yelling and screaming heard from these kids were made in excitement."
~ Hesperia Resorter
"'It's really a wave of the future. With the forests being reduced the way they are we have to look at alternatives,' said Hesperia mayor.."
~ San Bernadino Sun
- Upcoming Events
- What is Superadobe?
- Subscribe to the Cal-Earth Newsletter
- Learn to Build with Superadobe
- Purchase Educational Materials
- Apply for Workshop
- Cal-Earth Newsletters
"Earth is not dirt,
it is better than gold"