Cal Earth

Cal-Earth also offers the possibility of a 12 week long-term apprenticeship course (a 4 week long program is also available, see bottom of page for details) The long-term apprenticeship program at Cal-Earth is an immersion opportunity. The program is developed to offer greater understanding of Superadobe work through in-depth training.

Benefits: The long-term apprenticeship enables a candidate to undergo a succession of at least 2 intensive workshops including teaching and instruction opportunities during those workshops, as well as much more hands-on building and exposure to instructors. In addition, the long-term program allows time for relationships to form between the apprentice and Cal Earth and for career opportunities to develop as a result of this relationship. (i.e. design work, teaching workshops in the US and abroad). This program is ideal for students who are able to put in the time and effort to fully immerse themselves in each aspect of Superadobe building.

The long term apprenticeship program is geared more to those who might like to make a career out of this work or who might like to teach and train others in sustainable or "green building". Additionally, the program will prepare you to lead a larger and more complex project-perhaps for a client or community. Space in the long term program is limited to 4-6 students per term. Please apply as early as possible so our small staff can have ample time to review your application and go through the interview process.

Upcoming Programs:

Fall 2015
September 14-December 6 (approx: exact dates may change)

Spring 2016
February 17-May 7 (approx: exact dates may change)

Fall 2016
September Start
(12 weeks dates TBD)

Spring 2017
February Start
(12 weeks dates TBD)

Length: 12 weeks

Tuition Fees

Fall 2015: $5000
(includes full Permaculture Design Course with certification - $1300 value)

Spring 2016: $4500
(includes Rocket Stove Workshop)

Some partial gift and work study scholarships are available in circumstances of financial difficulty.

Registration Process:

Fill out the application pay the $400 deposit


Once you have registered, you will be contacted by the Cal-Earth instructor with all the additional information regarding the workshop (travel details, what to bring, etc.)

Once these items are received, we will contact you confirming your reserved spot in the workshop only. All students must be interviewed before they are accepted into any long term programs.

Acceptance will be based on spaces available and the interview.

Program Overview
While each season is unique based on the needs and on-going projects at Cal-Earth, the long-term program typically includes hands-on dome and vault construction. The program is broken down into three main phases. The 12 week program begins with a 4 day intensive workshop, followed by approximately 3-4 weeks of Superadobe fundamentals and the construction of a dome through completion. The design phase and vault construction is the last part of the program and is informed by the cumulative knowledge gained during the first 6 weeks. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to learn about many aspects of both planning and building processes including:

Topics Covered

Dome/Vault Design Principles
Reading Blueprints
Design and Drafting Practice
Estimating Cost and Materials
Soil Testing and Structural Analysis
Passive heating and cooling strategies
Project Management
Work-site safety considerations

Topics Covered

Foundation and Leveling Techniques
Drainage and Waterproofing Strategies
Dome and vault construction preparation strategies
Vault form construction
Buttress construction
Superadobe advanced techniques
Vault roof slab construction
Window and Door installation

Tentative Schedule
Fall 2015 Program

Week 1: 4 day intensive workshop
Week 2: Dome Build
Week 3: Dome Build
Week 4: Permaculture Workshop
Week 5: Permaculture Workshop
Week 6: Vault
Week 7: Vault
Week 8: Vault
Week 9: Vault
Week 10: Intensive Workshop
Week 11: Vault
Week 12: Vault

Day to Day Schedule:

The schedule is 6 days a week and includes days dedicated to research and development, construction and maintenance of Superadobe structures on Cal-Earth site, personal Superadobe projects arranged with instructors, and general tasks to help with the upkeep of Cal-Earth campus. In addition to laying bag, the long-term apprenticeship program offers the opportunity to learn many other building skills as they arise during on-site project days.

Housing accommodation for the long-term apprentices is included in the tuition. The student housing facility includes a small single bedroom per student with bedding and a desk, plus a shared bathroom, common area and shared kitchen. The common areas will be shared with up to three other students. Students will "camp" on site in the emergency shelter domes for the first workshop. (For more information on the workshops, click here.) After successful completion of the first workshop, they will move into the long term student housing for the duration of their stay. Breakfast will be provided during the workshops only; all other meals during the long term stay are the responsibility of the student.

One Month Extended Program

The extended program is intended to provide a deeper understanding of the topics covered in the one-week workshop and provides an opportunity for further interaction with instructors and long-term apprentices. This program is ideal for students who are interested in extending their stay past the workshop, but are not able to remain for the full Three Month Long-Term Program.

Dates and Length of Stay
The One Month Extended Workshop is 4 weeks and begins with a workshop. The extended program is typically only available in February, June, and September, and only at the discretion of our Site Director, Ian Lodge.

Workshop dates can be found on our home page.

One month students generally stay in the emergency shelter sleeping pods for the entire month and must bring their own bedding. These are empty shell structures with no services, comparable to Superadobe tents. Breakfast will be provided during both workshops; all other meals are the responsibility of the student. Food can be stored in the community refrigerator. There will be a community kitchen and bathroom available to extended workshop students.

Tuition Fees
The tuition fee for the extended program is $2,700. This includes the workshop and joining the long term apprentices for the first 3 weeks of their program which covers superadobe fundamentals and dome construction. (does not include vault).

How to Apply
1) Fill out our application. Indicate in your essay that you would like to be interviewed to stay for the one-month extended program.

2) Make a $250 deposit payment.

3) Once these items are received, we will contact you confirming your reserved spot in the workshop only. Students will be accepted into the long term program after the interview process is complete. All students must be interviewed before they are accepted into any long term programs.

Acceptance will be based on spaces available and the interview.

Short Term Programs

Weekend Introduction to Superadobe

Superadobe Intensive Workshop
(Week Long or 4 day Abridged)

Long Term Programs

One Month In-Depth Program

3 Month Earth Architecture Apprenticeship

Specialty Programs

Rocket Stove Combined Workshop

Permaculture Certification Combined Workshop

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Cal-Earth Inc. / Geltaftan Foundation | Hesperia, California

Superadobe technology was designed and developed by architect Nader Khalili and Cal-Earth Institute, and engineered by P.J. Vittore. Superadobe is a patented system (U.S. patent #5,934,027) freely put at the service of humanity and the environment. Licensing is required for commercial use.

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