Cal Earth

Cal-Earth Workshops

"If you find yourself at a Cal-Earth workshop it is because you have a dream, a passion to learn. In one week you can gain skills and network with people to give your dreams real shape. For this reason I think the workshop was stellar. Led by fabulous and wise instructors, I was able to make with my hands and my new friends the images I saw on the website. I gained confidence that even I can do this and I can continue to dream."

-Cal-Earth Workshop participant


Education and training are essential to Cal-Earth's vision. We believe that shelter is a basic human right and that every person should be able to build a home for him or herself. For those interested in learning to build with the earth, Cal-Earth offers intensive workshops throughout the year. Give us a few days of your time and we will teach you hands-on how to build your home, your school, or your community with the earth beneath your feet.

Don't have four days or one week to spare? Try a weekend introductory workshop first--the tuition can be applied to any longer program in the future.

Cal-Earth also offers the opportunity to participate in a long-term apprenticeship course following completion of one of our workshops. For more information visit the long-term program page.

Cal-Earth Workshops

What happens during a Cal-Earth Workshop?
These are hands-on retreats for people who want to learn to build from earth and the elements. The workshops give the chance to focus on learning the unique Earthbuilding (Superadobe) techniques developed at Cal-Earth as well as traditional earth building techniques, in the serene and instructive setting of the Cal-Earth prototypes. Mentored by the works and words of Nader Khalili, and taught by Cal-Earth's associates and teachers, the holistic learning methods during the intensive retreat continuously convey techniques and concepts to the participant, through all five senses at once. Four thousand years of earth architecture and ceramics, Geltaftan and Superadobe technologies, rammed earth, and adobe are transformed within the student in a brief period into the designs of the future.

What are the subjects taught?
Below is a list of topics covered in our workshops. Teaching methods are in the tradition of Nader Khalili with philosophy, design theory, and principles taught through the expression of the hands-on experience.

Topics Covered:

  • The principle of the arch
  • Superadobe basics
  • Soils practicum and discussion
  • Super-adobe with stabilized earth
  • Plaster workshop with stabilized earth
  • Learning to read blueprints, elements of design, placing windows and doors
  • Contrasting domes with vaults, vaulted roofing system, dome geometry
  • Site planning, orientation, simple solar passive strategies
  • Compass theory and application
  • Waterproofing, foundations
  • Ceramics discussion and Introduction
  • Building with brick

Cal-Earth Workshops

2015 Workshop Dates:

Feb 18-21 (4 day)
March 14-15 (weekend)
March 16-21 (week)
April 11-12 (weekend)

April 18-26 (2nd annual Rocket Stove Combined)

May 11-16
May 23-24 (first ever weekend emergency shelter)
June 15-20 (week)
June 27-28 (weekend)
July 8-11 (4 day)
Sept. 14-19 (week)
Oct. 5-17 Permaculture
Nov. 16-21 (week)

Registration Process:

  1. Fill out the official Cal-Earth application
  2. Pay the required $200 deposit
  3. Once we review your application, we will send you additional information about the workshop
  4. Your tuition balance is due on the first day of the workshop (cash, check, or money order)

Tuition Costs per person:
Weekend Workshop: $250
Four Day Workshop: $1100
One Week Workshop: $1600
Rocket Stove Combined: $1800 ($500 for alumni)
Permaculture Cobined: $2300 early registration/$2500
Extended Workshop: $2700 (One Month)
Long Term Apprenticeship Program: $4500-$5500 (based on season)
Groups of 2 or more receive a 10% discount per person
A limited amount of 25% work study scholarships are available
Also a limited amount of 25% partial gift scholarships are available

Included in the tuition is a full set of educational books and DVDs from Cal-Earth. Additionally, breakfast is provided each morning of the workshop, and on-site accommodations are available. For more general information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Extended Workshops
In certain cases the apprenticeship programs may be extended to finish hands-on projects or continue into a long-term internship program where the apprentice is involved with a specific Cal-Earth research and prototype project. This option is only available if there is space in the on-campus housing during the months of Feburary, May, and September.

Staying On-Site
Short term accommodation at Cal Earth is offered in our emergency shelter domes, at no additional cost. Historically, these small structures were built in order to explore and demonstrate emergency shelter possibilities and are, as such, unfinished, rough and raw structures. As they are emergency shelters, they are subject to the climate. The structures may or may not be waterproof or insulated depending on when/why they were built. Anyone wishing to stay in these structures must understand their condition and plan accordingly by bringing weather appropriate materials needed for comfort. We do not provide bedding, mats or any manner of camping equipment. Please be self-sufficient, realistic, and plan properly. In addition, you are welcome to bring your own tent and camp on-site. There is no electricity in the domes but the main house on-site has electricity as well as a full kitchen and bathroom with shower. There is also wireless internet available if you would like to bring a laptop. After you are accepted you will be contacted to arrange your on-site accommodations if you choose that option.

Refund Policy
If for some reason you are unable to attend the workshop you registered for, your deposit may also be applied to another course that same year if you notify Cal-Earth at least two weeks before the start of a course.

If you wish to withdraw completely and cannot reschedule, $100 of your deposit will be refunded (to cover the cost of the study materials sent when you registered) if you notify Cal-Earth two weeks prior to the start of the workshop. Any cancellations within two weeks of the workshop will not be refunded. The full amount of your deposit will only be returned if for some reason you are not accepted to the program.


From Los Angeles take 10E or 210E to HWY 15N
(dir. Barstow/Las Vegas), Hesperia MAIN ST EXIT Right, follow the Cal-Earth/Hesperia City Signs.
DRIVE one mile, Topaz Left, Live Oak Left, Baldy Lane Right at Cal-Earth sign.

Closest airport: Ontario, CA
1hr. drive, airport shuttle, or bus to Victorville.
Arrive at Cal-Earth Institute Site:
10177 Baldy Lane
Hesperia, CA 92345
Tel: (760)956-7533

Cal-Earth Directions

Recommended Local Hotels/Camping Facilities:

Courtyard By Marriott (760) 956-3876
9619 Mariposa Road. Hesperia, CA
Special Rate: $79+tax. Please mention the "Cal-Earth" rate at time of booking.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott: (760) 948-8982
9625 Mariposa Rd. Hesperia, CA.
Special Rate: $94+tax. Please mention the "Cal-Earth" rate at time of booking.

The Holiday Inn Express: (760) 244-7674
12750 Main Street, Hesperia

La Quinta Inland Suites: (760) 949-9900
12000 Mariposa Rd., Hesperia.

The Green Tree Inn: (760) 245-3461
14173 Green Tree Boulevard, Victorville.

Hesperia Lake Park Camping: (760) 244-5951
RV and barbecue facilities, fishing in lake.
20 minute drive from Cal-Earth.

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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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