There are many old unfired earth buildings in Ecuador made of the three basic techniques: adobe, rammed earth and cob with tile roofs. The modern way is to make everything of concrete or of fired adobe and concrete with corrugated tin roofs. Almost no one we found had first hand experience with unfired earth building. Like most places, it has just about gone extinct.
We were lucky enough to meet three partners who are rebirthing the art of rammed earth building, contracting incredibly beautiful homes.
They invited us to do a workshop at their compound where they had built various buildings for their homes and offices. We were enchanted by their works of art and include a few pictures here. Their website is They speak only spanish.

We returned to Ecuador for July and August 2002. Groundworks had an opportunity to sponsor a couple of workshops. An incredible outdoor kitchen was created at a hacienda called La Hesperia on the slopes of the Andes.
We pretended we knew Spanish (augmented with sign language and smiles). Everyone who attended was from South America, except for a few from Spain and one woman from Mexico. The participants went from being very shy and timid to creating wild incredible sculptures and making lots of cob in a short amount of time!
This was one of
Becky's favorite
buildings to date!

After the workshops we traveled to the high country where we were lucky enough to meet some indigenous Quichua people. They invited us to stay with them in their village (Quinchuque) at 11,000feet. After seeing photographs of cob, they said they wanted to learn how. After many days of pretending we knew Quichua....we came up with the idea of making a very basic cook stove.

They cook on smoky open fires inside their houses, burning firewood that seems to materialize by magic as there is barely a tree on all of the Andes.
The idea of getting the smoke out of the house and of making more efficient use of the little wood there was appealing. Much was learned in the process and great new friendships were made. We came home wanting to learn about making even more efficient stoves to share.

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