Candide —
Journal for Architectural Knowledge

Candide No. 13 — 09/2022 — Portfolio

Gernot Minke
Traditional and Modern Techniques for Building Vaults and Domes from Earth

Techniques for building vaults and domes from adobes have been known for thousands of years. In the last few years some of these techniques have been improved and adopted for modern building by reducing material and labor costs and optimizing their structural behavior.
This essay presents the Nubian vault technique, which was optimized and applied to modern projects in India, South America, and Germany. It further presents dome building techniques, historically used in Persia and Afghanistan, that have since been applied to modern housing in Germany, and a new technique for building domes with a span of up to thirteen meters diameter and a wall thickness of only thirty centimeters without formwork utilizing a special rotational guide. More than forty domes of this type have been built so far in Germany, Slovakia, Greece, India, Egypt, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.

Candide No. 13, 09/2022