Nader Khalili (1936-2008) is the world-renowned Iranian-American architect, author, humanitarian, teacher, and innovator of the Geltaftan Earth-and-Fire system known as Ceramic Houses, and of the Superadobe construction system. Khalili received his philosophy and architectural education in Iran, Turkey, and the United States.
He developed the simple breakthrough building technologies known as Superadobe (sandbags and barbed wire) and Ceramic Houses, with the freely available material of earth, for almost thirty years. Inspired by the poetry of the 12th century mystic Rumi, who wrote in his native Persian language, Khalili served as a consultant to the U.N. (UNIDO) and a contributor to NASA, as well as directing the Architectural Research Program (ARP) at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture).
For his work in Earth and Ceramic Architecture since 1975, he received awards from organizations such as the CCAIA for "Excellence in Technology," the U.N. and HUD for "Shelter for the Homeless," the ASCE (Aerospace Division) for his work in lunar base building technology, and most recently the Aga Khan award for architecture for "Sandbag Shelter Prototypes".
Through his work, Nader Khalili has inspired a global movement and left a rich body of philosophy, design and innovative construction technology.
Nader Khalili’s Message
The world's focus on Global Warming with its unpredictable future is happening while the world is trying to recuperate from the catastrophic central Asian Earthquake as well as the Asian Tsunami, which also happened on the anniversary of the great Bam earthquake in Iran. Tens of thousands have lost their lives — most communities wiped out in a matter of minutes or hours. The hurricanes on the South Coast of the United States have created an unprecedented disaster requiring great cost and effort to deal with. Added to this are the Central American hurricanes, refugees in Darfur, as well as continuous victims of AIDS who leave behind huge numbers of homeless orphans.
Emergency help has been rushing and criss-crossing the globe to find survivors — doctoring, feeding, crowding them into temporary shelters and relocating them. There are not enough tents in the world to shelter the latest Central Asian earthquake victims who are facing more disaster from the winter freeze and winds.
The greatest costs of rebuilding after the disasters goes to the infrastructure and human shelter.
The need is ever more urgent to build self-help, emergency shelters which can become sustainable, permanent structures and are more resistant to more disasters.
The accelerating rate of disasters in the world and the historical increase in the loss of human life and property, must create a sense of urgency for the U.N. and other agencies to pay serious attention to alternative ways of building.
There is a Sustainable Solution to Human Shelter, based on Timeless Materials (earth, water, air and fire) and Timeless Principles (arches, vaults and domes). Every man and woman should be able to build a shelter for his or her family with these universal elements, almost anywhere on the earth and other planets. These principles, interpreted into the simplest form of building technology have created emergency shelter which can become permanent houses, and which have passed strict tests and building codes. Since 1975 we have been dedicated to researching and developing this low-cost, self-help, eco-friendly technology which can resist disasters, and to offer it to humanity. The only missing link is to educate humans how to use these timeless techniques, developed at Cal-Earth Institute, to fit their own culture and environment.