Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Bernard Amadei

Second Advisor

John McCartney

Third Advisor

Abbie Liel


Earthen building has evolved with mankind and creates housing opportunities world-wide. Building with stabilized compressed earthen blocks (SCEBs) is becoming more popular due to the low cost, relative abundance of materials, and quality product performance. The need for a standardized method of soil selection, SCEB production procedure, and subsequent quality control is apparent. This thesis serves multiple purposes by: (i) contributing to the growing field of alternative building design; (ii) motivating the need for a standardized framework of production methods with associated quality standards; (iii) proposing a formal testing methodology or matrix for establishing a successful earthen block project; and (iv) introducing special topics that the author believes deserve additional attention. The proposed testing matrix is applied to soil samples provided by two Native American communities (Crow and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes). Developing a systematic design approach and testing regime validates earthen building technology as a reliable option for providing low-cost housing.