Adobe wall at San Sebastián Bernal, Queretaro, Mexico

(Jump to the bottom of the page to see the adobe wall you came here for, else read on).

Last week, we visited a friend’s project being built of Bamboo at Bernal. The small town of under 3K inhabitants boasts of beautiful plazas and great food! In the background lies a huge rock; Pena de Bernal, is the second tallest monolith of the world. It forms a part of la Sierra Gorda range.   The historic town has a certain vitality largely owing to its materiality.  An architecture of permanence with local materials has evolved here paralelly with other locales; the permanence is well composed in stone and lime and ocassionally with mud. I have been finding masonry-poetry in stone and lime in every town around here so far. However, considering the small population and size, the variety in stone masonry is quite facinating.

The landscape around is quite dry, thanks to a under 500mm annual rainfall. Yet the town seems to have developed a way of living with sufficent urban greenery. Getting up on a roof reveals more; container gardens (though largely ornamental) and xeriscaped roof gardens.

Great creativity in making rooftop planters. Lot of waste is being reused, repurposed, upcycled.. (whatever you call it). I found some made with wooden crates. Some planters made with stone chips as well. A great way to complement the stone wall!

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Small vacant lots on the periphery have corn growing here and there and others have pens for livestock.

Ah food, they say that the Gorditas here are better than the ones in the city. It is fast becoming my favourite food here. The choice of the Guiso (fillings) is large and varies from place to place. The Gorditas el negritos here are from a dark blueish variey of corn. Gorditas are smaller, and very filling. 15 minutes into the lunch and I am stuffed! I have come to realize why the lunch breaks last as long as 2 hours here :-). Might as well take the break when you can do nothing but feel stuffed for a while. The drink is a sweetend rice broth with a nice cool flavor to it. Well.. to come to the point..I am so glad to spot this adobe wall. Looks old!

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Here are my stories behid the wall’s construction. After building a home with dressed stone, there might have been plenty of chipped stone available. Maybe this is how they decided to use these leftovers (I get the hint from some bricks, tiles etc all laid in). Great idea to avoid construction debis heading to a landfill! Or maybe there just were not enough stone lefotvers for a high wall and they made some adobes to fill in.

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Or maybe this is all as intended.. The stone layers protect the sandwitched adobe blocks. There is a lot of silt in the soils commonly found around here which I think can make adobes tricky to make and build with. While the rainfall is low, the place is prone to thunderstorms. The roughness caused by the stone surely slows down water and reduces erosion of the walls. Hoping to finding more!



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