Ancient passive house construction
About one thousand years ago, the Taos Pueblo established a town using massive adobe masonry walls. Nowadays, one-hundred fifty people still live here, twenty of them year-round. Cooling comes from keeping the heat out and letting in the cold air at night. The thick walls retain the heat of the internal gains, people and open fires (currently wood stoves are allowed).
An arid climate with snow and seasonal downpours results in buildings with flat roofs and large scuppers.
Adobe bricks are made of sand, earth, and a fibrous material such as straw, then laid out to dry under the abundant sun.
Thick masonry walls allow multi-story construction.
Traditionally, Pueblo buildings were accessed up a ladder and through an opening in the roof. Solid doors are one of the few allowed alterations.
The earth oven and shade structure are part of the original. Wood stairs and the church crosses visible in the background date from the Spanish conquest.