Why Did the Hopi and Pueblo Use Mud Bricks to Build Their Homes?

Dwellings constructed of mud bricks offered the Hopi and Pueblo Native Americans durable, well-insulated and water-resistant homes. Mud bricks are called adobe.

Adobe bricks consist of clay and straw formed into bricks, then dried in the sun. These bricks are then used to construct the house. Clay is then used to cement the structure and an outer seal.

Adobe construction offered many advantages in a warm, sunny climate that had no materials used to construct other Native American homes, such as grass for grass houses, bark for longhouses or lumber for plank houses. The dry conditions in the American Southwest helped to dry the bricks quickly.

This technique offered many practical advantages in the finished product. Adobe is fireproof and durable. Because the bricks shrink as they dry, they do not shrink later, which is the cause of wear and damage seen in other types of bricks. Additionally, they regulate heat well and offer excellent sound insulation. Adobe is also water resistant.

Adobe construction fit the lifestyle of the Hopi and Pueblo tribes as well. Because they weren't a nomadic people and stayed in one place for long periods of time, their houses were built to last. This is in contrast to teepees of the Plains tribes, for example, which were ready to be broken down and moved elsewhere at any time.