What Are Desert Houses Called? (7 Styles Explained)

The design and construction of your house should be intended to withstand the climate and the surrounding environment. This is why houses in the desert are built differently from houses in colder areas.

Deserts can be hot during the day, and then the temperature suddenly drops at night. This is why desert houses are specially designed to withstand harsh climates and extreme temperature changes.

Here are the different types and styles of desert houses and what makes each style distinct:

1. Kutcha House

A kutcha house is a type of house built using simple and natural materials. Some materials commonly used to construct a kutcha house include clay, mud, bamboo, and thatch.

These houses are considered low-cost shelters and are often found in rural areas. In developing countries, kutcha houses are associated with poverty because they are common in impoverished neighborhoods.

Because of the materials used, kutcha houses are generally more prone to damage from natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms.

However, these houses can withstand extremely high temperatures in the desert by providing natural cooling and insulation and adequately providing warmth when the temperatures suddenly drop.

2. Pucca House

A pucca house is normally constructed using more durable concrete, brick, stone, or cement materials.

These houses are generally sturdier and more resilient compared to kutcha houses, as they can withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and heavy storms.

Pucca houses are more expensive to build because the materials are not cheap and are more common in urban or more developed areas.

Pucca houses are ideal for deserts because, just like kutcha houses, they can withstand extreme heat and sudden temperature drops at night.

3. Adobe House

As the name suggests, an adobe house is constructed using adobe bricks as the primary material.

Adobe bricks are made from mud, straw, and other organic materials. Animal manure is sometimes included in the mixture to create these bricks.

Adobe houses are often characterized by simple lines designed with function and practicality in mind rather than aesthetics. All the exterior walls are made from adobe bricks.

The roofs are flat and are also made from the same material.

Compared to a kutcha house, an adobe house is sturdier and more resilient but less sturdy than a pucca house.

Because of the materials used, adobe houses are suitable for deserts with harsh climates because they have natural cooling and good thermal insulation.

However, these houses can be high-maintenance and prone to water damage because the materials used are porous.

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4. Pueblo-Style House

Pueblo-style houses have a similar look to adobe houses, but there are some slight differences between them.

A pueblo-style house is a flat-roofed house typically made from adobe or stucco. They often feature exposed wooden beams and come in natural and earthy colors that they easily blend in the desert environment.

These houses may look similar to adobe houses, but Pueblo-style ones are made to be more aesthetically pleasing while still being functional and practical.

These houses usually have design elements inspired by traditional Pueblo Indian architecture.

Adobe houses have sharped edged and angular shapes, while Pueblo-style houses have more rounded corners. Puebl0-style houses are also larger in terms of area compared to adobe houses.

Even with their decorative Pueblo Indian design elements, these houses are sturdy and resilient, plus they can withstand the climates in the desert.

5. Ranch-Style House

A ranch-style house is a type of house that originated in the United States. It is a popular house style in desert areas in the country.

Ranch-style houses are constructed using wood, brick, stucco, and stone. Some of these houses also incorporate metal into the construction.

These houses typically have one story and have distinctive features such as a low-slung profile and simple designs. Many houses have outdoor living spaces connected seamlessly with the indoor spaces through a large sliding door.

Meanwhile, the interiors often feature an open floor plan with the living room flowing into the dining area and kitchen.

While ranch-house are designed to withstand the harsh climates in deserts, their style is becoming popular that they have been adopted in other parts of the country, from urban areas to coastal neighborhoods.

6. Mediterranean-Style House

Mediterranean-style houses are in the architectural style you would commonly see in Greece, Spain, Italy, and other Mediterranean regions of Europe.

This style gained popularity in the United States during the 1920s, and you would commonly see them in desert areas because they are suitable for hot climates.

These houses are often constructed using clay and stucco, which provides good thermal insulation and natural cooling. Some distinctive features of these houses include terracotta tiles on the flooring and roofs and wrought iron for accents and decorations.

Like ranch-style houses, Mediterranean houses provide a good sense of indoor-to-outdoor living, with large entryways connecting the indoor spaces to the outdoors.

Many people gravitate towards this house style because they generally look good, have earthy colors and beautiful designs, and are practical and functional.

Today, Mediterranean houses are still quite popular in desert areas and different regions of the United States.

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7. Earthbag House

An earthbag house uses polypropylene bags filled with soil, sand, clay, and other natural materials.

These houses are built by placing or stacking the bags on each other and arranging them in a round shape. This makes the structure stable and strong.

Once the bags have formed the shape of the house, the walls are smoothened using plaster or stucco. This also helps protect the walls from damage and erosion.

As for roof construction, the materials commonly used for earthbag houses include metal, timber, and thatch.

Earthbag houses are affordable and sustainable, which makes them low-cost.

In terms of durability, these houses are sturdy enough to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms. They can also withstand fires.

Earthbag houses do well in deserts because they provide good thermal insulation. These houses can handle extremely high temperatures and sudden temperature changes at night.


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