Khalili describes his quest to develop tools that would allow anyone to build a shelter utilizing the land. He sees fulfilling this basic need true architecture. He shows slides which explain the background of his investigation and experimentation, and his projects. He discusses the philosophy of permanence within the indigenous architecture of the Pueblo people and the desert communities in Iran. He discusses how these cultures value permanence within their structures, while utilizing the principles of gravity.
Khalili discusses the principles by which towns in Iran were created, which allowed for harmony with nature and resistance to extreme weather or natural disasters. Although adobe structures are more resistant to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, Khalili points out their main flaw is their inability to withstand rain and inclement weather. Khalili decided to learn from the indigenous people of the land began to wonder what was missing within this type of design. He discussed his goal to create stronger structures, and his theory of utilizing the element of firein order to achieve this goal.
Khalili discusses the workshops he conducted at the edge of the desert where he replicated existing building typologies through various experimentation with clay. His goal was to create monolithic structures which could withstand horizontal forces. He began research into the firing of kilns and began to wonder how to achieve the firing of buildings, similar to that of pottery, and discovered an ancient technique of firing from tunnels below ground. He began to fire houses from within and found that not only did it provide strength to the existing structures by removing moisture from within, that it also served as a hygienic element which served to eliminate the problem of insects and rodents.
Khalili discusses the next step of his research of utilizing the four elements of nature within architecture, which was to design and build a building. He began the design of an elementary school and employed only masons and adobe craftsmen. He designed the spaces incorporating a downdraft system, arches, vaults and domes. The builders utilized only one wooden plank for the building of the structure, as well as his arm length as reference to human scale. The classrooms were laid out in order to share common walls for added strength. Khalili also discusses the necessity for learning the proper way to fire a space.