Although it is not known exactly how long, earth-bag shelters have been used for decades, primarily as implements of refuge in times of war.
Military infantrymen have used sand filled sacks to create bunkers and barriers for protection prior to World War I. In the last century other earth-bag buildings have undergone extensive research and are slowly beginning to gain worldwide recognition as a plausible solution to the global epidemic of housing shortages. German architect Frei Otto is said to have experimented with earth-bags, as is more recently Gernot Minke.
The technique’s current pioneer is Nader Khalili who originally developed the Superadobe system in 1984 in response to a NASA call for housing designs for future human settlements on the Moon and on Mars.