Handmade sun-dried bricks formed from a mixture of heavy clay and straw found in arid regions. As a building material, adobe dates back thousands of years and is found in many parts of the world. Molds for shaping the bricks were brought to the New World by the Spanish. Excellent insulating properties make adobe an ideal material for both dwellings and ovens; home interiors retain heat in winter and stay cool in summer. The adobe buildings at Taos, N.M., are typical of Native American pueblo dwellings.