Little is more ubiquitous and mundane than dirt. And yet, earth accounts for a substantial amount of building construction today, however much it has fallen out of favor with the "developed world."
Annually, a conference in France challenges us to rethink earth construction. Members of RAI Studio in Tehran recently participated in the Festival of Earth Architecture (remember last year?), an event that looks at the planet from what seems like an archaic perspective, and sculpts inspiring shelters with an unassuming material.
The Festival of Earth Architecture, now in its twelfth year, was held from May 29 – June 02. Hosted by CRAterre (the International Center on Earthen Architecture), it attracted visitors of all ages and backgrounds to come and learn about natural building techniques and materials, as well as related digital interventions.
CRAterre itself is a research laboratory exploring topics related to earthen architecture. It is based in the National Superior School of Architecture in Grenoble, and combines the efforts of lecturers, professionals, and students to explore the properties and potential of raw earth construction techniques.
The festival is an outreach event, and aims to educate the public about not only their efforts, but also their field of study in general – and encourages them to quite literally “get their hands dirty” to develop a tactile, playful, and comprehensive rapport with the earth.
Collaborative hands-on projects were a major component of the event, and allowed visitors to explore building with adobe and bamboo. The exhibits are built in place for semi-permanent display.
For a look at the fun that some of RAI Studio had, check out the images below:
Photos courtesy of Pouya Khazaeli.
For more information about the festival, visit CRAterre's event page.
UPDATE 27 June 2013
And, because it's only a festival installation, these lovely structures have to at some point be taken down. Rai Studio comes prepared for the arch shelter's demo - but you still come away with a sense of the material, even as it's being pulled apart – enjoy!
(The man with the sledge hammer is Patrice Doat, founder of CRAterre.)