Understanding Earth Architecture
People since the ancient time have used earth related materials such as clay, sand, straw and compressed earth. There are various books and events in the history that are dedicated to this unique theme of earth architecture. Romain Anger and Laetitia Fontaine have also penned a book based on earth architecture - Batir en Terre. The book includes the architectural description of the Shibam town in Yemen and offers a detailed explanation of the physio-chemical properties of earth.
Some prominent examples of Earth construction have been projects such as de Paor architects’ Pavilion for the Venice Bienale, which was built out of 21 tons of Irish peat. Another example is ‘The Ethics of Dust’ by the Otero-Pailos which displays interiors with dust in latex assembled as an interior facade. Considering earth architecture, the ingredients that form the essential part of the construction works would range from smoke, dankness, debris, exhaust, weeds and insects, factors that in reality constitutes the environment. Also, Earth Architecture can’t be explained without mentioning the world’s greatest earthen building – The Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali, Africa.
The ancient innovative earth buildings compel us to think of the odor of soil and the emissions from our body as the basic components of future architecture. One more aspect that runs deep into Earth Architecture is its characteristics of creating a climate conscious architecture, which while considering the present condition, acts in accordance with the climatic situation of global warming. Moreover, the aspect also helps in understanding and finding unique solutions to reduce desertification in the various regions such as the Sahel region of Africa, thus preventing the winds from damaging the land and making it inhabitable for the people there.