The choice of building material defines who profits from this transaction – and therefore ultimately determines the level of equality within a society.
As architects, we have a responsibility to actively pursue construction that promotes sustainability and empowerment, celebrating collaboration and social capital. The current modes of construction in concrete and steel can no longer continue for lack of available resources: sand, gravel and energy from fossil fuels. In contrast, earthen construction is a traditional and local, and therefore sustainable, building method that has rarely been given serious consideration as a building material for urban contexts in contemporary research.
We firmly believe that this aesthetically pleasing, technologically advanced, climatically relevant, and common-sense material could engender a radical re-imagining of contemporary cities.
This project imagines a future where earthen cities are produced by their citizens – an perhaps radical, experimental utopia of urban transformation. The contribution comprises material samples, images, collaged visions, and a 1:1 scale mockup. This full-scale, rammed-earth mock-up will show a minimalistic living room imagined for an urban context. With this, we want to show how a scaling-up of current earthen construction technologies is technically feasible in an urban setting through the prefabrication of elements. The construction allows Biennale visitors to submerge into an alternative conception of the home and the significantly reduced amount of space necessary to feel comfort when the material properties of earth are fully exploited. This project thus reflects on the potentials of rammed earth as a building material, showcasing both current state-of-the-art practices as well as a vision for the future on the urban scale.