Chapter-1 Chapter-2 Chapter-3 Chapter-4 Chapter-5 Chapter-6 Chapter-7 Chapter-8 Chapter-9 Chapter-10 Chapter-11 Chapter –1
Introduction History Man’s oldest building material Mud housing technology Strength and Durability The context the region Applications Aesthetics Examples Case studies Conclusion Introduction
Mud has been the most essential of building materials since the dawn of the man. Nature set the example: termites built tower above ground and developed air circulation which prefigured modern ventilation processes; the ‘potter’ wasp and its cousin the ‘mud-mixer’ wasp used their mandible to knead and model vaults that were perfectly rounded, as if designed by architects.
From the earliest times men followed this example, he built dwellings, be they humble or elaborate, with materials that were closets at hand: out of fibers, leaves, stone or unbaked –‘sun dried’ –mud . Know –how was acquired and passed down. But, with the onset of the industrial revolution, bricks of baked clay and mass –produced materials such as cement, steel and glass gradually supplanted the basic elements of traditional construction. The development of transportation made it possible to bring building material from far away; while the use of modern components and specialized construction techniques brought about the loss of craftsmanship and art that had given each locale its sense of place. As the technical as well as the cultural roots of traditional architecture began to die out, the very shapes of buildings were transformed. But this trend cannot disguise the fact that unbaked mud is still the most viable building material for one –third of the world’s population-predominantly the poor who remain on the side-lines of money –economy that depends on manufactured materials. Furthermore, building with mud has become an important factor in planning new development.
Following the recent energy crises, technological progress has been made in certain countries, and the enthusiasm of architects and land developers has aided in the spread of these new techniques. Today we are able to choose between conventional ‘international architecture’ and a more ‘down to earth’ approach that combines reasonable cost with traditional cultural motifs in a modern way. But only people who live with the problem of hosing can make this choice, because they are the only ones who can create their way of life and decide how to project it through architecture. The day is coming when architecture will be for living, and not merely a spectator sport. Ruins, Restorations and Rushes Over one-third of the world’s population lives in mud houses, and this traditional construction method continues to thrive in most of the Third World. For modern Western technology has failed both financially and socially, to satisfy the increasing demand for cheap housing. In countries recently enriched by oil, these traditions have tended suddenly to disappear as happened in Europe during the 1930s and 1950s. They are nowadays- as then- replaced by architectural forms and technologies, which are considered to be indicative of social advancement, even though they are notoriously ill adapted to local climatic conditions. But the tide is changing, and since 1972 in the American Southwest groups of enthusiasts have brought about a revival of earth architecture for both communal and domestic uses. We are now, therefore, witnessing a series of simultaneous but discordant phenomena; in some regions of the world the architectural heritage is being abandoned or dying out, while in other countries earth buildings are now prized as important examples of universal wisdom, and are listed, restored and protected.
In addition, universities, academies and international institutions are attempting to forge a productive link between traditions and modernity. However, this enthusiasm sometimes leads to leads to the wildest parodies, committed by...