DIDACTIC INITIATIVES OF THE SPANISH UNESCO CHAIR OF EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE

C. Mileto, F. Vegas, V. Cristini, L. García Soriano

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
Earthen architecture in its many variants and different techniques (i.e. adobe, rammed earth, torchis) has been undoubtedly present for centuries in different buildings scattered throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Nevertheless, these constructive techniques, are practically unknown by the students of the schools of architecture, in spite of their wide diffusion, environmental adaptation and great level of conservation. The authors of this paper, within the framework of UNESCO Spanish Chair “Earthen architecture, construction cultures and sustainable development”, have carried out a series of educational activities to disseminate a scientific and technical know-how on earthen architecture. The aims of all these actions, thanks to a wide range of communicative and didactical approaches, have been focused on training programmes both for communitiy of the university ( UPV- Valencia-Spain) as well as for infant/primary schools. During the last academic year (2013-2014) the activities carried out at university level (School of Architecture/UPV) were developed in two parallel lines. On the one hand, a cycle of monthly conferences was organized to promote learning of earthen constructive techniques and preservation projects, according to participatory methodology and active learning. On the other hand, the Chair has offered three workshops in which students could experience and learn different earthen constructive techniques, mainly adobe and rammed earth options, thanks to hands-on activities. A final workshop, focused on the “real” development of a school project built with earth, has rounded off this methodology. Last but not least, at the non-university level, others workshops have been developed, helping children to understand earth and its potential as construction material, thanks to playful didactic activities, adapted to school levels.