TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE GROUP

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INTBAU World Congress
in association with TAG

Local Solutions to Global Challenges
London, 18-19 February 2015

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PROFESSOR ALEJANDRO GARCIA HERMIDA — INTBAU SPAIN, TERRACHIDIA, UNIVERSIDAD ALFONSO X EL SABIO

Prof. Alejandro García Hermida (Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio and INTBAU Spain) discussed the community-based work that he undertakes with the NGO Terrachidia, restoring and rebuilding examples of earthen architecture in the vernacular style in desert oases in southern Morocco. Alejandro and his team have witnessed how well-suited earth architecture is to the southern Moroccan context, and how the current propensity to build in concrete is resulting in buildings that are unusable in summer months.

Specialised in Heritage Preservation and in the Archeology of Architecture, Alejandro Garcia Hermida has been working as an architect since 2008. He is also an Associate Professor at the Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio (Madrid).
Alejandro Garcia Hermida is Vice Chjair, and a founding member of INTBAU Spain. He is also a member of the board of Terrachidia Association, an independent and self-financed initiative to keep the richness of traditional architecture and building techniques alive. The association's main teaching program is based in Morocco, were Terrachidia supports 14cal building masters, and helps with the diffusion of their knowledge by putting them in relation with students
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Audio

Summary Notes

  • Building crafts have to be learnt from a local master. But in Spain traditional knowledge ismostly lost
  • Main programme in South of Morocco – a remote place where traditional building crafts are still alive. The location is in the Valley of the river Daff – Atlas Mountains -  Sahara Desert
  • A landscape with a harsh climate of heat and sandstorms
  • But it could be paradise
  • Traditional places here are simply made but very intelligent. Eg traditional house around small courts
  • Now standard buildings of concrete are promoted. Concrete is promoted as reflecting city. Concrete shows we can afford it – and conveys status
  • Our main activity craft development and to recover what was abandoned
  • Cultivation of land lost and leaks damage houses
  • We work in public places to restore them to make public. Eg. Gates to cities are gathering places
  • Funds come from participants in project
  • The young work under master builders. Previously they only knew modern construction methods
  • The project promotes tourism and sustainable development and provides education for those coming from abroad and for local people
  • The techniques of brick, bamboo, earth, render,  rammed earth
  • Now we have discovered the best mix for external render
  • Cultural tradition – eg mosques with hypostyles
  • Organise two weeks workshop restoring public works, Eg. Gates, meeting places so everyone benefits
  • People from all over the world come -  you are welcome.