Bandeau Terra Education 4

Conference Registration




Terra Education IV is the 4th event of its kind, organised under the aegis of the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture, Building Cultures andSustainable Development" and to mark the 40th anniversary of the creation of the post-master's degree in earthen architecture.

Since the middle of the last century, efforts have been made to better exploit the potential of earth as a building material. Following in the footsteps of the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy or the Chilean engineer Raul Ramirez, inventor of the Cinva Ram brick press, and inspired by the vernacular habitats of many countries, the founders of CRAterre embarked in the 1970s on research aimed at producing knowledge that could be widely disseminated[1]. The first publications were a success and inspired numerous initiatives around the world. Among these, the creation of the post-master's course in earthen architecture (1984) and then the CRAterre laboratory at the Grenoble School of Architecture (1986) were decisive in spreading the idea that it was possible to build simply with what you have under your feet! All over the world, interest in earthen architecture is growing, and research centres are multiplying, as are training efforts.

However, the major projects carried out at the time (e.g. "Village terre" in Villefontaine, France ; a social housing and infrastructure programme in Mayotte, etc.) did not become widespread. Their appropriation has often remained at the prototype or demonstrator stage. A situation which is not always easy to decipher. Is it lack of support from public authorities? Lack of interest from professionals? Lack of standards? Inadequacy for widespread use?

In recent years, however, with a renewed ecological awareness that is now widely shared at global level because of the climate threat, the situation seems to be changing, perhaps also because those involved in earthen construction and their networks are now better organized. In many places/countries, changes of scale are taking place, enabling a better response to global demand for quality construction solutions that drastically limit the production of greenhouse gases.

The Terra Education IV conference aims to take stock of this phenomenon(s) and to decipher the underlying mechanisms and/or strategies, in order to better integrate them into the research and training programs of the UNESCO Chairs network, and beyond. What actions have been taken and what conditions have been put in place to facilitate the implementation of large-scale projects? What partnerships have been established? What technological developments or construction processes have been developed? What scale of development is most appropriate for the sector (industrial, semi-industrial, artisanal, etc.)? Shouldn't strategic approaches be systematized, including the complementary activities of research, training, experimentation, support, etc.?

[1] Construire en terre, CRAterre, P.Doat, A.Hays, H.Houben, S.Matuk, F. Vitoux, Editions Alternatives et parallèles, 1979



To address these questions, Terra Education IV invites you to contribute under one of 7 themes:

  1. Conservation, rehabilitation and adaptation of heritage

  2. Reverse engineering of local building cultures

  3. Training (programs, professional certification, local anchoring, etc.)

  4. Partnerships and multidisciplinarity

  5. Production sectors (innovation, production, technological research)

  6. Characterization – Standardization

  7. Strategic approaches : beyond the architectural project, the development project



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