Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Contemporary earthen architecture in Mexico

Berenice Aguilar Prieto


The purpose of this study is to put forward an appraisal of current remarkable works of earthen
architecture in Mexico, where raw earth architecture, particularly in adobe, has been built since
ancient times, but has nevertheless, been substituted by industrial materials that bring poor
living conditions for the inhabitants both in urban as in rural areas. Recently, rather than
vernacular architecture built by its users, it is within architectonic design that a kind of revival
has been taking place over the past two decades. This new language is being written both with
adobe as with rammed earth building techniques. Interesting to point out is that current
technology on raw earth is based upon an exchange of information between traditional
workmanship and building methods, which over generations have manifested themselves in
acquired knowledge and skill, plus the contribution that architects bring with technology and
design which enable them to improve living conditions and durability. As prior methodology, the
results of this paper are based upon interviews made to the designers, builders and users of the
works exposed, in the observation of the properties of raw earth construction and in consulting
any available written references about the works. Though still on a low scale, it is encouraging
to note that both private as well as public investors are beginning to be convinced of the
benefits earthen architecture represents in terms of energy saving, as costs are reduced in a
considerable way, not to mention the environmental damage that diminishes considerably when
industrial materials are substituted by natural ones. This article is based upon a conference
dictated at the Conference Mediterra, hold at Cagliari on March of this year.

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