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Samskara, Made in India © 2014 Anshika Varma


TU Darmstadt

Adjunct Faculty
WHAT ON EARTH: Modern Methods of Earth Construction
Technische Universität (TU)

Darmstadt, Germany


Courses taught: Seminars on alternative construction. Final year students

Throughout the ages and all over the world raw earth has been extensively used as a building material and earth construction has been proved to have a long life with structures as old as 3300 years still standing. It is estimated that about 50% of the world’s population live in earth houses, and at least 20% of urban and suburban populations.
According to the varying soil properties and geographical contexts, various techniques evolved historically.
With the increasing global concern for sustainable development in present times, there is a renewed interest in earth architecture with the added benefit today of scientific research and development.

Seminar: ‘What on Earth’
The seminar will explore the broad properties of earth as a building material, as also the range and potential of earth construction from traditional to current practices, according to soil composition and geographical factors.
Each student team will produce a paper and presentation of one earth construction technology and one modern building case-study in a different region of the world.
Students will be taken to Berlin to visit a Modern Rammed Earth Building: ‘Kapelle der Versöhnung’.

Excursion to South India: ‘Earth Tour’
Depending on student interest, a 10 day tour will be organised to Auroville, South India, to visit specific case studies in various earth construction techniques. A hands-on workshop will be added upon demand. Students will be expected to document their findings and produce a final presentation upon return to the University.