The course aims at offering an opportunity to the students to acquire both the basic theoretical background, as well as practical, hands-on experience in alternative natural building techniques with earth (rammed earth, adobe, wattle and daub, etc.) Throughout the course we shall survey historic precedents of natural building methods and their application in specific buildings, cover the theoretical background of earth sample analysis and assessment, and examine each one of the different natural building techniques, with a particular focus on the construction parameters, layouts and details; we shall also explore the contemporary use of these techniques in modern buildings. Another part of the course will be an overview of the existing international building codes that apply to natural building, as well as Greek building standards. Lectures will be followed by hands-on exercises in the collection and assessment of soil and other building materials, and the construction of specimens using each of the different natural building techniques.
The final semester project will include the structural design of selected areas of a building using natural building techniques, with an emphasis on the design and resolution of construction details.