WITH YOUR HANDS. Earth as a material for developing creative and constructive skills

The Iberian Peninsula is a territory that is extremely rich in earthen architecture, both monumental and non monumental. The size of the territory and its heterogeneous geography and climate, its cultural diversity and the different materials available are the main factors which generated a wide range of earthen construction techniques throughout history (rammed earth, adobe, half-timber, cob and its variants).This heritage is a major part of the local culture both because of its remote origins and the varied technology adapted to natural and cultural surroundings. In addition, given its salubriousness and its cultural relationship with the habitat, earthen architecture is currently an interesting line in the construction of new architecture as earth is the most sustainable material, providing energy saving throughout the entire construction process. However, this material is barely studied at university, and newly qualified architects have very little training in this field. 
The main aim of this project was to bring earthen architecture closer to students in practical terms through active learning methods. The aim of this project for educational innovation and improvement is to introduce earth experimentally as a construction material in three subjects at the School of Architecture (Architectural restoration, a compulsory subject in fifth year; Composition, a compulsory subject in fourth year; and Restoration of non monumental historic architecture, an elective subject from the Master’s in Architecture) through group and individual activities aimed at students taking part. These activities were proposed with a “learning by doing” methodology so that students could learn about the material while working and experimenting with it.