Revisiting earthen architecture

Join us on 10 September at 14:00 (Brazilian time)/19:00 (Swiss time) for an insightful discussion on using earth in modern architecture and buildings.

Giving new meaning and investigating new ways

The use of earth as a building material goes back to the earliest days of architecture. For thousands of years, houses and palaces were made and remade, leaving little trace on the landscape. It was only with the advent of industrialization processes that the material was replaced and discarded, and associated with primitive ways of building. Environmental concerns and the pressures of climate change have been rescuing the material, which is carbon-neutral, and it has returned to the center of architecture's interest. Today, architects and researchers, such as Swiss architects Roger Bolthauser and Fabio Gramazio from Gramazio Kohler Research, are giving new meaning and investigating new ways – more efficient and durable – to build with earth, through lexical and technological investigations.

Bolthauser and his students reinvent the technique of rammed earth in Kiln Tower (Torre-Forno), where prefabricated bricks are associated with tensioned bars. Digital fabrication is the subject of Gramazio Kohler’s research, in which a robotic arm is used to build a rotunda out of clay to serve as a music studio.

To explore these topics, Insight Architecture and Swissnex in Brazil invite Fabio Gramazio and Roger Boltshauser, both professors at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich to this webinar. They will present their work and discuss the challenges and opportunities they see in earthen architecture for the future of our cities. Pedro Rivera, architect and founder of Rua Arquiteto will moderate the conversation. The event will be held in English, with simultaneous translation to Portuguese. The webinar is part of the Future Now event, which investigates the use of sustainable materials and new construction techniques such as digital fabrication in architecture as part of the UIA 2021 Rio Congress calendar.