EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE – VALORISATION AND UNDERESTIMATION
Keywords: earthen architecture, earth construction, sustainability, conservation, preservation, maintenance
Abstract. Earthen architecture has been used as a construction material in most of the world for millennia. According to the United Nations, approximately one third of the world population and half of the population of developing countries live in buildings constructed of earth. This presentation makes a basic SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of earthen architecture in an attempt to explain why this material, possessing many positive qualities, is often maligned or underestimated and dismissed as a construction material associated with poverty, especially in the rural areas of Latin America. This paper emphasizes the importance of maintenance and the preservation of the local socio-cultural knowledge system associated with earth construction.