PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF EARTHEN ARCHITECTURE RESPONSE TO FLOODS: THE CASE OF ALZIRA (SPAIN)
Keywords: Earthen Architecture, Rammed Earth, Floods, Risk Assessment, Conservation, Architectural Heritage
Abstract. Alzira, the capital of the Ribera del Júcar, has historically played a prominent role within the Comunitat Valenciana. The first settlement of the city dates back to the Moorish domination, and after the Reconquista, together with Xativa, Alcoi and Elx, it became one of the main cities of the ancient Reino de Valencia. Its architectural heritage is a witness of this remarkable past, including the glorious example of the Moorish wall, built almost entirely using the technique of rammed earth. Throughout history, the Moorish wall and the entire architectural heritage of Alzira have suffered extensive damage due to multiple factors, including neglect, wars and numerous floods. Throughout history, floods have had a significant impact on the architectural and cultural heritage of the city, as chronicled at the time, given that until the 1960s, the historic centre was surrounded by the two branches of the river Júcar. This study aims to analyse the response of earthen architecture to flooding, assessing its resilience and vulnerability through the analysis of the case of the city of Alzira and, in particular, of its historic centre. The research will therefore investigate the adaptation of earthen architecture and traditional techniques to floods. The recognition of these good practices used in the past and the establishment of a level of risk will be crucial to developing measures for the prevention and mitigation of the effects of floods, such as structural reinforcements and protective devices.