Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

Rediscovering of vernacular adaptative construction strategies for sustainable modern building : application to cob and rammed earth

Abstract : The use of local, natural and unprocessed materials offers promising low impact building solutions. The wide spatial variability of these materials is, however, an obstacle to a large-scale use. The construction strategies developed by past builders were dictated by the local climate and the quality and the amount of locally available construction materials. These construction strategies can be regarded as an optimized management of local, natural and variable resources and are a source of inspiration for modern sustainable building. Unfortunately, this knowledge was lost in Western countries during the 20th century. Vernacular earth construction know-how rediscovering requires the development of rational built heritage investigation means. Another issue regarding the use of natural and variable building material is their compliance with modern building regulation. The development of performance based testing procedures is proposed as a solution to facilitate the use of earth as a building material. A multidisciplinary approach is proposed, combining micromorphology, pedology, geotechnics and heritage disciplines to study vernacular earth heritage. It provides complementary tools to assess pedological sources of construction material and geotechnical characteristics of earth employed in vernacular earth heritage. It also provides a detailed description of the construction process of vernacular earth heritage. Using these results, it was possible to draw resource maps and provide a scale of magnitude of resource availability at regional scale. Two performance based testing procedures were proposed in order to take into account the natural variability of earth in a modern building context. Earth construction will play an important role in the modern sustainable building of the 21st century if the actors of the sector adopt earth construction processes able to meet social demand, with low environmental impact and at an affordable cost. The study of earth heritage demonstrated the ability of historical earth builders to innovate in order to comply with social demand variations and technical developments. Earth construction benefits of an old and rich past and it would be a non-sense to leave this past behind. The analysis of earth heritage and the rediscovering of vernacular construction techniques is a valuable source of inspiration for modern earth construction. The valorisation of vernacular knowledge will save time, energy and avoid repeating past mistakes. The future of earth construction should be a continuation of past vernacular earth construction.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : ABES STAR :  Contact
Submitted on : Friday, February 23, 2018 - 9:41:06 AM
Last modification on : Monday, June 20, 2022 - 3:54:30 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 2:41:49 PM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-01715849, version 1



Erwan Hamard. Rediscovering of vernacular adaptative construction strategies for sustainable modern building : application to cob and rammed earth. Construction durable. Université de Lyon, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSET011⟩. ⟨tel-01715849⟩



Record views


Files downloads