Dehesa Tierra, Spain
Dehesa Tierra association is a diverse group of people gathered with a common goal of spreading and promoting earthen construction and architecture in Extremadura (Spain).
Since 3 years, we are organising activities to bring earthen construction closer to society, taking advantage of the fact that mud is a healthy material easy to manipulate, that allows to work in a collaborative and convivial way. Most of the time those are open-air activities, developed in places where earthen built heritage is present and in which participants are involved with sensoriality and creativity. The idea is to bring them to discover in a pleasant and participative way a world that for them is usually unknown, in spite it forms part of their day-to-day environment and belongs to the identity of the region.
Although forgotten during last decades, earth has been an essential material in traditional architecture of our region (as well as in other regions of the world), principally in forms of rammed earth, mud bricks, clay plasters and mortars. However, this way of building has a huge heritage value, not only because its linked to ancient know-how belonging to our identity but also because it is strongly determined by the territory and testifies to a high vernacular intelligence: the materials are locally extracted, buildings are well integrated in the landscape and takes advantage of the site’s bioclimatic features.
Today, earth as a building material is moving back into the foreground at global level, because its use is considered as a relevant answer to sustainability issues of construction processes: it allows enhancing comfort and healthiness of spaces, without having a negative impact on our environment.
In Dehesa Tierra association we believe that becoming aware of the values of our traditional architecture is the first path to imagine its possible contribution to a sustainable way of building today. We are struggling as for earthen heritage conservation than for the values incorporated and its materiality, which have lost nothing of their relevance in our modern society.
Our young NGO is composed by 15 professionals (architects, engineers, masterbuilders), most of them working in earth construction field since several years (two of them graduated in CRAterre, another one in Auroville Earth Institute), with special skills in training and building. Although focused on dissemination activities in the first years, the association aims to go further in the future, implementing training and research activities that gives priority to hands-on approach and learning by doing on the working site.