This course has already taken place.

To have a glance on what has been accomplished at Casaprota (Rome) follow this links:



Italy, July  2017, 4 weeks
Organised by Architettura a Kilometro Zero
Stefan Pollak, arkmzero@gmail.com +39 3384311454 www.akzero.org
Language: English & Italian

The workshop AK0 is proposing here focuses on two specific aspects:

– Mediterranean climate;
– the possibility of integrating prefabrication and self-construction.

The Mediterranean climate includes opposite needs along the year. While the winter-conditions demand for insulating-standards that are comparable to Northern Europe, it is common to handle with uncomfortable heat-peeks during the summer months. This makes it requisite to include thermal masses in the building skin without renouncing to the advantages that can come from light, prefabricated structural systems.

Growing financial limitations on one hand and a rising interest for environmental issues on the other are leading families and investors to start building processes that include (or are based on) non specialized voluntary work. The integration of prefabrication and self-construction allows for balanced results in terms of quality control, bureaucratic duties and the possibility of using techniques that are difficult to apply within more conventional economic frameworks.


The workshop is conceived in order to host mainly three kinds of participants:

– students or professionals from the field of architecture, civil engineering or permaculture design;
– laymen who are interested in the techniques because willing to implement DIY or DIWO projects;
– small enterprises that want to rise their know-how and expand into the zero-impact market.

According to the directives of Erasmus+, the activities welcome the participation of NEET as well as migrants or refuguees The encounter of participants with different background is considered to have fueling effects for the expected discussions and knowledge exchange.


The workshop’s main goal is to train operators in the described field. Up to 20 persons will get a basic training in building with raw earth and have the possibility to learn about possible applications of the learned techniques within more complex building systems. A special focus is given to climatic behavior of facade constructions in Mediterranean climate.

The encounter of persons with different technical and cultural background allows for a vivid knowledge exchange. The emergence of tailored solutions to apply to specific situations is a further aim of the workshop.

other goals include:

– make solutions emerge that cope with contemporary issues of housing, co- housing, commons as well as urban items.
– disseminate a sensitiveness for contemporary architectural solutions achieved using simple, appropriate and, if useful, vernacular techniques.
–  raise interest on building with natural systems and related environmental issues.


Basing on the aforementioned points of climatic behavior and the possibility of integrating prefabrication processes and DIY-methods, we propose to work on the following techniques, all belonging to the realm of building with raw-earth:


Adaptation of the wattle-and- daub techniques from the Andean highlands. A double layer of woven reeds holds a thick clay-layer. Different types of insulation can be placed between the layers. Wattle-and- daub techniques will form the main focus of the proposed training activity.


Light straw is poured into wooden form-work. The technique suits perfectly with timber- structures and provides a good balance between thermal mass and insulation.

Light straw techniques will be explored as a suitable one-layer solution.


Rammed earth can be prepared on stiff foundation elements in-door in order to control technical and aesthetic quality. Shaped blocks are made to measure and assembled directly on site. The system can be self-bearing or used as infill.

Rammed earth structures will be explained and explored as complementaru technique to control thermal inertia. Some activities on this topic will be shared with our partner Dehesa Tierra who works on similar techniques in a more specific way.


The workshop includes 4 progressive steps and will always link theoretical lessons with practical applications.

  1. Experts from our team will present possible building techniques that include a combination of thermal mass and insulation. Participants will get a basic introduction in building with earth (possible techniques | testing methods | application) and have the possibility to build mock-ups of each technique. (1 week)
  2. Design-workshop aiming at elaborating a viable proposal for a small building with low environmental and high social impact. In order to guarantee continuity, at least half of the participants will be chosen among those who already participated in step 1. (1 week)
  3. Construction workshop: during 1 week a small experimental building will be erected under the control of the AK0-team and with the help of participants from step 1 and 2 together with members of the community that shall receive the final building. The small construction will include small parts of each crucial technical detail. In this way it will provide further opportunities to test techniques and methods and will allow the design team to introduce necessary corrections with respect to the final design. (1 week)
  4. Construction of the final building. Constructive details, financial aspects and time schedule for this step have to be coordinated among promoting association, project-network and receiving community. (exact duration depending on execution design)


Download the Workshop brief to find more information on how to participate:
Apply to the workshop here

Al seguente link è scaricabile la call in versione italiana

Download the Call to participate, in English


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