Earthen Architecture in Flanders. A strategy for building with a low environmental impact?
Today, there is a growing need for sustainable buildings, given that the building and construction sector is putting pressure on environment and society. Building materials represent a significant share of the environmental impact. For this reason, sustainable architecture should search to complement currently conventional building materials with alternatives that have lower environmental impacts.
Within this research, the opportunities of earth as a construction material in Flanders are explored. Unfired earth is an abundant raw material that needs minimal industrial processing and has a good recycling potential. At the same time it offers a range of other beneficial characteristics such as being non-toxic, creating a comfortable indoor climate, and providing aesthetically unusual textures.
Taking into account the advantages as well as the limitations of the material, this research explores how we can design and build with unfired earth in contemporary Flanders. Case studies (of existing and future buildings in Western Europe), interviews and research by design are main tools for this investigation.
PhD student: Jasper Van der Linden
Promotor: Elke Knapen and (co-promotor) Bart Janssens
Period: 01/11/2017 – 31/10/2021