Popular Architecture: Trulli Pugliesi

© Ana Asensio

“Human being… by nature, as opposed to other animals, didn’t walk inclined towards the ground, but straight and tall in order to behold the magnificience of the skies and the stars; and furthermore, finding themselves proficient with their hands and joints to easily deal with whatever they wanted, started to create their rooves from branches. Others would dig shelters along the slopes of mountains. Some of them, imitating sparrows’ nests, would take cover under clay and mud.

Others, who observed these dwellings went a step further with their inventions, and began erecting better huts day by day. Thus, these men of mimical and sharp nature, and nurturing their pride every day from their findings, taught each other about new ways to build their homes; and using their ingenuity with these imitations, they progressively upgraded them in taste” [Book II: Chapter 1: Primitive communities and the origin of buildings. Vitruvius II, I, “Of the origin of buildings”].

Some types of architecture that have remained until the present day have followed strange, untraceable paths, that our curious minds attempt to unveil. We ask ourselves about their origin, their precursors, their influences. We wonder about all the factors that consolidated a certain architectural configuration within them, a morphology and a language.

In our section of Popular Architecture we research these unusual constructions such as southern Italy’s ‘i trulli’. We do this to let our imagination fly back to distant times, to snatch a piece of history, to try to speak their unique language.

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Popular Architecture: Earth housing… out-dated?

© Ana Asensio

Earth Housing could be considered the paradigm of both human adaptation to the environment and the utilization of its resources. Yet, as is often the case with ‘natural’ housing models, it has been disregarded as ‘sub-standard housing’ for far too many years.

This has brought us to a situation in which Earth Housing continues to be overlooked by current regulations. Even though in this article we will be focussing on Andalucía (Spain) and its challenges regarding Earth Housing, it is important to consider that this model of habitat has sheltered millions of people all around the globe since prehistoric times: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Sub-Saharan Sahel, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, China, Tibet, Mexico, California, Turkey, the Balkans, Sicily, France, Sardinia, Spain…

As we can see, earth houses are often found in arid areas with very specific conditions, not only in a natural and climatic sense but also social and economic.

In Spain earth houses are spread throughout the majority of the country, but it’s in Andalusia where they take on a special importance since they are still used as the default way of living for much of the population.

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