MSc ADVANCED SUSTAINABLE DESIGN DISSERTATION
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
2015 - 2016
A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO POST-DISASTER HOUSING
BASED ON RAMMED EARTH WALL CONSTRUCTION ALONG
THE ANDEAN REGION.
“...No house should ever build on a hill or on anything. It
should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house
should live together each the happier for the other”
Frank Lloyd Wright
In a time where traditional techniques are being adapted to current building regulations, this work aims to explore the possibility of incorporating rammed earth walls constructions as an affordable and sustainable strategy for people living in highly seismic areas and had lost their homes because of earthquakes. Therefore, this dissertation is motivated by the following research question: can a system based on rammed earth wall construction form an effective sustainable response to post-disaster housing along the Andean region? The objective is to propose a construction system based on the examination of two main subjects: natural disasters and post-disaster response, and rammed earth construction. Both focused on the necessity of a permanent housing solution for people affected by earthquakes, and by the interest of using local resources and traditional techniques available within the affected area, in order to improve the local economy and skills. It also covers enhancement techniques for earthen dwellings, which do not compromise the integrity of the Andean traditional architecture, making them less vulnerable to seismic activity. The proposed system does not try to form a fully fixed solution, but instead a system that can be flexible within the local context and people necessities. The work concludes with the feasibility of using a construction system as an effective sustainable response, however the research has been mostly theoretical, which for future research suggests the introduction of the proposal to the fieldwork, in order to involve the community in the process and make sure enhancement techniques are not avoided, as it has been in their previous dwellings, due to socioeconomic reasons and lack of government planning.