Reviving earthen architecture in Palestine: The added significances of the building sustainability and an opportunity for the future

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Several attempts have emerged recently in Palestine aiming to find an economical-environmental alternative building material beside the widely-used natural stone as a main building material, due to some factors related to the cost and the negative effects of stone mining areas on the local environment. Similar attempts had a certain response to the peculiar social needs and economic situation there. The efforts led to revive earthen architecture on organizational and individual levels, producing a certain number of earthen buildings in the last few years.In order to evaluate the appropriateness of earth as an alternative raw material in Palestine, the paper outlines the general advantages and limits of this building material, in comparison with the current prevalent way of construction and discussing the different needs in rural and in urban contexts, taking into account the housing emergency due to the successive military attacks there.As in other realities, also in Palestine a radical transformation has occurred in the traditional built environment that is possible to be assessed by a multi-scale analysis, in the urban fabric as well as in the minor building components. In addition, the critical condition as a consequence of the well-known peculiar political situation, distinguishes the social housing situation in Palestine, increasing the humanitarian aspects in the wider scenario of the social, economic, and environmental aspects.The aims of the building sustainability, mainly focused on the energy efficiency and environmental impacts in the European Union, but in a context such as Palestine, it acquires an added significance. The earth architecture could assume the role of a social inclusion tool, thanks to its inherent meanings that overstep the material and technical dimension, to the human factor being the main leverage of innovation.The paper will describe some strategic and integrated proposals aiming to face the limits of earthen architecture, discussing if and how the revival of this ancestral building material can help in gaining a useful innovation for the future, in Palestine as well as in the most parts of the Mediterranean region.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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