Workshop in Italy Constructs Rammed Earth Structures to Rescue Constructive Traditions

In a 12-day workshop, Building Trust International and Terraepaglia joined the Ciuffelli Agricultural Technical Institute in Todi, Italy, with the aim of exploring a series of construction techniques with raw soil. In addition to producing earth bricks and rammed earth structures -in collaboration with experts such as Eliana Baglioni and Pouya Khazaeli-, a curved wall was erected with a wooden structure and a cane framework, on which a massive layer of earth and straw was spread.

The activity generated a series of internal spaces as a kind of laboratory, to show the construction methods and the materials in situ.

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Description from the team. Following a number of successful design workshops held in South East Asia, the Building Trust team ventured to Europe for developing this design and build project. Building Trust was requested by Terraepaglia, a group of artisan handicraft experts who specialize in natural construction methods, to assist in working on the restoration of an old oil mill which was in the process of being renovated.

© Elettra Melani, Building Trust international

In order to assist the group, Building Trust arranged a Design + Build workshop to take place in order to assist in the renovation whilst at the same time raising the awareness of the need for more people to develop construction projects with sustainable materials such as earth, straw, and clay.

© Elettra Melani, Building Trust international

The aim of the workshop was to create a set of internal spaces that would be used by the Agricultural Technical Institute Ciuffelli in Todi, Italy as a laboratory to educate on themes such as nature and sustainability. The spaces will be used to show traditional processes of food production, such as turning milk into cheese and creating honey (bee-keeping skills.) Along with food production, lessons will be shared on turning earth into buildings.

The value of this project is in the creation of functional spaces to communicate the importance of sustainable architecture, made of local reused materials.

© Elettra Melani, Building Trust international

A group of international architects and designers along with experts in the field of sustainable architecture took part in the two-week long workshop. Guest lectures were given from Eliana Baglioni, who presented lectures on earth construction, and Pouya Khazaeli, who spoke of the philosophy of earthen architecture.


Through technical instruction from Building Trust, the team created a curved wattle and daub internal wall, an adobe brick wall area and a series of rammed earth structures. The project brought to life old construction techniques such as building with wattle and daub and engaged the local community in the importance of working with natural materials.

Architects: Building Trust international
Lead Architects: Elettra Melani, Building Trust International
Location: Todi, Umbria, Italy
Completion Year: 2015
Area: 170 sqm
Photography: Elettra Melani, Building Trust international
Other participants: Terraepaglia, Agricultural Technical Institute Ciuffelli, Pouya Khazaeli, Eliana Baglioni

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Cite: AD Editorial Team. "Workshop in Italy Constructs Rammed Earth Structures to Rescue Constructive Traditions" 16 Jul 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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