At first glance, Dorte Mandrup's design for the Wadden Sea Center seems to mimic the landscape. Its low height, its horizontal lines and, above all, its materiality make it a modern building in perfect harmony with the local nature. But its connection also encompasses the built heritage of the region, more specifically because of its covering with straw, harvested and dried close to the land. This is an extremely traditional and historic building technique, but which is rarely attributed to contemporary buildings. In this article we will rescue some of the history of this natural material, its constructive characteristics and some examples of use.
Vernacular techniques and local materials are becoming more and more relevant in architecture, but is it possible to bring these concepts to large urban areas?
In 1984, the Amazonian architect Severiano Porto had already pointed out the need to make architecture more connected to its location. Using local materials and techniques is becoming more important each day, considering the impacts of the commodity chain of building construction on the planet. Not surprisingly, the number of projects that use this approach is growing every day, as Severiano has already mentioned in his work since the 1980s.