Aga Khan Program Lecture: Anna Heringer, “Architecture is a Tool to Improve Lives”

Aga Khan Program Lecture: Anna Heringer, “Architecture is a Tool to Improve Lives”


Hello, good evening. Welcome. Welcome to Anna
Heringer’s lecture. I would like to
introduce Anna Heringer by way of a few episodes in the
history of art and architecture in Germany. The first episode is
that of Gottfried Semper. When Gottfried Semper
saw the Caribbean hut in the great
exposition of 1851, you know, following the lineage
of Vitruvius and Laugier, he began to look at
the primitive hut to find the origins
of architecture through an anthropological lens. So instead of finding
this universal theory of architecture through
type, he was looking at assemblies and systems. So in the same year, when he
published The Four Elements of Architecture, he was equating
the mound of the primitive hut to the trade of earth work. He was equating the roof
to the trade of carpentry, the enclosure to textiles, and
then the hearth to ceramics. A thing of particular
note is the distinction between stereotomic
construction of the base versus the tectonic
construction of the roof, which one could build an entire
architecture out of. This second episode,
we fast forward a bit more than 100 years. We have Frei Otto, you know, the
master of tensile and membrane structures who built the Olympic
stadium in Munich in 1972 together with Gunter Behnisch,
which was also a build-in. It was only built out of
mounds from the rubbles of the wall and the roof. But of particular
interest, I think, is when Frei Otto headed
the Institute of Lightweight Structures at the
University of Stuttgart in 1964 where he
together was studying the most advanced structures
or advanced enclosure systems. He was also looking into
ancient building techniques and indigenous
building techniques and published a very important
book on bamboo, for example. Frei Otto is someone
who encouraged new forms of social interaction. You know, instead of
formal teaching plan, he always tried to
foster open discussion and interdisciplinary
research groups to engender new forms
of social interaction. When asked to describe
this Lightweight Institute, Frei Otto affectionately
referred to it as the [non-english speech]
playing with this double meaning of the word
[non-english speech] in German, which could mean crazy people
but also people that spin connections and webs. The third episode is of Joseph
Beuys, the German Fluxus, happenings, and
performance artist who was influenced by Rudolf
Steiner and, like Frei Otto, developed his
courses in Dusseldorf on the spot in collaboration
with the students. You know, his pedagogy included
these so-called open ring discussions, where
students group together to discuss political and
philosophical issues together with artistic practices. So since the early
1970s, Joseph Beuys has seen education as a form
of social sculpture and art. Another thing that is
apparent in Beuys’ work is he often combined this type
of conflicting raw materials together. So he would combine
electricity with animal fat, felt with batteries,
wire cables with stone. And he always
talked about energy. You know, I think
there’s underlying belief in this group of work and the
primal and transformative power of energy. And then he use
energy as a metaphor for the creative and spiritual
energy that art could foster or should foster in the
individual and the society as a whole. So I believe Anna Heringer
knows something of the above. You know I think her
interest in tectonics, in social interaction
and energy, belongs to a long
cultural tradition, you know, in both her
Meti handmade school built in Bangladesh in
2005 that won the Aga Khan Award to the vocational school,
the extension of the Meti School. You know, conventional
indigenous building techniques has been improved
and transformed with a combination
of modern knowledge, and both projects exemplify
this [inaudible] distinction of the stereotomic
and the tectonic. And certainly a lot has happened
since Anna lectured here in 2013. You know, I look
forward to see her work such as the bamboo hostels
in [inaudible] in China. Reminded me a lot of
Vladimir Shukhov’s radio towers, and also takes the
stereotomic and tectonic relationship from the
section to the plan. I look forward to learn more
about the [? dede ?] textiles project, which is a textile
initiative that allows women to earn a living
in their villages without working in the inhumane
conditions in big factories where it’s truly a form
of social architecture. I think looking at Anna’s
work, there’s always this lingering an
internal question of the relationship
between the noble savage and civility, you
know, and the question of how one could bring these
methods and ethos one learned from the developing world
back to the first world where it’s oftentimes
encumbered with bureaucracies, liabilities, and processes. But I look forward to see
Anna answer this question through her expanding
repertoire of work and practice. Anna Heringer is the honorary
professor UNESCO Chair of Earth and Architecture,
Construction Cultures, and Sustainable Development. And this semester, she is
the Aga Khan design critic here at the GSD. So please join me to
welcome Anna Heringer. Thank you, Mark. That was wonderful. Thank you. Hello, [inaudible]. Yeah, it’s always a bit
tricky to be in my studio. I think some who have–
especially the studio trips can be tough at times. Not only this year’s
students had experienced that in Bangladesh, but also
my students at ETH Zurich some years ago, two years ago. It was the end of October. It was in the
mountains in Austria. It was really cold. You see a bit how the
people are dressed. And at 3:00 in the
afternoon, we told them we had not booked any
hostel or hut or any sort of accommodation for the night. And it was totally on
purpose, not a mistake, since they all were
supposed to be architects. And one day, it was a
challenge to build a hut or a shelter for one night. Well, the reactions
were a bit mixed. So you had those kind of
outdoor freaks, of course, in Switzerland. You know, yeah,
we’re going to build a hut like we did
when we were young and then we could
even sleep there. And then there were
like the middle part. They were thinking, yeah,
there must be a plan B. But there wasn’t. And then the third part
was like utterly shocked. But everyone did it
and everyone survived. Me too. It was really cold, was
really not comfortable at all. But it was a great
learning experience. It was actually–
what we found out that there are a lot of
resources given by nature. And all you need is the
sensitivity to see it and the creativity to use it. So I found myself in a
pretty similar situation when I was in Bangladesh in
the village called Rudrapur. I had lived there
before when I was 19 years old as a development
learner, the NGO Dipshikha. And what I had learned
during my year in Bangladesh was that the most sustainable
and most effective strategy for development is to
really look at the potentials that you have existing and
try to make the best out of it and not trying to get
depending on external factors. And then seven
years later, I tried to transform this philosophy
into architecture. And in terms of materials,
I didn’t had to look far. What was there was
just below my feet, was the mud, the dirt,
and the bamboo that was just growing all around. And in terms of energy,
it was the people. And those were happy to
have work opportunities on the school. So we also had
very limited tools, but we had water buffaloes that
were actually great for mixing, really great mixing machine. And we had also tried
it with cows before. But apparently, they
were too intelligent. They were always kind
of stepping elegantly in the holes of the
previous round and they just wouldn’t mix the straws– the straw, the
mud, and the water, which is the
ingredients of the mix. So then the mix comes on top
of a foundation out of bricks. And yeah, the
bamboo is all coming from the direct
surrounding as well as the workers that were
all from the village and from the
neighboring village. And we had also a
team of craftsmen there from like my cousin from– Emmanuel Heringer and
his wife Stephanie. And I had also a colleague. I also worked for an
architect from Berlin, who was my realization partner. So after six months, the
school looked like that. And it’s really load
bearing earth walls that kind of give the very
protective feeling inside. And then we have the
opposite, the light kind of structure of the bamboo. I wanted to show what do
you can do out of this very local basic materials– that it’s not only
possible to build small, dark huts, but really
also large structures. So the drawings
were very simple. That was my diploma project at
the University of Arts in Linz. I felt actually pretty uneasy
when I handed in my thesis because I felt it’s so basic. It’s so simple, the design. I also didn’t get
the very best mark. Never mind. But the thing was that
I really concentrated on very archaic needs. So I was trying to
remember the spaces that I liked when I was a kid. And that’s just, you know,
hiding behind bushes, having these cave situations,
and this very protective, intimate situation that
I put in the caves. And then the other part is
like going up and having the [? whole ?] view and the
tree-house kind of situations. And I think when you really
deal with very archaic notions, then it doesn’t
make a difference between a Bavarian child
and a Bangladeshi child. And I think it works
out pretty well So this is the ground floor. People are used to
sit on the ground and in the rural
areas in Bangladesh. And we kept this tradition. And through these boathouse,
you come into the cave areas. And that is really used
for all sorts of purposes. Especially, you
know, it’s this kind of philosophy of
the Meti school is that children are
given time to find their own pace in learning. So if some children are
already done with the task, they can just grab a book
and go into the caves and do their own
separate learning and they’re not
disturbing the others or making them nervous that
they should push harder to also finish the task. And what is a nice
situation here is that you’re kind of
in a separate place, but you still have the
connection to the classroom. And that’s kind of, I think,
when we remember the childhood space, this is always
the most interesting one when you yourself protect it. But you can kind of
have the full overview of what’s going on
elsewhere, but you’re kind of in a hidden situation. So this is what happens here. And then on the
top roof, you have more the airy kind of feeling. The children all signed with
their names on the doors. And they also signed as authors
because every afternoon, they were on the site and
helping us building. We had especially a team
of Montessori teachers with us who were there only
to include the students in the building process. And I think that’s a very
humane notion that, I mean, even if you’re small
and if you’re weak, you want to be part of
the real life, you know? You want to be needed. And with mud, really,
that’s the nice thing. It’s a very inclusive material. You can involve even children. And I mean, it’s
just a nice feeling when you remember how it
is to play with the clay. So it is just ceramics in
a slightly different scale. But it’s a wonderful
material to play with and to really build with. And the children felt
extremely empowered. Just imagine if you’re
a small boy or a girl or a day laborer who had
never had the chance to be in a school in his entire life. So standing after six months
in front of that school and knowing that you built it
with nothing but your hands and the dirt
underneath your feet– that gives an enormous
boost in self-confidence. It’s just really so
empowering to the people. And not only, I mean,
in your own potentials, but also in the team
around you and of course also in the local materials. So especially modern bamboo
have a very bad image. In Bangladesh, it’s considered
as a non-durable material and the material of the poor. In fact, mud remains a very
long time, even the buildings that are few hundred years old. There are some rules
that you have to follow. First rule is a good foundation. Second drawer is a good roof so
that the water cannot penetrate from ground or from the top. And the third rule
is erosion control. So just as a hill needs
rocks or trees in order to slow down the
pace of the water so that the erosion
is not going deep, also the wall needs
kind of speed breakers so that the speed of the
water is slowed down. So on a bigger level– oof– on a bigger
level, you have these kind of speed
breakers here on the facade. And on a micro level, you have
kind of straw inserted also. When you have rammed
earth, you have stones. So that gives a certain
roughness on the facade after a few months. And this roughness is all you
need so that the facade is really kind of self-healing. So the walls are standing
strong after many monsoon rains and also horizontal
monsoon rains. They turn a bit rougher, but
they are extremely strong. And there is no cement in
it except in the foundation. And for me, that’s
very important not to add any aggregates because
mud is the only building material you can take from
nature, can recycle 100 times without any quality of loss,
and can give it back to nature and build a garden on top of it. And that’s for me a very
important and powerful thing when it comes to sustainability. In terms of economic
sustainability, it was, for me, very interesting
that I was more or less living on-site. And in the evening, I would go
with the workers, to the market and I could see how they
spent the money that they just got everyday. So they would buy the
vegetables from their neighbors or they would get a new haircut
or a blouse for the wives. So it was really– the money, the building
budget became really a catalyst for the whole village
and rural development there. And if I had built the
school with cement and steel, this money would
have been exported, and they would have had
nothing left for the community. And that was the part
that made me most happy– that this thing, this project,
is not just a school building. It is really a catalyst for
development for the people. Yeah, the school got
the Aga Khan award, and that enabled or helped me
to go on in my way in my path. And I could do the
next project there, which is the [? dashi ?]
building and vocational training for electrical students
there in [? udaipur. ?] And you have classrooms, but you also
have teacher offices and also living residential units. For me, important was that we
go two stories with the mud because Bangladesh is
extremely dense populated. So scarcity of land is very
immense there and very vital. And still, I mean,
millions of people are living in the rural
areas and most of them just in single story houses. And I was thinking, if we
just could top one floor, it would save so much more space
for food cultivation, which is really needed there. I also wanted to bring
in more craftsmanship because traditional crafts and
the know-how is also dying out. Even you know, the
plastic buckets from China are becoming cheaper and more
attractive than the woven bamboo baskets, for example. So in order to kind of
push a bit the know-how, we just used basket
weaving in a bigger scale. And that’s the spaces inside. That’s, I think,
from all the spaces that are built in Bangladesh,
the most favorite of the people there. it’s a very poetic space. So it’s the veranda. Normally, what you would do
in a context like Germany or probably also the States,
you would make a bigger interior and a small balcony. In Bangladesh, in
that climate, you make a small interior
and a large veranda because in that climate,
you just like to be outside. So that’s what I kind of did. I did a reinterpretation of
the Bangladeshi courtyard. And that drawings were actually
were the actual drawings for the site. So when I started building,
I had no elevation. I had no cross section
and I had no details. I just had a feeling in
my belly how this building could look like in the end. And then I would
just sit every after, you know working on the site. I would sit down and do the
next sketch for the next days. And that was, for me,
the best part of working. I would love to do projects
again without any computer, without anything, just with
the following– the intuitive feeling and, of course,
in very close dialogue with the craftsman. Because I knew the craftsman
also from the Meti school project. I knew what they could do. And that just helped
in the process a lot. And of course, I was
there all the time. But I felt more like a conductor
when I could give space to the craftsmen to
bring in their own ideas and I could just moderate more. And then I knew when I
had to step in and take the lead again. And it was a very dynamic
process and very participatory. Yeah, now a part
comes of the things that did not work out, which you
usually don’t hear in lectures. But for me, it was, of course,
the biggest learning experience is the things that don’t
turn out the way you want to. So what you see here, you see a
little bit of a different kind of color in the mud. This is because it’s wet
because the entire top floor had to be replaced because I
had no idea as a [inaudible] what good bamboo
is and what not. So you know, also
the farmers found out that I had no idea about it and
they just brought me, you know, the super nice, green,
fresh, sugary bamboo. And that was a big party
for the beetles, who loved the sugar in the bamboo. So after a few years,
I got a phone call from the director
of the Meti school, said, hey, now we
have a problem. The bamboo is breaking down. And I got totally mad. It was such a shock. It’s the first
project, you know? It’s always the baby. You feel very emotional
towards a project like this. And then you think my god,
this is like, this building is having cancer. And it felt like I
couldn’t sleep anymore. I couldn’t eat anymore. I stepped on the next
plane to Bangladesh. I went there. And it was really interesting. The workers were–
everyone in Bangladesh was completely cool about it. They said, you know, I
mean, first, vulnerability is part of life. You know, the decay is kind of
a normal thing, and it’s also– there are a lot of Hindus there
which was, for me, interesting. They built their cottages every
year out of mud, out of clay. And then they return it
to the water every year while we built
everything in gold. And then the most
durable materials, you know, the holy statues,
they go into the water in the cycle every year. So I found it also, you
know, this mentality is different than ours. And I think that’s something
we definitely can learn from. And then the next thing,
they said, you know, we have the know-how. I mean, we did the Meti school. We did the [? dashi ?] building. We know how to do
this structure. The only thing is what we
need, we need the bamboo. So OK, I organized the bamboo. And then they said, I thought
I would need an engineer, you know how to get this
thing down without any crane, without any scaffolding
and everything, and to get it up again. But they say, no, you go home. We do that. And that’s what they did. So I was not there. No one was there. They just did it
entirely on their own. And they passed on the
know-how from one generation to the next. We now grow our own bamboo. That’s what we learned. We have our own
bamboo forest now. And for me, what I
understood is, you know, that’s actually the happy end. They gave this to my daughter. And when you look closely, every
lashing is just perfectly done. Every dowel is sitting
in the right position. That’s what they just
did in one evening. So they really
inhaled the structure. And it’s such a good
feeling as an architect when you see, OK, your job is done. You’re not needed anymore. It’s actually really
nice, except the design– the proportions [inaudible]. But in terms of techniques,
that was the best compliment I could get– that they really
have inhaled the know-how. And I understood that, you
know, we’re always thinking we have to build for eternity. For us, the material
level is so important. But actually, which
is much more important is the know-how that
we’re leaving behind. And I think for
me, I’m meanwhile really OK if my buildings
go back to nature one day. And I really don’t
think that I am so important that my buildings
have to stand forever. If they’re worth, if they’re
needed, they will be rebuilt and the know-how will be
passed on from one generation to the next. But I think that’s
the important thing, that we really build and create
knowledge and not just waste. And I also understood that the
core problem of sustainability is how we deal with the
fear of decay and death. And that’s probably
something that is, especially in our society, a big taboo. But I mean, death
is part of nature. And that’s just something
we have to respect. And embracing vulnerability–
for me, vulnerability, in the beginning, it was
difficult to deal with it. But meanwhile, it’s a
great source of creativity because every material is
different wherever I go. Plus, every climate
is different, and the materials are vulnerable
towards a climate like [inaudible] don’t. And it stabilizes in the mud. The mud is water [inaudible]. So it’s kind of–
it’s vulnerable. So I have to change my
architectural language and really kind of tailor it
to the place that is really absolutely made for that
place, for that climate with that local materials. And that gives two great
parameters, the climate and the local
materials, with what is really great to work with. And the byproduct is a very
authentic and very unique architecture that you
cannot place from one place to the next. So in that way, I think all
the buildings that I’m doing are looking different because
my architectural language is created out of
this vulnerability of these materials. And that’s for me a great
source of creativity. Yeah, that’s how the Meti
school is looking right now. They painted– it was
a mistake that they painted all the doors in red. And when we went there with the
students, we painted it back. And everyone was pretty happy
that it’s back in colors. Yeah, we kind of posed
with the Aga Khan award. Yeah, so this is
the master plan. So that was the first
buildings, second building. And now this one is
under construction, which is called
[non-english speech].. It is a building for a center
for people with disabilities. And also the shape
is kind of unusual. I didn’t want to
make another box. I wanted to make a building
that is kind of dancing just to show, you know, it’s
good that we are not all a box, the kind
of functional box. That is good that there
are parts of our society that is kind of not in
line and are different and that it’s beautiful
to be different. And this is what I
hope, that this building is kind of articulating. And also the ramp
is going all around. You know, it’s very
visible, the ramp, because that’s kind of the
symbol of inclusion there. And on the top floor,
we’re thinking, you know, it would be
nice not just to make a place for healing but also a
place to give people a future and to add a place where
they can actually also work. So we combine it
with a project– yeah, that’s the elevation. We combine it with a project
that’s called [? dede ?] Textiles that I initiated with
a tailor master in my hometown, Veronica [? long, ?] and also
with the women of Dipshikha that got tailoring training. And what we are trying– I was always fascinated from
the very first time I was there from these beautiful textiles
that were just hanging out for drying all the time. And when you look close, they
have really wonderful, vibrant surfaces. And I thought, you
know, well, we always, when we think of Bangladesh
and textiles in Bangladesh, we think of these
stupid t-shirts, while they have such
a fantastic culture– textile culture there. So why don’t we do
something, design a project or an object that can be
produced in a decentralized way so that we enable women
to stay within the village so they don’t have to live
in situations like this? They don’t have to migrate
into the urban areas and into the textile hubs
where the living conditions and working conditions
are really hard. So instead, they can
stay within their village where they have this network. They can take full advantage
of all the generations that are living there. The women feel safe because
they know each other they. Can move around. So the kind of free
space, the freedom is much more higher
in the independence than living in the urban areas. So that was also the topic of
the last Biennale, Free Space, and we presented the
[? dede ?] Textiles there. Yeah, and this is the foundation
work when we were there on the studio trip. And we had the first mud mix,
the official inauguration of the mud. These, I really love
the water buffaloes. We also gave them names
both starting with M. [inaudible] going to continue. This is kind of top
secret within our studio, but could be some similarities
with some personalities here at the [inaudible]. [laughter] But they are really great guys. They were hard workers. And then we had the
official opening ceremony. Do we have the sound with a very
beautiful song of [? tagore? ?] [music playing] [non-english speech] That was a very moving ceremony. It was also so nice to see
it, like, these different also religions coming together
with this very strong culture. And we also understood the
meaning of culture, you know, when we were just
before in the camps where culture was almost absent. It was so healing
also to see how uniting a strong
cultural identity can be amongst religion. [interposing voices] So there’s also a lot of
[inaudible] in the mud wall there. Yeah, it’s growing. And completely alone– I mean,
no one is there from my team. It’s just the workers there. It’s under the guidance
of [non-english speech].. Yes, the mud is my big passion. Almost 3 billion
people on this planet are living in mud buildings. It’s always seen as
a super small niche. In fact, it’s really a large
scale that we are dealing with. And it’s so important
to scale it up that the numbers are not
decreasing but increasing because if we– I mean, it’s a material
that is everywhere available that needs a lot of labor. And we have 7 billion people. I mean, we need
work opportunities for 7 billion people. And it doesn’t need CO2. I mean, that’s the
perfect kind of material that we need for the future. But we definitely need
more to scale it up. And that’s also the
topic of a new book I just wrote with Lindsay
Blair Howard and Martin Rauch. It’s published with
Katie [inaudible] and coming in
spring– next spring, it’s going to be on the market. And of course, we talk
a lot about development of technologies
like pre-fabrication but also the meaning
of education. And I’m really glad that at
the GSD, we can talk about mud and we can do tests
and we can really get hands-on experience
because with mud, it’s like learning skiing. You can’t do it on a
just theoretical level. You also have to learn
it in a practical way. Yeah, we also did projects,
together with Martin Rauch at the ETH Zurich. I had a studio with
him two years ago and we did prototype
houses for orphans there but also a community hall
which is currently still under construction. And of course we are
also dealing with mud in our current studio, which
is dealing with the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh. It’s currently the largest
refugee camp in the world. It’s about 1 million
people, and it’s just, the moment is just breathtaking
when you’re standing there and you see the
sheer endless camp. And it’s just– this
dimension of tragedy is just really hard to take. So this is the situation
that just goes endlessly. And it’s a very
vulnerable situation. I mean, cyclones are coming. Flood is coming. And of course, it’s
surrounded in a region and in a country that is
already extremely poor and land is so scarce. So it’s really a very
problematic situation there. So we took time to discover the
camp with [inaudible] helpers who were our
partners there, which are really doing great work. And that is now part
of one of the students of [non-english speech]
research in the studio. So we looked at
the materials or he looked into the materials
that are coming into the camp. And it’s mainly a tarpaulin,
of course rope material and bamboo, which is there. You see that all the time. So you have structures
out of bamboo and then kind of covered
with the plastic sheets. So if you compare the
inorganic material and the organic material that
are coming into the camp, it’s just 22% is– or 29% is inorganic. The rest is organic. The rest is inorganic, which
means, in the end, also waste. And if we look particularly
on the material of the walls, of course for the
roofing, you need plastic. You need tarpaulins. But what is astonishing
that also the wall materials are mainly built out of
this kind of plastic sheets. And only a very small
part is building with mud. And the situation in
reality is like this. They’re really sitting
on the building material. I mean, the mud
is just so there. [interposing voices] And it’s just such
a weird situation if you think the
material is there. The labor is there. And also people start on their
own building with the mud. But those who have been
there since a longer time in Bangladesh
and have already seen the Bangladeshis
working with the mud because the
[? rohingyas ?] itself, they come more from
timber structures. But still, it’s
like, if we think of the durability of materials,
mud can be very durable, but it can also
return to nature. So it doesn’t leave any
imprint in the place. But it’s like, when we see
all the other materials that are coming in, they have– are all oil-based. They have millions of years kind
of embedded in their character. But in fact, the
durability is– you know, the guarantee is not
more than a year. I mean, they can stay
longer, but it’s only a year, the guarantees. And so in a way, you bring in
millions of years that are, but they’re not very permanent. They leave a lot of waste. On the other hand,
you are sitting on a material that is
there for free and that doesn’t leave any scars. So that’s why we really hope
that we can do something with our project there
to bring up new visions how to really use the
existing local materials. So we were working with
the bamboo structures to understand the bamboo more. And then we were also getting
ourselves into the dirt and understanding the mix that
is there, the qualities, what you can actually build
with that material. So it’s definitely not
usable for rammed earth but for various other
techniques that we did here, like kind of reinforcing
projects from [inaudible] that were starting to
use the mud and we gave in our inputs, especially
Martin Rauch’s input, how to fortify the structures
and, you know, especially also how to deal with surfaces. And it gave us also
a really nice way to interact with the community. But they understand– And what we understood
is like, I mean, it’s such a harmful
or painful situation. If you’re sitting in the
camp and you have nothing to do, you’re not needed,
especially as a child, what kind of future is that? And they were just passing
by and they were really happily joining in
and doing something. And I think that is also– mud
is often used in therapies, you know, how to
overcome traumas. And 70% of the kids
have experienced either murder or rape and mostly
also of their own parents. So they are highly
traumatically shocked and have really
painful experience. And I think this kind of process
could be really also healing if you’re not just sitting
in and being kind of forced to wait for help from outside. But you can actually build
something out of the ground while the process itself
is forming community, is healing for yourself. You feel powerful
again because when you build a wall, when you build
a house, you feel empowered. And I think that’s a very
important notion that has not yet really been implemented. And that’s what we
are trying to hope to contribute with the studio. We ask the children to
draw the dream houses. And they were all drawing the
houses they left in Burma. And we also asked them
if they could imagine, you know, to live in mud houses. They were all
saying no, we don’t want to live in mud houses. And then they were like,
we showed them a book from an Indian colleague,
[? dede ?] constructor, who did beautiful mud houses. And they were all, what? This is beautiful. And then we were asking, do
you know what material this is? And yes, it’s Meti. It’s mud. And then we were
asking them, can you imagine that you built
this here in the camps? And yes, we can. And that was such a good
feeling for us to see. Also, the adults
were saying the same, that it’s actually–
it’s giving vision. And that’s an important
thing to really show a scenario, a future vision how
this settlement could really grow out of the dirt. So this is some
scenes from our studio that also slightly
transformed already. So we’re trying to build
a center for children. Most of the projects are
that kind of influence as a kind of powerful
first iconic building that kind of gives the
know-how to the people, training to the people, and so
that it can kind of influence the whole settlement but in a
very kind of more acupuncture trigger point kind of system. And that was just something that
I found that I wrote in a diary some years ago. And I think that is still also
relevant in this situation, as a person who lives in a
beautiful, unique environment with a strong cultural identity
where she or he can actively participate and find work in
creating it is likely at risk to fall towards
ideological fundamentalism in the search for meaning. And this kind of
fundamentalism is definitely something that is a
danger in the camps. Of course they have nothing to
hold on except their religion and have all this
kind of pain inside. And that often comes out, of
course, in an aggressive kind of movement. Yes, I believe that the time
of star architects is over, but I still believe that
we need iconic buildings that kind of give directions
and shows and visions. And I was invited in China
now– we jump from Bangladesh to China– in a [? bamboo ?] Biennale that
invited several architects, amongst them also Kengo
Kuma, [inaudible],, and so on to show
the beauty of bamboo. So I design three hostels. And while going
to the village, we passed like cities like this. And for me, it was a very
shocking moment also knowing that China within just
a handful of years consumed more cement
than the United States in the last century. It’s just such an enormous–
and it’s not just China. That’s happening
all over the world. And people have been
living in houses made out of natural materials before. And this kind of increase
of CO2 emissions, a global scale in all
parts of the world, is just a trend that we cannot
continue and that we need some alternatives for that. And bamboo and mud are certainly
very important material for that. Also, of course, [? timber. ?] So just the drawings– I designed kind of a core, a
double core with the staircase and all like utility, like
toilets and lobby toilets, showers. And then, attached
to this kind of core are the frame
[inaudible] in stone. You have [non-english speech]. These are the sleeping
units for the boys and the girls in the hostel. And it’s kind of a vertical
tent camp in a way. But it’s also– you
know, it’s a little bit like the Chinese lampshades
in the night when they start to [? gloom ?] then. It was totally new for me
because I don’t like symmetry much. But I felt like in that project
and also in that cultural, the context of center was
something very important. So I started to really
go into this kind of central and symmetric kind of
things which ultimately became really a little bit
of a meditation. That was the stone pattern. That was the floor plan of
the guest house, the rooftop. Yeah, first, I mean, those– when I was on the site,
those images came somehow and I thought, yes, I
want to have this kind of expressive shapes step. But then I was thinking, how do
I do this with the insulation? How do I do it with the climate? And since I started in Austria,
they were very– you know, we had very strict
teachers in terms of the climatic performance
of the buildings. And I thought, this needs way
too much resources, you know, to pack this whole sculpture
into some kind of insulation material. And then I started
observing the people. And first, I thought, hm, it’s
kind of a strange fashion. And then I understood
that it’s kind of– I mean, they’re
living in cold houses, but they have the insulation
just really thick around them. So they don’t
insulate the house, but they insulate the bodies. And then they heat up with
soups, with teas, and so on. I thought, I mean,
with a youth hostel, I can maybe also be a little
bit more experimental in terms of comfort. So I thought, well,
you know, I heat up, you know, the lobby room. That also heats up the
water for the showers, then. And then there’s a
gong in the evening and people get kind
of the heating source directly on their body. Then they go into
the kind of tents and they insulate their
bodies with the heating source in this kind
of good sleeping bag. So they sleep in a
cold room, but they have the heating source around
the body and the insulation. So it’s pretty healthy. And in summer, I thought,
they could just, you know, open the [non-english speech]. They had just the
mosquito net inside, and then they had the fresh air. That didn’t totally
work out, unfortunately. But what worked out is the
really beautiful bamboo weavings that they
did so fantastically. Yeah, for me, it was important. You know, when we think
of sustainability, we always think of we
are limited in resources. But actually, when we built
with materials that are there in abundance, like
bamboo or earth, then we can actually really
also build those structures without harming. So I’m also meanwhile working
into more smaller scale or interior projects. It was a project
I did with Martin Rauch in a [? component ?]
building in Austria. And for us, it was a
challenge to bring– it was in the kind of
interior courtyard. It’s kind of the hangout
areas for the employees It’s a kind of high tech
company with a lot of kind of techie freaks working there. And we brought in kind of a
total opposite, total low tech material. But they’re supporting a lot
of projects in developing countries and also
some of my projects in Zimbabwe, the kindergarten,
and also in Bangladesh. So they wanted to have a kind
of atmosphere of these buildings in their headquarter. And Martin and I,
we wanted to test, do the experiment of the very
basic building techniques. It’s called– it’s a
[inaudible] technique, basically taking the white
clay and shaping it with your own hands in
the European context and how that works out. So we designed it and
then we built. Like, it’s more or less like ceramics. You know, you just do this
kind of sausages one layer after the other. So it’s actually the same
thing, only two stories. And yeah, my daughter is also–
it’s the same and not just letting the
Bangladeshi kids work. Also my daughter loves to
be on site although it’s completely illegal. It’s not nice, actually. I mean, we– in our
society, we tend to amuse the children far
from the real life, you know? But actually, children
want to be part of it and want to be needed. And it’s actually– it’s just
a nice material to work with. So we did it very basic. And of course, we could have
done it with a 3D plotter. I mean, it’s easy
to do the things. But It’s such a joy and it
gives you such a connection. And we were thinking,
you know, that is actually a point that
is missing in our society. We are not making
things anymore. And this joy in really
being involved in, you know, how your physical
pressure is actually shaping the architecture
and shaping the spaces, this is a joy I would never
give into the hands of a robot or of a [? plot ?] or whatever. And we were really stressed. We had a tough time
scheduling it and everything. But once we had the
hands in the mud and once we were
doing these things, we felt really like
the mind got a relief. And this is a point
that we are losing in our parts of the society. We are giving the
nicest parts away. And I think that’s something
we have to bring back in [? the way ?] again. And you know, these
shapes are just coming. You’re there and then
you’re pressuring the mud. And then it’s following
your real energy. And for me, that’s the ultimate
architecture, you know? You built this thing and you’re
really into the structure. You touch every single
centimeter of that building. And that is giving you a
very strong connection. This is the [inaudible]. It’s not that low
tech as it looks. It has like– there is
cooling in the floor. It’s heating in the benches. This is the automatic
airflow, the light. And then the sound
system is also there. Then the whole structure
is activated in terms of heating and cooling. And also the mud itself
is also balancing the internal humidity in a
natural way very perfectly. So it has these high tech
elements although the technique itself is very low tech. And what we found
out, though, what is the outcome of testing
this very basic building technique in the
European context is that it’s almost
unaffordable. And that kind of really
makes me very sad if you think you just take
the local material, the mud, and shape it with your own body,
that in our economic system, this is almost unaffordable. Also, this building material
is healthy for people. It’s healthy for the planet. And it’s creating jobs, so
also healthy for the society. Why a building method is kind
of punished with a higher price, there is something wrong
with our economic system definitely because that
shouldn’t be the case, you know? And I really very much hope that
we will get a carbon tax soon because that would set things
into the right balance again. And I think, you know,
capitalism is man-made, is not a force of nature. And it’s also time
to change that. Yeah, so I run you
through some of the– I believe that we, you know– when I design, I
think, you know, it’s not a
sustainability that works or an architectural
approach that works for Bangladesh,
but not for Germany, or it would maybe work
for a developing country but not for the
industrialized one. I think there is one
sustainability, one approach. I think that’s a global
one because if something is exclusive, if
something is just affordable for one
part of the society or for one part of the
world’s population, then it can’t be really on a
social level be sustainable. We are one planet. We are– it just
doesn’t make sense to make different kind of
creative sustainability. So wherever I work, I work
with the same approach, looking at the local
materials that are existing, the local energy resources
that are existing, and then adding
global creativity because I think like
creativity know-how should not be limited in one place. That should be kind of
coming in from a global scale and then applied to
local conditions. So I’ll just run
you through some of the project I’m doing partly
alone, partly with Martin Rauch and others together. I always used the
technique of clay storming. So we really designed the
projects on large clay models. That was a horse
stable in Spain. And that’s how we
usually start a project. We think, you know, how many
square meters, how much volume we need in the mud. And then we start shaping it. That’s ecotourism project
in our ecofarm in Austria. So this is how the
project is developing. And that’s the final state. Looks quite Austrian. So then also when
I go on a site, I first see what
kind of material is there, what kind of
techniques people are using. This is in central India. So they use the
same technique just we did before in Austria
without any form work. So it’s again the
volumes in the beginning. And then we started
twisting the mud. And when you don’t
need a form work, you can actually shape
it in any way you want. So that is a campus for
university, the accommodations for faculty and also students. And that is also ecotourism
permaculture project in Spain, again in Andalusia. And we also look a lot
into the pattern language– so to try– because
whenever we go on holidays, we try to go to
exactly these spaces, you know, like
Greece or whatever, Italy where we have
these beautiful spaces. And we just would love to
bring that kind of quality also back into this
kind of project. So we sometimes,
you know, we just carve out actually the places
rather than the buildings. And that is a project I’m
currently working on, so with [inaudible] architect
and [inaudible] architect, it’s my first
commission in Germany. I’m totally happy about that. And that was the– I think it’s the second
public building in Germany where the call was
for an earth building, so that the call for
architects was already. So it was clear that it’s
going to be an earth building. And this push from politics or
also, that was from the church, I think, is needed that
there’s something going on and that really good landmark
projects are being implemented so that, you know,
that are pushing again the levels of regulations
and so on, on newer levels. So this was also a
participatory approach. Even the cook, the
chef, and the teachers were participating in that. And it’s going to
be a kindergarten. It’s the first part
that is implemented in the Center for
Sustainability. And that’s the boarding school. And that thing is existing. Last project I going to
show is in Worms in Germany. It’s a 19-year-old cathedral. It was the anniversary. And for this anniversary,
they got a new altar or they had a competition
for a new altar that I did with Martin Rauch. So the interior is incredible. It’s [inaudible]. And also the cathedral itself
is a very historic spot in Germany. It’s like, a lot of history
is linked to that cathedral. So it’s a very sensitive place. And we didn’t want to
just design objects. We thought, you know, what
we can learn from projects like the Meti
school in Bangladesh is that the process is just
as important as the outcome. And in former
times, communities, cities were coming
together, creating a church, building up a church or a school
or whatever public buildings. And that really united the
people because you cannot build a building alone. You have to come together as
a city to manage large scale projects and that really,
this kind of coming together and implementing
something together is a very powerful element that
we have lost in our societies, that we have given
away to contractors. And this is something I
think we have to gain back. So we decided- we built
the altar out of mud. We don’t prefabricate
it and bring it there, but the whole community is
coming together to build it. So this really extremely–
that’s the center. That’s the most holiest
place in the cathedral. We turned it into a
construction site for a week. And then people were coming. We had the material in
front of the Imperious gate. And then it was coming
in with wheelbarrows. And then the ramming started. Yeah, then people started
to bring in own elements, you know? They had some very like
historic from the Roman times– you know, stones. And then they started,
you know, seeds bringing in, or like
amulets that they had some– someone was coming and
said, oh, I’m from France and I was a soldier in Algeria. And my mother gave me that
kind of amulet in the war time. It protected me and now I
want to give it– you know, have it presented. And then the Indian
nuns that were feeling totally homesick
had brought also a peace of Indian earth. So they were putting it in. They were starting to cry. And you can really feel
that the earth is much more just a building material. It’s such an emotional
element as well. And then kids were coming
in and, yeah, we had– from all over the road
we had mud coming in. And then kids were coming
and mixing the mud. And They just– you know,
for some had first time the hands in the mud. And it was really a great
experience for them. And then they were stamping with
their feet in the form work. And then that was the moment
where kind of we really– we took off the form work. And just before we took it
off, I felt like, you know, the shape and how it
went out, how it looks, wasn’t so much
important anymore. It was already such a powerful
experience, the whole process, that of course it matters
as much as the process. But it normally– it was just
turning things around because normally, you all wait. You know, how does it look like? You want to have that picture. You want to have this
beautiful object. But it was just so
clear in that moment that the process is
just as important. Yeah, everyone was
really extremely happy. Also, the priest
[inaudible],, he was– in the beginning, he wasn’t
very sure about this project. I think he was also–
the second proposal was a proposal out of steel. And I think he also
liked that one very much. But then he found
in the Bible a quote where Moses, when he received
the Ten Commandments, he also received the
prescription from direct order how to build the altar. And it was said it should
be made out of mud. It’s interesting. I mean, there is so
much going on here. There’s such– you know,
the [inaudible] is there. And I think this is similar
to also a bit of our society. We’re not lacking of materials. But what we are lacking
is relationships and sense and meaning. And I think that is kind
of the symbol of the alter. It brings us back, you
know, to the essence. And what really matters is
also relationships and meaning. Yeah, the inauguration is– or the blessing is next week
with the bishop and everything. I’m looking forward
to that moment. Yeah, that picture is for
me a very important one, this alpha and omega. What I said before, I think
to truly build sustainable we have to also
[? embed ?] the omega. When we design
buildings and objects, we should already design how
it can go back to the ground, to the nature again. And I think the most important
thing for me in my work is raising trust– raising trust in many levels
in their own potentials, you know, that you
can really get rid of the strife, of all the ego. Leave space also for intuition. That you have everything inside. You don’t need all whatsoever–
plotters, programs, whatever. We are getting so
much depending. In fact, we need creativity. We need intuition and we
have to give space to that. And I think that can
create sometimes also very surprising architecture. And of course, also on the
level of society, the trust, I think it’s very important
that we bring participation into our projects again. And I think this
is bringing much– of course, maybe we have
to compromise sometimes in perfection. But it brings back so much
meaning and relationship to our projects. That is, I think, very important
in our society right now. And then, of course, in trusting
in the local materials– all around us, we have just
really beautiful materials and we really need
to use them in order to create a planet
that is also there for the future generations. 500 years ago, we
were able to do this. So with all our
technology that we have, we should be able
to do things again. I would love to build a
skyscraper right in Manhattan. I think also for urban space,
it’s absolutely possible. So there are no limitations. It’s a wide field
open for innovation because this field,
mud architecture, has not been much
discovered yet. So I hope a lot of
colleagues join me in the thing to
pushing things forward. And yes, I do
believe architecture is a tool to improve life. It’s a very powerful tool too. I think in the end
of my career, when I’m adding up all the
building budgets that run through my
fingers, I really want to be able to tell
myself that I distributed the money in the right
way, that it ended up with people, with
craftsmen, and not just in big pockets of
some industrialized– in some industries. And I want to tell myself that
I contributed to social justice, to cultural diversity, and I’m
not leaving scars but a garden behind. Yeah, architecture is a
tool to improve lives, and I think we should use it
with all the creativity that we have, with all our
sensitiveness and also love in order to make this place,
the world, more better, more beautiful, and also
more humane space. Thank you. Yes, sure. Yes. So we have time for a
few questions for Anna. And there are the microphones. If you have question, then
we can pass along the mic. [inaudible] Yes, of course. We tested the mud in Boston. [inaudible] Yep, it works. And of course, I mean, you can
do it in load bearing ways. But you can also do it a lot
of inside with all the mud plaster. For me, it was totally
weird first time. I was here as a Loeb fellow. And we were all in already
furnished apartments. And I opened first
time the cupboard. I thought, what
kind of instruments are there in this
cupboard until, you know, I figured out these
are humidifiers. I had never seen
humidifiers before. I mean, it’s for me totally
weird to make walls that are completely sealed,
that cannot breathe. You know, and in
winter, you have to plug in these instruments
that need a lot of electricity to get a humidity that
kind of is comfortable. I have– my humidifier is my
mud wall at home, you know? It’s like, it’s
completely automatic and it’s much more healthy. So I’m also living not in a
total load bearing mud house because I’m living in
a 500-year-old house. So I did a lot of
[? inside. ?] So there’s a lot of hybrid
versions also possible. There might be some child
labor laws here in Boston that prevent– Probably. There’s another question there. Yeah, I’m just wondering how– sorry. That was really great. I’m just wondering
how you feel, like, this process is going to
scale well into the larger projects you’re
starting to do now and what considerations you’re
dealing with that as well as they’re in areas that
have different labor laws and these kind of concerns. Just maybe go deeper into that. Thanks for this question. Yes, the good thing is with mud,
you can do it very low tech. But you can also
do it high tech. So Martin Rauch did [inaudible]
demo on this Ricola Herb Center in Switzerland where the labor
costs are extremely high. So there, you have
to find technologies where you can reduce the labor. So he just invented
a lot of machinery. That still needs more
labor than a concrete wall, but it’s much faster to do. It’s prefabricated, so it’s
drying before you put it in. You know, you just
staple it on site. So you have like
huge blocks of mud that you just then put
on top of each other. And that is– then, you know,
normally if you build it, in situ, on site, you have to
wait after a certain height, you know, until it dries
out and it’s stable again. So this all falls away. So you can really calculate
the time on the site. It’s much faster. And these elements
have insulation in it. They can have all the
electrical fittings in it. They have wall heating in it. So these kind of
technologies are existing, and this is also needed in
order to use it for urban places and for more
industrialized countries. I’m a current Loeb fellow, so
I can relate to your humidifier comment. I’m just wondering in terms of
the scalability in the camps that you showed, one
of your early rules was that you needed this
concrete foundation. So how can you address
a city, you know, a kind of improvised
city of 1 million people without concrete? Yeah, the foundation
is the only thing where it would make
sense to get material. And right now, the
regulations in the camp are that there should be
no lasting material there. So that means you have to make
rammed earth foundations, which a lot of houses in
Bangladesh do have, also some two story houses. It’s not that strong,
like a brick foundation, but it’s possible. It’s doable. It just needs to be, you know,
a thick rammed earth foundation. And then the walls have to
be also comparatively thick. Hey, I think the work you do
is really amazing in general. But I was curious
because you have kind of your fabric,
artisan world, and then the building world. But do you ever use textiles
for building or with the mud? Do you put the
textiles in the mud? Yeah, I think this one
shows it, for example. So you mean– Like as a material, like
as a building material. No– Rather than just as a– I do it normally. I mean, the mud walls
are really having this very heavy and steady
feeling kind of static one. And I love the textiles
that are bringing like the playful and kind of
also the kinetic element in it. So I use it more as
a kind of counterpart and also to bring
colors in which is I think also
important in, you know, the emotional part in buildings. But the mud walls itself, they
work without the textiles. And it’s just cheaper without. [inaudible] your projects. Can you speak a little
more about the time restraints and considerations
in your projects? Because it seems
like, as you said, the walls need time to dry in
a lot of the projects as well as it’s a major kind of
community investment. So are they done– I didn’t quite grasp
the time frame, how long these projects took. Was this something
that was a year, or was it two years
or three years? No, the Meti school was six– after four months,
it looked like this. Then it had a certain drying. And then [? they ?]
came the surfacing– you know, putting on all the
surfaces, fixing some cracks. And that took
another two months. But there was a drying
period in between. But this is done within,
altogether, I think, nine months or so. I mean, that’s
definitely possible also. But I think if you really
want to speed up things, then prefabrication
is the way to go. And then, you know,
it’s like, maybe it’s a half of year of
prefabrication, and then you install
the elements depending on the size of the project. But I think, at Ricola, it took
three months or so, I think. Hi, it’s always wonderful
to see your work. It’s so inspiring. Can you speak a little bit
about code regulations? Because I know that
Martine also had problems and he was able to do his
house because, you know, it was his own house. So doing this new
project in Austria, did you have to go
around or create new codes for mud buildings? Yeah, that is– Germany is difficult.
Switzerland is easier. Austria is also OK. Germany is bad. And now I’m having this
project in Germany. But you have– basically,
you have to do all the tests, you know, making as if you
invent the new building material. So you have to have all sorts
of tests throughout the process. But it’s possible. I mean, it takes
time and it costs, which is again unfair because
why would that cost, you know? But yeah, you have to add some
costs and some time for that. But it’s possible. I mean, of course
you can do, you know, cubes and test these cubes
with all sorts of pressures and tension and whatever
with all these [inaudible].. This is not– I mean, if you invent
some other materials, you have to go through
this process as well. But it’s definitely possible. But you need this kind
of– it’s called– you get the certificate
for this specific building. So it would be good to have
like regulations that’s– with the codes,
it’s always then– it forces you to
build it exactly or to use it mud
exactly like this. And if you want to use
local mud that is kind of non-standardized and
doesn’t have, you know, again this kind of– you have, you know, the
patent on this specific mix. I mean, you want to have
it a local material. And that’s kind of
the tricky thing. So it would be better
to have kind of rules that you say, OK, if
I’m not sure about it, if I follow the rules,
I know it’s safe. But if I know the material
well, if I’m a good craftsman or I just really
know these things, then I can also go
beyond the rules. It’s not, you know, strictly– it’s not a code that I have
to be exactly like this. Yeah? Thank you. Did you face any
cultural resistance to the notion of people
living in mud homes? Hassan Fathy, who did
the same thing in Egypt, they were seen as being
of a lesser quality. They were seen as being
not Western enough, not glitzy enough. Did you face any of that in– All the time, all the time. Speak to how you got over that. Was– The only thing– the only
thing that helps is, you know, a good design. It’s beauty. That is– you know, all the
factors of sustainability, even costs, that
is not interesting. But what’s really–
the emotional effect is the fact of, you
know, you always go for the beautiful thing,
even if it’s more expensive. if it doesn’t make
sense, whatever. But you know, this is the only
thing what I’ve figured out. And no one wanted to
have in the beginning the [? school ?] made
out of mud and bamboo. But then, you
know, it was like– but of course,
the NGO understood all the sustainability aspects
that the people can then techniques to improve their
own living conditions. That was all understood. But still, it was not
really– you know, you don’t want to have the dirt. And then after
seeing how beautiful it could look like,
then of course the next projects
are way more easy. But I mean, with
the first building, I really had to do
something that is a total no go in development work. It’s like imposing
things, you know, that– I mean, I collected the money. So I could, of course, steer in
the direction I wanted to go. And that is, of course,
a situation you never want to do in development work. You want to follow exactly
the dreams and aspirations of the people, you know? And I felt really bad about it. But I think it’s, you
know, this branding is going on all the time. It started already, you
know, in the colonial times where, you know, the British
were bringing in the better bricks because
they had the coals or that was better quality. So they brought it. They built already with these
things, you know, that– the more prominent building. Then the whole development
aid, all these decades of development aid where
the German engineers were coming and making
proper structures, ignoring the local
potentials, and then all of the movies and
all, you know, TV. And all this branding is
going on since decades. And so this is also
a kind of imposition. It’s also not really respecting
the local conditions. So in that thing, I thought
it’s important to just– to put also an alternative
on the table that is really– people can see. People can touch and experience
to have a counterpart to see that something
else is possible as well. It’s not just small dark huts. I just want to follow up on
this gentleman’s question because I think
your buildings serve the purpose, the
immediate purpose, for the people in the program. But it also serves a
purpose as a model. And I remember
previous interviews you’ve done about
the schoolhouses where you talked about the
importance of that this model needs to be close to reality. It’s not something
that’s so foreign that people feel patronized
by it, something that aspires. You know, and I think
you talk– it’ll be interesting to hear you
talk about it, this balance, because on one hand,
you talked about we’re over the star architect
system but people need iconic buildings. I think this gap
between what one can do and what one could aspire to
is a very important tightrope to walk. I think that, you know, it
was only the Meti school, I think it was very
important to also make the second building
where it’s about housing It was a big topic. For example, how do you bring
showers into a mud building? How do you bring toilets
into a mud building? That was something
no one could imagine how that could look like. Then also we did–
at the same time, we did some prototype
houses in the village and neighboring villages with
two stories with students. So to show all these kind of
steps, so I think, you know, you can’t– it’s like doing
massage, you know? You have to find
the trigger point and push that really hard. And that’s the Meti
school, you know? And that’s what
we’re also now trying to do in the studio with
the Rohingyas, you know? We try to find
this trigger point and then, you know, find
ways that people can actually use the know-how. You know, like, they’re getting
hired and they earn some money. They learn the techniques. And then they eventually
could go and kind of implement it in their
own house and conditions. And I think this is like– to find this trigger point
and also then the techniques to scale it down
is the next step. That is, I think,
very important. And that has– both stages
has same kind of importance. But I think to start with, kind
of acupuncture trigger point is a good thing. I like this massage and
acupuncture analogy. It’s very therapeutic, you know? Actually, the
mud– the structure that we did in front
of the [inaudible],, it was also really good. And I had a friend of mine who
is an earth architect in China and he said, someone came
by, a tourist from China. And he saw this and then
he said, hey, actually I like that. And then he looked
around in China for an architecture who could
do it and then hired him. And he got a
project implemented. So that was kind of also
a trigger point here. Great. Any other questions? Hi, Andres. Hi. Since you started
working with mud, have you seen the
industry change or be receptive to this shift? I mean, from architects
to foundations and awards to also just the industry– you’ve mentioned
some pre-fabrication that has been going on
with Ricola, for instance. So can you talk a little
bit about where we’re going? Is it getting better, or is it– I think what’s interesting is
the brick industry because they are really afraid of
this carbon taxes things. So they know– I mean, to fire the clay,
you need this energy. And that just sets
free a certain amount of carbon emissions. To get rid of it,
the only thing is to use the raw
material, the clay. So they are– I think that this is the
kind of industry that is more perceptive
for it because it’s the same material, kind of. But the concrete, it’s
a bit more tricky. I mean, like, there’s always
the search for green concrete. I mean, green concrete
is rammed earth. Again, it’s the same ingredients
as you have [inaudible].. And then instead of adding
the cement as the glue, you have the clay as a glue. So this is the green concrete. But you know, with
firing, and now in the cement production,
firing the waste, you know, the whatever– so you
can take it in a way that the carbon emissions
that are in the waste are calculated in the waste. So if you fire the waste, you’re
having zero carbon emissions because it has been calculated
already on the other side. So this is kind of where
they could probably find a bypass to overcome this
kind of carbon certificates in a way. But I think the
brick industry they can’t do it because they need
this very good primary energy. And that’s what costs
them, the CO2 emissions. So I think that’s
probably the industry that is most interested. OK, thank you again
for a great talk. Thank you.

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