The Earth Pavilion, due to the proposal of the competitionwhose motto was “There is no future without culture”, must reflect in its architectural project, the use of the earth material from the first sketches. The relationship between the site and the pavilion must also be explicit, since the idea of a unique architecture that can be established in any place has been overcome.
The African territory has particularities which pay more attention to architectural, climatic and social questions, since on the own continent there are nuances that it would be impossible to think of a single architecture that would repeat itself indefinitely throughout the continent. Raw earth as an element of construction offers an excellent thermal comfort, which maintains inside the constructions a soft temperature during all the different seasons of the year, due to the natural properties of the clay maintained in natura.
When well-worked, this material offers superior living conditions to the vast majority of materials currently used in civil construction on the continent. Better yet, the earth has a symbolic value which has always been associated with the notion of African culture. Nothing is more natural then that the material adapted with the few technological improvements that offers our era, regains its place of choice in the daily life of the populations.
Our proposal consists of a careful analysis of the site on which the pavilion will be built. In this analysis we have observed the insolation which reaches it, paying attention to its orientation; we sought information that could indicate the prevailing winds of the city of Niamey, taking into account data on rainfall; we also observed existing buildings and vegetation around the site; considered existing and other main flows that could be potentiated; among others.
We used the technique known in French as “terre pisé”, called “taipa” in Brazil, where the training of the integrants of our team is consolidated; it is called more specifically taipa de pilão. In general, in this technique, the raw earth is compacted between wooden plates called “taipais”, which are placed next to each other to shape the wall. We believe that it is better to use a technique using raw earth than anothers which use more energy for industrial production. Source and images, Courtesy of Abiola Akandé Yayi and Robert Soares.