Cob Construction in Italy: Some Lessons from the Past
Raw earth is a construction material unknown to most people. Nowadays, raw-earth constructions are an area of growing interest, both for rescuing the heritage and for a rediscovered environmentally friendly building and eco-sustainability material. However, because raw-earth constructions are a forgotten technique, we find problems of a lack of skilled people at all levels in this area, from designers to masons, as well as problems of how to carry out compatible conservation works on earthen heritage. This paper tries to fill the gap for a peculiar historic earthen building technology, namely cob (or bauge), which is present in Macerata in the center of Italy. Results are presented on regaining possession of the material and constructional aspects and their initial structural resources, and guidelines are given on how to improve the manufacturing process to reuse the cob technique for construction and for how to accurately work on it for a compatible and sustainable conservation.
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