Just returned from their field trip to Peru, our students this week went straight back to the class room for their Low Technology Construction workshop, which focuses on low-tech architecture in development, with professor Emilio Hormias.

This course looks at appropriate, low-tech construction and building materials and their application in various contexts. Examining various projects by USF (Universidad Sin Fronteras – University Without Borders), the students discuss the context, and how they enable and respond to the lifestyles, culture, and climate of the region. A particular focus lies on how to strengthen the social structure of the place where cooperation projects are undertaken, which can be done in parallel while providing improved low-tech construction techniques and organizational forms of participation. This will bring the population greater autonomy and greater quality of buildings, enhancing their comfort, safety and aesthetics.

The one-week course aims to raise the awareness of the importance of a proper application of construction materials in a developing context, and of the biases that exist against low-cost materials. Through real case studies, students are shown how to implement local materials and construction techniques in cooperation projects, with an emphasis on participation and the social processes for technology transfer. They learn how to build with low-cost materials, what social processes are required for local knowledge transfer, and gain knowledge about the appropriateness and effectiveness of constructions manuals and their use in communities.

Images: Lorenza Esquinca

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