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A Fire-Place Down to Earth

Domaine de Boisbuchet


This video is part of a series on the Domaine de Boisbuchet’s workshops. The Domaine de Boisbuchet is an international center for design, architecture and applied arts, in the southwest of France founded in 1989. Find more videos following the tag #Boisbuchet.

Taking place in late July, "A Fire-place – Down to Earth", the workshop by Timur Ersen - a Turkish-France architect - was not for the squeamish. Offering the unique opportunity to build a rammed earth fire-place for Boisbuchet, the workshop was supported by Alvaro Siza and his partnering architect Carlos Castanheira, with the aim to finally build the second bonfire Alvaro Siza himself developed in a 2016 workshop at the Domaine de Boisbuchet.

In the presentation for the workshop, Timur declared that "Rammed earth is an ancient technique, where the soil is compacted layer by layer in a formwork creating load-bearing walls. Thanks to its unique ecological benefits and aesthetic potential, it is today one of the most promising techniques for sustainable architecture".

Actually, Timur, after graduation, worked for around 8 months for the visionary rammed earth craftsman Martin Rauch, especially on the Ricola Herb Center designed by Herzog & De Meuron near Basel. After that, Timus has run for 3 years his own practice as architect and craftsman in Turkey, proposing constructions that are based on local resources regarding material, craftsmanship and energy. Now he is based in France.

"Participants of this workshop will be learning by doing, so do take into account that your clothes and hands will get dirty!" said Timur, presenting his workshop as an ideal occasion to team-work with hands, machines and tools in order to create free-standing structure which would literally “emerge from the ground”, gathering future generations of Boisbuchet’s visitors around.

The film by Jimmy Monagar retraces the workshop: just like Timur Ersen said, we see people carrying buckets, using concrete mixers, working on a construction site, adding brick to brick, building something we don’t get to see… if not only after the credits! It is here that we see the participants gathering together around the bonfire at dusk. The atmosphere is of celebration, people enjoying the work of their hands. It is peculiar, though, that throughout the video we only see how the bonfire is built, how the materials are mixed together, the bolts and the pulleys, creating both an atmosphere of anticipation and focusing on the act of construction, which - of course - it is the core of the workshop.


Architect: Timur Ersen
Mentioned project: A Fire-place – Down to Earth (2018)
Project location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, Lessac, France
Director: Jimmy Monagar
Participants: Julia Nowodworski, Abdulhadi Al Sehlawi, Fatema Al Sehlawi, Zoe Webster, William Beck, Martin Walton, Anshika Bhandari, Kester Farrell, Maria del Mar, Maria Benitez
Montage: Ieva Lygungaryté

France 2018
Duration: 1'43"