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Future Earthen Dwellers

Domaine de Boisbuchet, Diego Delgado

Dancing drones over a warm earthen shell.


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.

Tutored by architects Stephanie Chaltiel and Shameel Muhammed, the "Future Earthen Dwellers" workshop took place in the month of August of 2018. The challenge for the participants was to build a permanent inhabitable vault structure – entirely made of local natural materials but using novel robotic fabrication principles – in only 5 days.

The video, briefly, summons the various stages of the project and the overall atmosphere of both cooperation and enthusiasm of the participants for the techniques used: in fact, these two responses synthesize well the characteristics of the two architects in charge of the "Future Earthen Dwellers"' workshop.

Stephanie Chaltiel began her career in French Guyana and Mexico developing innovative sustainable housing technique using local material, fabricated by hand with local dwellers. She practiced at Bernard Tschumi in New York and OMA, and then taught in London at the Architectural Association London, where, paired with her experience at Zaha Hadid, she learned about the latest parametric and digital fabrication techniques. Chaltiel has been one of the selected Innochain researchers (Marie Curie Horizon 2020 funding) and is currently based at IAAC and UPC Barcelona: the “Future Earthen Dwellers” experience itself is funded by the Marie Curie EU program and being developed at IAAC in Barcelona.

On the other hand, Shameel Muhammed, principal of Studio 7, also worked for Zaha Hadid in London. Aggregate at GCPIA - India, he taught also about "Collaborative and engaged practice", which is an essential characteristic of the experiences promoted at Boisbuchet.

The video, directed by Alex Harrison and Diego Delgado, recounts the building of the structure and the efforts of the participants in constructing the shell and creating the coverage, made with textile bags filled with earth. However, the most surprising appearance here is the professional drone pilot, that sprayed - along with the participants that through a double remote controlled speed and pressure of the clay's application - 3 types of coatings (depending on the level of viscosity and density of fibers) on the structure, creating an impressive choreography.

Harrison and Delgado are here able to present a project while it is still being completed, putting the focus on the cooperation mechanisms and on how an idea becomes reality. Working on a project entirely made of natural and poor materials, they are able to convey the materiality of them, while, of course, letting us enjoy the drone choreography.

Authors icon Credits

Director: Alex Harrison
Architects: Stephanie Chaltiel and Shameel Muhammed
Mentioned project: Future Earthen Dwellers (August 2018)
Project location: Domaine de Boisbuchet, Lessac, France
Architectural team: Elizabeta Šamec, Noor Ul Ain, Anoushka Kolahalu, Muskaan Manish Mardia, Alvaro Casado, Aakash Srivastava
Technical team: Carlos Guisasola Suarez, Félix Panis-Jones, Viktor Reiter, Maximiliam Weidacher

France 2018
Duration: 2'13"