Course details

Earthen Architecture

HLS-KE FA HLS-KE Acad. year 2023/2024 Summer semester 2 credits

The course acquaints students with the issue of using earthen building material for load-bearing and non-load-bearing structures in historical and modern buildings. The course includes information about the earthen buildings development, properties, raw material sources and forms of use. An important part is also the ecological assessment of earth in terms of recycling, carbon footprint and the possibility of reconstruction or remediation. Teaching is divided into theoretical and practical part. An integral part of teaching is excursion (field trip) and practical classes in the laboratory.


Language of instruction



Classified Credit

Time span

  • 26 hrs lectures
  • 2 hrs exercises


Department of Engineering (US)


Learning objectives

The aim of the course is theoretical and practical understanding of the specifics of earthen building materials. This includes knowledge about significant buildings, understanding of the properties of earthen building material and forms of its use in load-bearing and non-load bearing parts of buildings. The aim is to demonstrate the effective earthen buildings and also draw attention to the mistakes to avoid. The aim is also to stimulate creative and critical thinking during physical contact with the earthen building material within the practical part of the course.
- Student get an overview of significant earthen buildings in CR and abroad, their age and location.
- Student will understand the specifics of earthen building material (properties and their optimal use in buildings).
- Student will be able to identify suitable earth for construction purposes based on their characteristics and performance of simple field tests.
- Student will be able to distinguish basic earthen structures and surfaces, including their regional and structural specifics.
- Student will be able to choose the optimal approach in the context of rebuilding and reconstruction of earthen buildings including ways of recycling construction materials.
- Student learn basic practical procedures for processing earthen building material including basic craft skills.
- Student will be able to formulate the advantages and procedure how to eliminate the disadvantages of earthen building material to meet the requirements of building industry in the present and future.

Fundamental literature

  • MINKE, Gernot. Building with Earth. Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2006. ISBN 978-3-7643-7477-8.
  • SCHROEDER, Horst. Sustainable Building with Earth. Zurich: Springer. 2016. ISBN 978-3319194905.
  • MINKE, Gernot. Earth Construction Handbook. The Building Material Earth in Modern Architecture. Michigan: WIT Press, 2000. ISBN 9781853128059.
  • ACT ECO learning platform. Earth Building Techniques (online). URL:
  • Rammed Earth Consulting CIC. UK guideline Appendix A, B, C (online). URL:
  • SCHROEDER, Horst. Lehmbau. Mit Lehm ökologisch planen und bauen. Zurich: Springer Vieweg, 2019. ISBN 978-3-658-23120-0.

Syllabus of lectures

1. Earthen buildings development
2. Raw materials - types, mining, processing
3. Tests of earthen building material
4. Practical classes in the laboratory - tests of earthen building material suitability for construction purposes, tests of earthen samples
5. Ways of using earthen building material in constructions
6. Elements with the use of earthen building material
7. Structures using earthen building material
8. Earthen structures during building use
9. Rehabilitation of earthen buildings
10. Earthen building materials recycling, reuse
11. Excursion (field trip) - practical demonstration of buildings / technologies, including expert commentary
12. Interaction of earthen building material with other natural materials
13. The use of earthen building material in the present and future prospects. Discussion of seminar works

Progress assessment

Credit test, elaboration of seminar work and work with earthen building material during field training is evaluated. Seminar work consist 50% of whole evaluation, credit test 30% and work with clay building materials during field training 20%. The deadlines for submission and elaboration of the test are determined by the teacher in the form of a written assignment at the beginning of the semester and are binding.
Student must attend 50% of lectures and 100% of practical class in the laboratory. During the semester, student continuously completes at least 3 consultations of the seminar work. Missed participation in practical teaching in the laboratory and teaching in the field cannot be replaced, but it can be excused for serious reasons. Replacement of compulsory attendance at lectures is solved individually by prior agreement with the lecturer.


Tue lecture lectures A/118 15:0016:50116 1BIA 1BIB 2BIA 2BIB 3BIT xx Vejpustek

Course inclusion in study plans

  • Programme BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme BIT (in English), 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme IT-BC-3, field BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
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