Natural – Building Cultural Dialog Münster/Addis Abeba

Choice module for Masters students at the Münster School of Architecture (msa), Germany
Winter Semester 2013/2014
Taught by Arne Tönißen, Dipl. Ing., Earth Building Specialist

The follow-up seminar to the 'Hand und Fuß' module at the Münster School of Architecture concerned itself with the traditional building cultures of the southern hemisphere. Alongside an introduction to earth-bamboo building systems a focus on the Gurage region of Ethiopia was presented.

Among other themes one exercise of the seminar dealt with finding new ideas for a future of the local building culture. In this regard a co-operation with the Ethiopean Institute for Architecture Building Construction and City Develeopment (EiABC) was established: Through a critical dialogue and an information swap between the students in Münster & Addis a deeper understanding of local circumstances and traditions was sought.

The closing project of the seminar involved the construction of a full-scale bamboo and earth structure, which reflected the results of the seminar and allowed students to physically experience what they have learned. An elongated tunnel-like structure with the name 'mereti', which means earth in the Ethiopian language Amahric, was the result. It was designed together by all of the students and was supposed to be understood as a material library for various bamboo and earth building techniques. Not without a reason it was built in the foyer of the university’s library.