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© UNESCO / Francesco Bandarin

Support for production of a documentary film on earthen architecture

The France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement supported the production of a documentary on earthen architecture. In 2004, François Le Bayon directed the documentary “New Forms in Earthen Architecture.” The documentary was produced by R.F.O, Lieurac Productions and Nanook Productions with UNESCO’s participation, within the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, of Planète, of Radio Televisão Portuguesa and of the Centre National de la Cinématographie, and with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The documentary looks at the use of earth as a construction material over thousands of years. It was filmed in Egypt, the Syrian Arab Republic, Peru, Burma, Mali (in the Old Towns of Djenné inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988) and on the island of Mayotte (Indian Ocean). It illustrates how, at the beginning of the 21st century, earth has become the material of the future of construction for poor countries as well as for rich countries. Almost 2 billion people live in earthen housing. It was used in the construction of the first towns and allows for all desired architectural formations. It only needs to be dried in the sun, after which it becomes almost as hard as concrete. Virtually free, it is drawn directly from the construction site and does not require any heating or transport. Totally natural, it is completely respectful of the environment. It perfectly retains its coolness in the summer and heat in the winter. Earth remains the most available, accessible and economical material. The availability of this construction material, and the ease of its use, perfectly correspond to the needs of the poorest countries (it is estimated that there are 1.1 billion poorly housed people in the world).

Strategic objectives
  • Communication