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Winter School Workshop: earth-to-earth / ultra-thin formwork for in-situ casting


Lloret Fritschi E.

Course director

Amicarelli F.



The building processes of today`s architecture are amongst the most contaminating activities done by humans. How can architects and engineers help to change this? In this workshop, we introduce the topic of earthen construction enhanced with digital fabrication. Focusing on a real-world construction project, we aim to investigate the importance of the role of architects and engineers for helping to initiate the change towards a more sustainable future. The Winter school at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio is set-up as an interdisciplinary collaboration with ZHAW Zentrum Bautechnologie und Prozesse and selected industry partners. 


We will focus on designing, planning and constructing a fully functional exterior staircase made of earthen materials. This entails the design of an ultra-thin formwork such as a 3D-printed earthen structure and casting of the staircase using a special earth-based concrete (e.g. Cleancrete© by the ETH spin-off Oxara). This staircase will be an investigation into and a prototype for a novel typology of structure serving as a statement for the systemic change that is urgently needed in our built environment.

Learning methods

Invited lectures, introduction of digital design and fabrication workflows, physical experimentation 

Examination information

Physical building element at the campus.