Project

Durability of Local Materials and Traditional Techniques of the Mexican Vernacular Architecture in the State of Michoacan

Goal: This project pretends to study, understand, learn from, and reappraise vernacular architecture collaborating with the local communities of Michoacan, Mexico.
With the identification, analysis and and study of the traditional construction techniques and local materials, we pretend to disseminate the results of our research with the local communities in order to raise awareness of the importance of the vernacular materials and techniques.

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Project log

Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added a research item
The abandonment of earthen architecture in Mexico, exemplified with the traditional adobe house, the most representative typology in the country, is an overwhelming phenomenon which we are trying to turn back due to the sustainable potential of these dwellings and their important cultural legacy. On the other hand, the seismic vulnerability of these constructions has provoked the mistrust of society, which relegates from these ancient systems and associate them with the lower socioeconomic levels and a sense of structural fragility. In recent years, different strategies have been applied for the safeguard and conservation of this vernacular heritage, however, the data shows us how the earthen construction decreases at a high rate year by year. In this document, four approaches to the seismic vulnerability of the adobe dwelling are presented: from the cultural geography and the conception of the users, from the typological and technological-constructive characterization, from the structural analysis and the evaluation methods, and from the material characterization in the laboratory. The results obtained allowed to identify those territorial, sociocultural and constructive patterns of the dwelling of five representative study cases; to evaluate the seismic vulnerability analytical tools for these architectural typologies and finally, to develop a methodology of characterization for earthen materials which helps to achieve a better scientific knowledge of these systems. At last, all the process was framed within some investigation and cooperation to development projects created for the preservation of the vernacular architecture of the State of Michoacan, generating positive dynamics regarding the reappraisal and dissemination of this meaningful heritage. Keywords: earthen architecture, seismic vulnerability, vernacular housing, materials properties, scientific dissemination.
Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added 2 research items
En el ámbito de la construcción de tierra, se tienen como antecedentes estructuras y conjuntos de gran antigüedad, que forman parte del patrimonio cultural; también se encuentra todos ls tipos vernáculas, para la edificación de viviendas con materiales tradicionales y disponibles en el contexto local. Hoy en día se tiene por correcta la apreciación de que el adobe en zonas de gran precipitación pluvial tiene una menor vida útil que otros materiales cerámicos, aun sí es más amigable con el medio ambiente, ya que no requiere el consumo de algún combustible para el secado, por lo cual, con esta investigación, se busca dar a la tierra una previa adición que mejore las propiedades ante la humedad y pueda ser considerado como un material durable en la construcción de vivienda y más estructuras. Los suelos como materia prima presentan gran disponibilidad en la región de Michoacán, México. Este trabajo analiza las propiedades mecánicas, dinámicas y apreciación estética de varias muestras de suelo arcilloso estabilizado con cemento, cal, hidróxido de sodio, yeso, y mucílago de nopal, respecto a una muestra natural sin estabilizante que funcionó como testigo. Se estudiaron proporciones diferentes de los estabilizantes y la tierra arcillosa, que proviene de bancos de la localidad de Santiago Undameo, donde actualmente se explota para su uso como material para elaborar ladrillos cerámicos. Además, las propiedades dinámicas como la velocidad de pulso ultrasónico (VPU), que es una prueba no destructiva, se correlacionaron con otras pruebas mecánicas destructivas.
El presente trabajo de investigación muestra los avances realizados a partir del proyecto DBMC 2020 en el estado de Michoacán, México, respecto al estudio y análisis de la vivienda vernácula y el patrimonio arquitectónico monumental de la región. A partir de una metodología interdisciplinar de estudio se combinaron el trabajo de campo en comunidades, la caracterización de los sistemas constructivos y materiales presentes, el uso de medios audiovisuales para el estudio de la arquitectura, y la divulgación libre de la ciencia y la cultura. Como parte del trabajo de campo y documentación se visitaron comunidades rurales del estado de Michoacán con una presencia relevante de arquitectura vernácula y construcciones en tierra, principalmente viviendas de adobe y de bajareque. Entre los resultados, más de 80 viviendas fueron identificadas y documentadas mediante ejercicios de levantamiento arquitectónico, levantamiento fotográfico, toma aérea de dron, inspección técnica mediante fichas de trabajo y entrevistas a los usuarios, complementando todo el trabajo con el uso de medios audiovisuales para dejar constancia de los modos de vida y cultura locales. Hasta el momento, con el proyecto DBMC 2020 se ha podido conformar una base de datos completa sobre la arquitectura vernácula de Michoacán y sus distintas tipologías constructivas, con levantamientos de las viviendas, documentación gráfica e información técnica muy valiosa. Además, esta información será complementada con el análisis y caracterización de los materiales de construcción mediante ensayos de laboratorio; paralelamente el trabajo audiovisual ha dado sus frutos, con la grabación del documental Xirangua, que permitirá retratar la función de la arquitectura tradicional en la sociedad y cómo es ésta percibida por los propios usuarios.
Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added an update
Xirangua is the purépecha word for roots, roots which we are leaving behind. This documentary explores the traditional architecture and construction of the State of Michoacan, in Mexico. Xirangua shows the reality of the loss of this vernacular heritage and portrays the importance of its conservation by means of interviews with all actors: local population, artisans and constructors, academics and experts.
 
Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added a research item
The 2017 Puebla Earthquake on September 19 struck a big part of México causing the loss of historic buildings in several states, being the state of Morelos one of the most damaged in the whole country. Jojutla de Juarez was the most affected locality of Morelos presenting important structural damages or total collapse in the built heritage, being the traditional earthen buildings, made of adobe bricks, the most vulnerable buildings to seismic efforts. Some of the causes which contributed to the poor behaviour of the buildings were the improper handling of the constructive systems and materials, the insufficient resistance of the structures and the problems derivate by the foundations. The adobe houses of Jojutla presented a mixture between the traditional building techniques and industrial materials like concrete, cement and steel; also with irregular heights and plant layouts and inadequate connections between the walls and foundations and roofs, resulting into a higher seismic vulnerability when the earthquake impacted. Also the adobe bricks presented irregularities in its composition and use of additives which resulted in completely different typologies and the loss of the traditional construction techniques. There was conducted a study to determine the earthquake resistance of the adobe bricks of the houses in Jojutla, considering that the remaining structures were severely damaged and a whole study of the seismic vulnerability would not be possible due the loss of the physical buildings. The granulometry and composition of the adobe samples of the buildings were determined as well as the natural aggregates like straw and its proportion. Also the compressive strength of the pieces was tested by two methods: the compression test and the point-load test, in order to obtain the indicative values which could be compared with other patrimonial and vernacular study cases. A. Sánchez, E. M. Guzmán, J. A. Bedolla 2 It was observed that the construction materials and therefore the adobe bricks of Jojutla presented different compositions which caused an unpredictable behaviour during the earthquake of September 19 th. Loss of the traditional earthen construction techniques has provoked a poor manufacture of the adobe houses, creating new scenarios where people do not trust in the material and substitutes the earthen architecture by modern materials. The conduction of point-load tests could be an alternative to study the mechanical properties of patrimonial samples before its disappearance.
Antonia Navarro Ezquerra
added 2 research items
Artículo y vídeo de la exposición oral de las Actas de la 3a Jornada de Doctorado del programa de Tecnología de la arquitectura, de la Edificación y del Urbanismo 2020". Barcelona: Escola Politècnica Superior d'Edificació de Barcelona. Actas 3a Jornada de Doctorado: https://taeu.phd.upc.edu/es/jornadas/JD20 Artículo: http://hdl.handle.net/2117/339490 Vídeo: https://youtu.be/NP7ZalquN30
Adobe masonry is one of the oldest construction systems still in use today, Mexico has an enormous cultural heritage with traditional adobe houses being very representative of the rural communities and their culture. The 2017 Puebla Earthquake on September 19th struck the country causing the loss, destruction, and damage of historic buildings in several Mexican states, with the traditional earthen dwellings being the most vulnerable structures to these events. The fast abandonment of the local materials and techniques entails further research regarding the characterization of these construction systems, therefore, reconstruction efforts first require the recovery of the construction technique. After the seismic events, adobe samples of the remaining adobe structures of Jojutla de Juarez were collected. This population was one of the most affected in all the country, and, because of the major losses suffered, the study was conducted to determine the material properties of the dwellings’ adobe shards and natural quarry clays of the region. The characterization included destructive and non-destructive tests, mineralogical and granulometry analyses, and composition of the adobe samples of the buildings, as well as the aggregates. As a novelty, the compressive strength of the pieces was tested by two methods: the traditional compression strength test and the point-load test, in order to obtain the indicative values and the correlation equations between both tests. From the formal analysis and the laboratory, it was observed that the adobes from Jojutla presented different compositions which combined with the building malpractices and alterations to the traditional systems caused unpredictable behavior during the earthquake. The conduction of point-load tests in situ, as a part of a complete characterization methodology, could be an alternative to study the mechanical properties of patrimonial or damaged building samples before its disappearance.
Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added an update
Xirangua is a documentary film and cultural project which explores the most meaningful aspects of the traditional architecture and construction of the State of Michoacan, in Mexico. The word "Xirangua" means roots in purépecha, the local language of the region. This project intends to portray the importance of vernacular architecture and heritage as well as the ways of life in the different communities of Michoacan. Through interviews with local population, artisans, scholars and experts we are tryng to reappraise this heritage which is at risk of disappearance.
The documentary is part of the activities derived from the project “Durability of local materials and traditional techniques of the Mexican vernacular architecture of the State of Michoacan”. This research has been partially supported by the International Contest for Cooperation and Development Projects’ award within the 15th International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components (DBMC 2020), Barcelona, Spain.
 
Adrià Sánchez Calvillo
added a project goal
This project pretends to study, understand, learn from, and reappraise vernacular architecture collaborating with the local communities of Michoacan, Mexico.
With the identification, analysis and and study of the traditional construction techniques and local materials, we pretend to disseminate the results of our research with the local communities in order to raise awareness of the importance of the vernacular materials and techniques.