Aug. 19 - Palestinian architects have come up with an inexpensive and eco-friendly building solution in the West Bank, where rising real estate prices are locking many potential buyers out of the market. The architects are reaching back into history, encouraging Palestinians to build their own homes using sacks filled with clay. Matthew Stock reports.
This dome-shaped building under construction in Jericho is being promoted as a novel solution to soaring real estate prices in the West Bank. Architects here are looking to the past for inspiration, and the results are homes that are not only cheaper but more environmentally friendly. Ahmed Daoud says that the building lessons from years gone by, still apply today. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AHMED DAOUD, OWNER OF HOUSE, SAYING: "When I decided to build a house in Jericho, I decided to revive the way the people of Jericho built their homes hundreds and thousands of years ago. The type of building suits the weather in Jericho and is environmentally-friendly." The home are built of clay-filled sacks layered one on top of the other until they form a dome Rocks and other natural materials are then added for support before a cement render completes the job. Architect Rami Kasbri says the buildings are designed without using industrial materials, and make maximum use of the natural light. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RAMI KASBRI, ARCHITECT, SAYING: "The connection to the environment begins with building the houses from natural materials, not industrial materials. We also build them to use less energy, by there being more ventilation in the house with more light during the day. The sun in this area must be considered so that less sunshine comes in during the summer and more in the winter." The cost of building one of these sack-clay houses is around 35 thousand dollars, almost half of the cost of building a concrete home of the same size.