Earthen Masonry Vaulting: Technologies and Technology Transfer

This article in Building Ethiopia - Sustainability and Innovation in Architecture and Design (Volume I) discusses the implementation of two vaulting construction techniques in the context of Ethiopia. Part one will describe the techniques for timbrel and learning brick vaulting in their technical details, while addressing the arguments for their sustainable use in Ethiopia. This section will outline the construction methods, their structural principles, material properties, and applicable design tools and metrics. It will additionally present a comparative discussion of relevant selection criteria for the alternative building techniques, with attention to the challenges of resources constraint in the developing world context. Part Two will juxtapose technical and social concerns of earthen masonry vaulting in Ethiopia, querying implications of the cultural relevance and uptake of this new technology, while setting fourth strategies for sustainable technology transfer.