earth cohesion test


Materials are at the centre of architecture and construction. Their use requires special care and know-how. Choosing a material is not a decision free of consequences. This choice influences not only the visual, the feeling, the acoustics, but also the behaviour of the building, its durability, its cost and of course its ecological impact.

map of logging operations in Congo Brazzaville yellow construction truck on a dusty track in Congo

Each material has its own use or constructive logic, its strong and weak points. Moreover, its characteristics and carbon footprint may vary according to its production and execution. Finally, the same material will not convey the same image, nor the same history, in Europe or Africa.

wooden raw clay brick mould

Based on these observations, it was important for us to be able to make a conscious choice of materials, especially in a new context, in order to develop realistic and coherent projects. Why does Congo, a wood exporting country, use so little wood for construction? What technique is adopted by our neighbour to make his own bricks? Where is the cement produced? Can the soil, so present in the countryside, be used in construction in the centre of Brazzaville?

sketch of the main applications of cement in Brazzaville harvesting scheme and characteristics of bamboo for construction

In order to provide answers to these questions and to feed our a bioclimatic office project or for a self-construction church, we have dissected the production, characteristics and use of materials from Brazzaville.

men with shovels mixing cement in Congo