Earth building has a long history in Portugal, probably beginning with the Phoenecians and certainly established as a vernacular construction material by the time of the Romans and following the Arabic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century. The castle at Badajoz is a particularly fine example of historic rammed earth construction.

The continual fighting between Arabs and Christians led to the construction of many fortifications and the development of earth building as a vernacular technique

I attended an earth building conference at the university town of Coimbra and presented papers……

Following the conference we visited some earthen sites in central Portugal. We visited earth houses constructed at the site of the …….factory near Coimbra. These houses were built for the factory workers around XXX and were constructed in rammed earth with lath and plaster. The buildings were inhabited until recently but have become degraded over time.

We visited two adobe houses in Coimbra, a yellow one and another one….

We also visited a Roman site at XXXXX which is thought to contain the remains of adobe buildings, however since the adobe bricks have degraded only the stone foundations were visible.

There are many vernacular earth buildings in Portugal, some of which are being repaired, for example by Celia!


In March 2010 I attended the SIACOT XI conference in Portugal


That Yellow house artistic

That Yellow house – from the front

That white house artistic

That white house front

Artistic Ceramics factory Vista Alegre

A wall failing at Vista Alegre because it was covered with cement based render

Arch with different types of brick

Repaired and not repaired earth buildings

The old wash house

The church

Damage to the adobe housing on site

The adobe accomodation at the Vista Alegre pottery place

Rising damp at Vista Alegre

Some potentially adobe buildings under something at some Roman ruins