Plastering of earthern walls: a possible solution

Fernando Hinojosa      

When the opportunity of investigating about plaster in adobe masonry, a series of images came to mind of Andean constructions, especially those prior to the Spanish conquest. Many are still standing today, testimony to the dignity, knowledge of Andean man's sensitivity.

Whether in the Chulpas of the Bolivian highlands, the spiritual Macchu Picchu in Peru, or at Rumicucho at the equator in Ecuador, we find plasters of excellent quality. In spite of the evident negligence, these Andean symbols allow us to appreciate that walls, unions and plasters were made with good construction techniques, in frank contrast to current times, when there is more interest in quick execution and maximizing profits.

In order to re-encounter ancient Andean traditions, we spoke with the old building masters. We could see the wrinkles of their hands, witness to years of work and exploitation, as well as their look which carried evidence of a painful past. With great dignity they provided us with a series of homemade formulas and other techniques that we gathered together with students of the constructive earth technologies, which we later delivered at the Faculty of Architecture in the Catholic University of uito, and from which we began the laboratory work.

It was an excellent experience that brought us closer to the reality of a country whose population is comprised of more than 40% indigenous peoples and 60% poor people. It is an experience that places your feet on the ground and encourages you to commit yourself with the most needy. To undertake an investigation of this type is already a luxury, and it becomes important that we are able to obtain results that can be applied to our reality.

Exchange of data with partners from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, is still pending. As this investigation is carried out in several countries of Latin America it allows us to get to know one another, to exchange experiences and information, and to share the same dreams and hopes.

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Fernando Martirena
Civil Engineer, PhD. Professor.
Spanish, English, German.
Research and investigation of materials, specifically alternative cement and cement products.


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