Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts International Seminar 2016


During it were presented a wide variety of proposals, reflections, initiatives and programmes that have developed or are developed around the architecture and traditional building trades craftsof construction. Thus, bringing together all of this in their contribution to the preservation and promotion of this intangible heritage, updating it, adapting it to contemporary needs, and above all, providing continuity to the application and transmission of a category of knowledge that constitutes an irreplaceable source of proven sustainable solutions in which to inhabit our environment.


The Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts International Seminar was organized, thanks to the support of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, by the Rafael Manzano Prize for New Traditional Architecture and the Notre Dame University School of Architecture (Indiana, EEUU), with the participation of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid School of Architecture, the Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio and the collaboration of the Centro de Investigación de Arquitectura Tradicional (CIAT) and INTBAU Spain. It took place in 20-21 October 2016 in the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM).

On the first day, Rafael Manzano lectured about his reconstruction work on the monastery of San Pelayo de Cerrato in Cevico Navero, Palencia; Enrique Nuere (Rafael Manzano Prize 2016), shared his experience and career up until returning to the trade of carpentry; Jerònia Florit and Aina Rosa Serrano explained their work on the recovery of Mallorca’s industrial historical heritage with the Island Council; Richard Economakis presented his project of Temporary and Reusable Adoble villages in response to the current migration crisis; Carlos Martín introduced attendees from the vast world of brick and plaster vaults: Miguel Sobrino, who conveyed his passion for stonework and highlighted the values that the preservation of the trade represents for the future; Fatima Quesada showed the range of possibilities opened by her adaptation of the Andalusian ceramic mosaic tradition to the 21st century; and Scott Liddle explained about the extensive work on the recovery of traditional crafts and architecture developed by Turquoise Mountain, for the reconstruction of a degraded neighbourhood in the city of Kabul, in Afghanistan.

The first session on the second day was dedicated to the relevance of Geometry in traditional construction. In it, José Miguel Merino de Cáceres showed the importance of Metrology as an auxiliary science to restore monuments; Javier de Mingo deciphered the main geometric rules of the lines used in carpentry, and Manuel Fortea explained the diverse use of geometry in the crafts of stonemasonry and masonry. The second of the sessions focused on presenting programmes aimed at promoting and preserving these trades: Donald Gray (Rafael Manzano Award 2015) and Gabriel Montero shared their experience at the School of Lebrija, Seville; Alberto Díaz presented the work and history of the Centro de Oficios León; and Simon Sadinsky spoke about the activities that take place in the United Kingdom with the Prince’s Foundation for the Building Community. To end the day, León Krier denounced the predominance of synthetic materials in contemporary architecture, which not only affect the design of modern styles, but also contribute to replacing traditional architecture with vulgar and ephemeral substitutes thereof; and Alejandro García Hermida presented the new initiatives being developed in Spain from INTBAU with thanks to the support of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust in promoting traditional building and architecture.



In this publication Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts, an abstract of each lecture, as well as information on the initiatives developed by Richard H. Driehaus in Spain and Portugal, have been gathered, as every year. It can be downloaded for free here.

Videos of the lectures

The record and digital edition of these conferences has been made by the audiovisual services team of the School of Architecture of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

20 October

Welcome and Introductory presentation by Rafael Manzano
Fernando Vela and Alejandro García Hermida. Rafael Manzano Martos.

First Session: Architecture and Traditional Building

Un manuscrito cambió mi vida
Enrique Nuere
La experiencia del Consell de Mallorca en la recuperación del patrimonio histórico industrial
Jerònia Florit y Aina Espases
Temporary, Repurposable Adobe Villages for Refugees
Richard Economakis

Second Session: Traditional Building Crafts

Con ladrillo y yeso, se puede
Carlos Martín Jiménez
Labrar la Piedra
Miguel Sobrino
Alizares, reinventando un oficio artesanal para el siglo XXI
Fátima Quesada de la Cuesta
Creating jobs and pride. Sustainable urbanism in Kabul’s Old City
Scott Liddle
Debate after the second session of the Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts Seminar

21 October

Third Session: Geometry and Traditional Building Techniques

La Metrología, Ciencia Auxiliar de la Restauración Monumental
José Miguel Merino de Cáceres
Luchando contra la extinción de la forja
Pepe and Francisco Garrido Rus
La Geometría en los oficios de albañilería y cantería
Manuel Fortea

Forth Session: Education and Preservation

La Escuela de Lebrija
Donald Gray and Gabriel Montero
Centro de Oficios de León 1987-2016
Alberto Diaz Nogal
The Prince’s Foundation: Building Skill in Craft
Simon Sandinski
Leon Krier
Nuevas iniciativas para promover la arquitectura tradicional en España
Alejandro García Hermida

Debate after the fourth session of the Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts Seminar

Conclusions after Architecture and Traditional Building Crafts International Seminar
Alejandro García Hermida, Richard Economakis and Carol Wyant