The Caribbean Bahareque: From Living Branches to the Wall

  • Massimo LeserriEmail author
  • Dayan-Ariadna Guzman-Bejarano
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


This research project begins with a two-hour journey in the Cordoba department, (Colombian Caribbean Region), two hours of endless pathway and abrupt braking dividing the city of Monteria from Covenas town; namely the inland from the sea, the green from the blue. A trip that has allowed landscape observation presenting itself as an endless extension where nature mixes with man and cattle presence. The project begins with landscape observation where inherency of fences of live branches nailed in the ground is a constant. In such a landscape, what is built seems to be obtained using wood, by means of self-construction and characterized by an emergency visualization of consensual stability. Long series of lined up vertical boards, for example, describe horizontal lines which probably pursued the need to define them as private fields and properties. Approaching the towns seems to intensify poles’ deformation, but it can be just a sensation, and it hypothesizes a new idea of curtain wall appearing urbanized when definitions begin to look alike. The city is approaching, or it is a campaign that slowly hits in the lure of modernity. Irregular enclosures begin to harden, to acquire new rules and orders. Heights appear regularized. Even parcels will appear permanently blocked in a wall. The research has been developed through the study of bahareque, an ancient technique of Caribbean construction to build walls of wooden sticks and a final layer of humid ground. Nonetheless, the study’s objective is to analyse the historical genesis of vernacular architectures where sticks become wall. The wall is born, but hypothetically the branches’ braided system has not completely disappeared (Fig. 1). The wall continues to delimit borders and architecture as a branches’ set stuck in the ground. It has neither lost its nature nor origin. They are signs of the landscape and, at the same time, the most evident expression and symbol of knowing how to do and live through a territory’s materials. The study ends with an analysis of the genesis and use of living branches in fields such as architecture where their extraordinary construction techniques represent an indelible knowledge.


Colombia Bahareque Architecture Caribe Vernacular 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Massimo Leserri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dayan-Ariadna Guzman-Bejarano
    • 1
  1. 1.Pontifical Bolivarian UniversityMonteríaColombia

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