Following the earthquake of the 6th April 2009, the inhabitants of Pescomaggiore wanted to find a way to remain in their town but did not know how. The main aim consists of providing a new home for families that became homeless after the earthquake. The project started in June 2009 Called E.V.A., an acronym for Do it Yourself (DIY) eco-village. The project features seven houses built on a section of land located on a short distance from the original village of Pescomaggiore, which is now abandoned.
There were two priorities in “Progetto EVA”: first is to redefine the professional-client-builder relationship through a participatory process, and second is to build low impact owner built houses. The involvement of local community is essential of this project. EVA’s main innovation lies in the attempt to overcome the building logistics for emergency situations. Different from the top-down approach proposed by the government which failed in meeting the need to build a community, to stay close to the local tradition and to respect its vocation.
EVA is a practical alternative to the governmental C.A.S.E. Project and it aims to take on reconstruction through participatory planning, firstly by listening to the needs of future users, and then accompany them through the building of their community. Thus, it means to reconstruct a social and cultural fabric rather than just physical buildings. In the project’s early stages, the involvement of both professionals and beneficiaries had created a flow of exchange, which deeply enhances the quality of the final outcome (namely the houses). The housing solution identified together with the residents is an autonomous, self-funded, sustainable, and of course earthquake-proof one.
The project was commisioned to BAG by a Committee for the Rebirth of Pescomaggiore, which already existed before the earthquake, and by a group of inhabitants of the destroyed village, whose common aim was to preserve Pescomaggiore. Since July 2009, about 150 volunteers joined the project on the building fase. Instead of applying the usual top-down building logistics that rules emergency situations, a logic made of prefabricated buildings and the involvement of local population was applied. The project proposes a model made of participation, sustainability, strong ties to the territory and quick response.
BAG identified in the straw bale building the ideal technological tool to prosecute simultaneously all the abovementioned targets. The future residents of the Eco Village will have an active role in managing Pescomaggiore once the building work will be completed. When the ancient Pescomaggiore will be eventually rebuilt, the seven eco-friendly houses will be reconverted for social and cultural activities, offering a range of agricultural activities and landscape maintenance.
BAG identified in the straw bale building the ideal technological tool to prosecute simultaneously all the abovementioned targets. The houses have a simple wooden structure and straw padding, the roofs are clad with solar panels and there is a system to collect rainwater. The straw allows the inhabitants to build houses quickly in an emergency situations. It is found locally, thus it is sustainable. It allows for a DIY approach, where even non-experts can participate. And it ensures excellent insulation: in this mountain area the temperature drops to minus 15 degrees Celsius in winter.