It’s already been two years since L’Aquila was struck by the earthquake, a painful page of recent Italian history. The main tremor, on April 6th, at 3:32 am, had consequences we cannot easily forget: entire villages were destroyed, the city center of L’Aquila itself was crushed to powder; more than 300 victims, damage worth more than 10 billion Euros.
The Italian government, thanks to the generous donations from all over the world, immediately began to rebuild the area, starting from the houses, which were, of course, necessary to give back a roof to all the people made homeless by the earthquake. Public works, by the way, usually require a lot of time: time which means death for many small villages over there, already empty because of the youngsters’ emigration towards bigger cities in Italy.
Ecological, Autobuilt Village
For this reason, the inhabitants of Pescomaggiore, a village near L’Aquila, decided not to wait for national help, but to start working on their own, in order to build houses which would allow people to stay in their hometown.
This is how EVA (Eco Villaggio Autocostruito/Ecological Autobuilt Village) was born. Designs have been made by Paolo Robazza and Fabrizio Savini, with the cooperation of Caleb Murray Burdeau, expert on bioarchitecture. EVA is a low-cost, earthquake-proof village, built with eco-friendly technologies.
The houses, for instance, are and will be made with straw, a technique which is ecologically sustainable, and very resistant, despite the appearance: with plaster on it, straw doesn’t catch fire easily and it is more shockproof than reinforced concrete; moreover, straw allows reducing the costs for heating by 75% and it guarantees a great level of sound insulation.
From EVA to ALMA
Once ready, EVA’s houses will be the beginning of a long-term project whose aim is to revitalize and promote the surroundings with the help of the people living there. The name of this long-term project is ALMA – Abitare (to live), Lavorare (to work), Memoria (memory), Ambiente (environment). The meaning is pretty clear: to bring people back to the village offering a proper house and creating new job opportunities; to keep the historical identity of the community; to respect the natural environment.
A few practical examples: in Pescomaggiore people cultivate a common bio garden to help the self-sufficiency of the village and in a short time the common oven will be restructured.
This is EVA’s little miracle: the project is providing not only new buildings, but also confidence and future to the entire community. Because without people, houses are useless.