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ARCò | A School of Tyres | East Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territory

The starting constraints were rather complex: the difficulties that Palestinians have indeed to obtain building permissions from the Israeli’s Army was one of the reasons for choosing a non-conventional material, in order to build something that could not be defined as a permanent building. Furthermore velocity and simplicity in the construction, minimum costs and the use of local non-skilled manpower were a must. Last the project had to face the extreme climate conditions of the desert environment. From these constraints came up an innovative project that brings together the rapid and simple construction with a high-level of comfort conditions: a school of tyres.

A School of Tyres - Jahalin Bedouin village of Al Khan Al Ahmar (2009), Palestine

The building technique uses recycled tyres filled with soil, which have the multiple advantage of rapid and simple realization, high standard thermal insulation and static resistance. Bibliography on this subject and the number of realized examples are still limited, but results are astonishing. Earthships are maybe the first example of building realized with this technique; they were built in New Mexico under the guide of architect Michael Reynolds. Earthships are very comfortable buildings, designed with a system of continuous water recycling, working with sustainable energy sources and bioclimatic design.

Construction Technique

Tyre is a zero-cost material, with high elasticity and resistance, thanks to the iron and gum elements which is made of. The internal woven iron threads make tyres an ideal building material. Moreover, the re-introduction in the lifecycle is a sustainable option for a material whose destiny is usually the garbage disposal. The filling of tyres made of highly pressed soil guarantees stability and resistance to compression forces and high thermal inertia too. Tyres fulfilled with soil are disposed in layers as big heavy bricks, and compose the bearing walls. The external lime and clay plastering protects tyres from solar radiation and avoids their decomposition and in this way any possible toxic release.

External Facade

TerraViva Competitions

Recently created as a new branch of "TerraViva", this specific section proposes a series of design competitions in line with the topics addressed by our workshops and mainly directed to architecture students, new graduates and young designers.

TACTICAL URBANISM NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space will be the third competition of 2021. Starting from December 13th, registrations will be open until 18/03/2022.


December 13th "Tactical Urbanism NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 18/03/2022; Results on 26/04/2022; Jury:  Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona), Public City (Winnipeg), Openfabric (Rotterdam); Orizzontale (Rome); Intuy Lab (Lima); Sports (New York); Atelier Nea (Paris); OBBA (Seoul);


September 10th "Hangar Ticinum - A Community Hub on the River"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 10/12/2021; Results on 20/01/2022; Jury: Piuarch (Milan); TSPA (Berlin); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Operastudio (New York); Degli Esposti Architetti (Milan); Untitled Architecture (Moscow); Comune di Pavia (Pavia); Politecnico di Milano (Milan);

March 15th "The Living Museum - Micro-Architectures in the Landscape"7.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 01/08/2021; Results on 13/09/2021; Jury: Topotek1 (Berlin); Elemental Architecture (New York); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Paredes Pedrosa (Madrid); NADAAA (Boston); One O One Architects (Seoul); Nicolas Campodonico (Rosario); Studio O (Berlin);

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