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Workers at the Sochaux-Montbéliard Peugeot factory
Workers at the Sochaux-Montbéliard Peugeot factory
Florence Aubenas

MONTBELIARD - The meeting point is located just outside the city limits of Montbéliard, in eastern France, on the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.

A few steps away is the front gate of the Peugeot car factory. Twenty people or so are waiting for the bus that will take them to the workshops of the morning shift. Clouds of jet-black and pink are stretching in the chilly sky. It must be around 4.30 a.m.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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