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Mudbrick Modern: Architecture Dusts Off Old (Green) Ways

Ignored during the 20th century, mudbrick is reappearing in modern Swiss construction. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it takes less energy to produce and saves on heating and cooling costs.

Workers building a new building for Ricola using ancestral techniques
Workers building a new building for Ricola using ancestral techniques
Sophie Gaitzsch

LAUFEN — A gritty, damp lump of clay is spread in layer after layer into a form before being pressed and dried. The architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron constructed a new building for the company Ricola using this ancestral technique.

The enigmatic structure stands in a field on the outskirts of Laufen, in the Swiss canton of Basel-Landschaft. It's "made with the earth on which it is located" and "echoes its environment," says architect Pierre de Meuron.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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