oven: Pisé

Cérilly (FR), 2021

I was invited as an artist in residence at Polymorphe corp. to initiate the construction of a rammed earth (aka pisé) bread oven.

masonry with raw stones and lime mortar.
Pisé with a team of +/- 6 people, mixing, transporting, tamping earth in a previously fabricated formwork.
Construction of a roof from acacia and chestnut trunks, covered with tiles found on site.

To construct with rammed earth, a sandy and coarse-grained earth mixture is strongly compacted. I decided to use this type of e earth construction because of the local availability of resources and its labour intense construction method.

It is not technically complicated and, in contrast to other types of earth construction, doesn not rely on clay-rich soil. The method creates thick walls with high inertia.

I chose it as a labour intensive method to invite participation and collaboration – the construction was only possible as a collective effort, by gathering different people from from different backgrounds to collaborate. A colorfoul mix of people, backgrounds and generations worked as the oven materialized in unforseen and often improvised ways. Improvisation and decisionmaking on the spot is a big part of my work and allows it to adapt and react to its context.


With the help of many volunteers, the team on site and a one-week ‘chantier participatif’, the construction work was completed after 18 days.

watch here a time-lapse of the construction (1min):
excerpts Building with Earth- A Handbook Kopie