The aim of the course is to improve the practice of earthen heritage conservation by providing practical training for mid-career professionals from the Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian regions.

In many regions of the world, including in the Arabian Gulf, earth has been used as a construction material for millennia. In the World Heritage Site of Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, UAE, for example, there are numerous earthen archaeological sites dating from the Bronze and Iron ages (ca. 3000-1000 BCE), as well as late-Islamic period houses, forts and mosques built in adobe brick. While these significant sites are being protected and preserved, earthen structures around the world are rapidly disappearing due to abandonment, demolition, and replacement with modern materials.

Targeted training opportunities in the conservation of built heritage and especially those addressing training for the conservation of earthen architecture in the Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian regions are greatly lacking.

Al Ain was chosen as the location for the inaugural course because of its central location in the region, rich earthen heritage, and the variety of conservation approaches and examples implemented by the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi over the last decade.


Train mid-career professionals (architects, engineers, archaeologists, conservators) from centers of earthen architecture in the region including North Africa, Middle East, and South Asia

Provide a biennial training opportunity that balances a theoretical foundation in earthen heritage conservation and management with emphasis on practical methods and hands-on experience

Build a regional professional network of course alumni dedicated to the conservation of earthen architecture

Disseminate didactic materials for earthen architecture conservation that reflect advances in conservation practice and can be adapted to other languages and formats, including online learning

Promote best practice in the conservation of earthen architecture

This course is a project of the Earthen Architecture Initiative.

Page updated: November 2017