Adobe in the Desert:
From Brick to Monument

Bezalel Academy
Jerusalem, Israel 
Instructor: Talia Davidi
Group project

The Mastaba is an ancient Egyptian tomb, meaning ‘house of eternity’ for the burial of non-royals. Resembling flat-roofed pyramids, these low-rise rectangular structures were made of mud-bricks and served as a portal for their deceased inhabitants to the afterlife.  As part of the course ‘A Place in the Wilderness’, our class explored the scientific, formal and architectural qualities of ancient building with mud. A technique found in cultures spanning the globe from Turkey to South America, the studio was divided into groups tasked with designing both a unique mud brick model and pavilion.

The final result is a modern-day Mastaba monument in the heart of the Arad desert in Israel. The Mastaba served as relevant source of inspiration for its poetic relations between man and earth. According to the Old Testament, man is of dust and to dust he shall return and as such, our mud pavilion is a tribute to man and the natural world around him, affording our visitors with an intimate experience between themselves, the ground and the sky. Like man, the mud monument is destined to decay back into the ground offering only an earth pile as an indication of its once existence.