Post master DSA "Earthen architecture, building cultures and sustainable development"

The DSA "Earthen architecture, building cultures and sustainable development" is a post-master's program, accredited by a national diploma of specialization and advanced study in architecture (DSA-Diplôme National de Spécialisation et d’Approfondissement en Architecture), qualified by the French’s Ministry of Culture and issued by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble(ENSAG).

The training is within the activities of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture”, which aims to establish training programmes with existing training organisations, so as to accelerate the dissemination of scientific and technical know-how on earthen architecture.


The specialization and in-depth diploma mentioning “architecture and heritage” specialty “earth architecture” aims to respond to international social demand in areas relating to earth architecture professions and more particularly in the following areas:

  • the scientific and technical foundations of earthen architecture and its age-old knowledge and know-how: raw materials, materials, elements, structure, constructive systems, architecture
  • conservation and sustainable management of architectural, archaeological and historical heritage
  • fundamental scientific research on the material
  • research & development in constructive innovation
  • the contemporary approach to architecture and environmental, social and economic balance
  • economic housing from a perspective of sustainable local development
  • university and professional training in earthen architecture
  • research training in the field, from a doctoral perspective

As part of the DSA Earth Architecture, the architectural project is understood in its systemic sense and takes into account the entire life cycle: from the material (quarry) to the territory, including the production of materials and recycling. , the construction and conservation of architecture and cities. The dynamic life cycle approach implies the necessary consideration of the evolution of techniques and social demand in relation to doctrines; and control of the environmental and social impact of architecture and town planning on the landscape.

Beyond the technical part which is based on the logic of the life cycle, the training is reinforced by the acquisition of methodological capacities (programming, situation diagnostics, etc.) necessary bases on which technical and architectural solutions can be implemented. be associated for strategic aims which prove essential to obtain concrete progress in terms of sustainable development, respect for the natural environment and cultural diversity, and thus make it possible to consider a change in the scale of interventions.

Organization of studies

The DSA Architecture de terre is organized over two years for a total of 2400 hours, divided into supervised hours, hours of personal work and hours of professional simulation.

The themes covered in the teaching units are:

  • Earth architecture and constructive cultures
  • Scientific, technical and methodological bases associated with earthen architecture
  • Earth architecture professions in Housing and Heritage
  • An experimental approach to earth architectures
  • Research on the conservation and development of architecture

Theoretical and practical courses are provided by teachers and researchers from the Architecture, environment & constructive cultures research unit (AE&CC, resulting from the merger in 2010 of the CRAterre and Cultures constructives laboratories), as well as by recognized experts of origin international. The seminars bring together students, researchers, professors and graduates around various work in progress, allowing a better positioning of students with regard to professional practices. Professional scenarios, which can take different forms, provide additional irreplaceable training. The dissertation is a personal work of fundamental or applied research.

Useful information

The DSA “Earth Architecture” is a training course which takes place over 2 years, every 2 years .

The registration campaign for the next session (2024-2026) will be open during the month of October 2023.

The training is structured as follows:

  • Start: mid-October of even years
  • Classes: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. from October to June of the following year.
    During this period it is difficult to have a professional activity except on weekends and holidays.
  • Professional situation and writing of the dissertation: from June of odd years to May of the following year.
    During this period it is possible to have a professional activity.
  • Seminars and finalization of the dissertation: from January to September of the second year.

Presentation of the DSA – Earthen architecture

Terms for application

  • Procedure of admission. Registrations in DSA “Earth Architecture” for the two academic years 2024-2026 will begin on October 1, 2023 and end on February 28, 2024.


Mme Salima KERKOUB – Bureau du DSA-Terre
Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture de Grenoble
60 avenue de Constantine / BP 2636
38036 Grenoble Cedex 2 - France
Téléphone : +33 (0)4 76 69 83 13 ; Fax : +33 (0)4 76 69 83 69
Courriel : ;