Terrachidia has been on the Steering Committee of the LabOasis Foundation since 2017. This institution conceives of the “oasis” as the model for a sustainable and resilient habitat, and fights to protect it through various social and cultural projects.
In 2018 it did a research project on the Siwa oasis, analyzing its historical settlements, its traditional architecture, and its development opportunities.
Siwa is located around 300 km from the sea and 50 km from the Libyan border, in the Qattara Depression, at 14 m below sea level. This has led to the creation of the salty lakes that are the source of its traditional architecture and building system: “karshif” blocks are made from salt and mud and joined like modern bricks using “tilaght” saline mortar.
The project is studying the areas surrounding the oasis and its two historical centers, Shali and Aghurmi, which date back to the 13th century and show clear evidence of having been progressively abandoned over time. It is visiting and studying both of the traditional mosques, as well as the urban layouts and the different types of traditional residences.
Various restoration and rehabilitation projects being carried out on the traditional architecture in the settlement continue to this day.