Edoardo Ferrari has been working in the desert region around Tabas, destroyed by earthquake in September 1978, to engage local master builders to rebuild or restore traditional mud brick houses, using the old methods while enough ostads remained alive to pass on the knowledge of their craft.
The village of Esfahk has experienced a unique process of transformation throughout history. The village is situated in the barren desert land of South Khorasan, presenting varied examples of domestic architecture: from the more ancient houses carved under the ground, to the more complex mansions with domes around central courtyards.
After the disastrous Tabas earthquake of 1978 the old settlement was left so that the community could move to a new village built beside the old one, which was left abandoned for thirty years. In the last six years a group of young villagers have autonomously begun to work at the restoration of some of the houses in the old settlement. From that time, several Iranian architects, local craftsmen, students and villagers have collaborated in an ongoing process of rediscovery and re-learning of local construction techniques.
As part of his PhD project on the vernacular architecture of Central-Eastern Iran Edoardi Ferrari has travelled to the village several times in preparation for twelve months of fieldwork in Esfahk from next year. The initial trips were intended to prepare him before becoming an apprentice mason, working with the local community on some of the restoration projects which are currently running in the village. Next year it will be possible for him to start the documentation of local construction techniques working alongside masons while living in the old settlement to study its history.
Edoardo Ferrari is in receipt of the British Institute of Persian Studies Grant 2019-2020 and The Traverse Trust / ISA Travel Award 2019.