52 Arabic with English subtitles 

 producer, writer, director, camera and editing

Caterina Borelli ©1999

Co-produced by Cannot Quit, Madrid

Award of Commendation, American Anthropological Association – Society for Visual Anthropology; Annual meeting, San Francisco, 2000

Special Jury Prize, Muestra Internacional del Patrimonio Arquitectonico,

Alcala’ de Henarez (Spain) 2000

Honorable Mention, EarthVision 2000, 

Santa Cruz CA

…This is a film of extraordinary beauty and merit with the brilliant photography enhanced by a soundtrack of natural sounds and indigenous music…” E.F. Bodman, Islamica, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill


The Hadhramaut region in the south east of Yemen is renown for its mud-brick architecture. Throughout the centuries, the population has developed very sophisticated building techniques and created a unique architectural environment. Spectacular structures such as ten-story mud-brick tower houses rise up from valleys’ floor.

In interviews throughout the documentary, the masons describe their working techniques and the challenges they face with the introduction of new, imported building materials. “The Architecture of Mud” documents the vernacular architecture, the building craft and the society they belong to.


“The Architecture of Mud” is one part of a two-part project, a collaboration between independent filmmaker Caterina Borelli and architect/architectural-conservator Pamela Jerome. It consists of the documentary “The Architecture of Mud” and of an academic paper. Both document the traditional crafts but to different degrees of specificity. The documentary is aimed at a broader and less specialized audience, while the paper is for an academic, specialized audience.

The technical paper won the Oliver Torrey Fuller Award for Innovative of Method or Solution, APT Bulletin – Association for Preservation Technology¹s journal – October 1999.