Rammed Earth

This ancient building technique is making a resurgence.


rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in the South Okanagan Valley in Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada. Successive layers of differently colored local soils were placed into the 600mm wide formwork and a pneumatically powered tamper was used to compress each layer to about 50 percent of its untamped height. The technique results in a physically strong, durable wall with excellent thermal qualities, heating up slowly during the day and releasing heat in the cool evenings. Architects: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes.



rammed earth wall
Rammed Earth Building
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, British Columbia
Architects: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes.



rammed earth home

Rammed earth, a low-cost, easy to build material. A mini-city in Luanda, Angola, Africa. Designed by the team of Pedro Sousa, Tiago Ferreira, Tiago Coelho, Bárbara Silva, and Madalena Madureira, 2010. www.archdaily.com



rammed earth building

Rammed earth mini-city in Luanda, Angola, Africa. Designed by the team of Pedro Sousa, Tiago Ferreira, Tiago Coelho, Bárbara Silva, and Madalena Madureira, 2010. www.archdaily.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
A 30% clay -- 70% sand combo has proven reliable for raw rammed earth. Too much clay should not be used as the wall can shrink and crack. More than 40 percent of the world's population uses earth as a building material.



rammed earth building

Earth House in Victoria, Australia was constructed in rammed earth using local Dromana crushed rock. The massive walls keep the wnds at bay. Architects: Jolson Architecture Interiors.



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
In the past decade, cement stabilised rammed earth (4-10%) has become a popular building material in Australia and New Zealand. Injidup resiedence, Wright Feldhusen Architects. www.archdaily.com


rammed earth house

Rammed Earth House.
Source unknown - please inform.


rammed earth
Rammed Earth Building
Glenhope Residence Australia, www.joharchitects.com.au



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Copper House Las Vagas, Nevada. The upper level is supported on rammed Architects: assemblageSTUDIO



rammed earth architecture
Rammed Earth Building
Copper House Las Vagas, Nevada. The upper level is supported on rammed forming a grounding to the design. Architects: assemblageSTUDIO



rammed earth building

Rammed Earth Home in Westlake Hills, Texas, has 2-foot-thick walls that make the building so energy efficient, it received a 5-star energy rating from the City of Austin Green Building Program. Lou Kimball, architect, www.loukimball.com



rammed earth building

Rammed Earth Home in Westlake Hills, Texas. The two foot thick rammed earth walls are a very efficient thermal mass, and minimize the need for air conditioning. www.loukimball.com



rammed earth
Rammed Earth Building
Elamang Avenue, Sydney, Australia. luigirosselli.com



rammed earth home
Rammed Earth Building
Elamang Avenue, Sydney, Australia. luigirosselli.com



rammed earth house

Rammed Earth, Hinterland House, Australia. www.morrispartnership.com.au



rammed earth house

Rammed Earth House in Germany. www.lehmtonerde.at



rammed earth wall
Rammed Earth Building
The Tidal Resonance Chamber, Tacoma, WA.
Local earths were slighlty colored with iron oxides to match the patina of the port. Using different oxides will color your walls. Designed by Robert Horner, 2010.



rammed earth interior

Rammed Earth Home, Taos.
By Nick Noyes, California.
www.nnarchitecture.com



rammed earth building

Rammed earth is known as pisé de terre or pisé (puddled clay) in France where the technique has been popular for millenia. www.batimieu.fr



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
You are basically changing the soil into sandstone with the help of pressure. www.iagram.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Woman build an extension to a home in North Vietnam. In this technique, strips of wall are built horizontally, 2 wooden panels are held together with wooden clamps and keys or rope. Once one portion of a wall is completed, the formwork is immediately dismantled and moved further along the wall. Every course is rammed till the soil gives a clear sharp sound and the rammer is not making anymore marks on the layer. en.wikipedia.org



rammed earth building

Rammed Earth Building
Chantier de l'hôtel Casa Mojanda à Otavalo (Ecuador)
Photo: Paul De Neyer, 1995. users.swing.be



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Modern practices of building use pneumatically powered tampers to compact each layer. The soil should not contain more than 10% moisture. To test it, make a ball of the material and drop it; it should hold its shape. www.archdaily.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
A vertical technique has also been popular for ages, whereby after a course is completed, the side panel is raised and the next higher layer is added and the process goes on till the entire height of the wall is completed. www.lejsl.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Today, lightweight, stackable steel frames are popular. www.archdaily.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
The entire village of Ait Benhaddou, Morocco is rammed earth. www.morocco-holidays-guide.co.uk



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
The Pokara in Tibet is an earth rammed structure. Rammed earth has been popular in Nepal and Tibet for thousands of years. Plaster is a popular finishing technique. traveltotibet8908.blogspot.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Holy Cross Episcopal Church Stateburg, South Carolina. www.wikipedia.com



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Numerous farms, rural homes and chateaux in Europe where built in rammed earth, known in French as pisé de terre or simply pisé. Here, the Vaugirard château built in 1605. www.champdieu.eu



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Here rammed earth is layered with slabs of stone. Depending on the amount of water used during the preparation, each layer can have a different aspect.



rammed earth building

Rammed Earth House in a Glass House. Medellin, Colombia (© A. Jesus Antonio Moreno, Living Earth Foundation / Mauricio Patino) mini-panda.blogspot.com



rammed earth

Rammed Earth Home by David Oliver, the most renowned rammed earth architect and builder. David Oliver Greenway Architects, Mooloolaba, Australia. arquitecturasdeterra.blogspot.com



rammed earth
Rammed Earth Building
Rammed Earth Home
in Paslek, Poland designed by Faculty of Architecture
at Warsaw University of Technology. kobieta.onet.pl

Rammed Earth Build
rammed earth wall

Rammed Earth wall.
Vidal Sassoon, Shanghai, China.
www.sirewall.com


rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Hinterland House, Australia. www.morrispartnership.com.au



rammed earth building

Rammed earth left rustic.
Eden Project in Dorset, England. en.wikipedia.org


rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, British Columbia, blends in beautifully with its surroundings. Architects: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes.



rammed earth building
Rammed Earth Building
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, British Columbia. Seems it could be a good medium for sculptures as well. Architects: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects + urbanistes.




Rammed Earth Building
Rammed Earth building, also known as taipa (Portuguese), tapial (Spanish), and pisé (de terre) (French), has been in use for millennia, the earliest surviving examples from 5000 BC in China.* Formally, time consuming yet dirt cheap, today the technique can be as costly as stone in the hands of certain architects. For some big projects soils have been imported, large quanities of cement and insulation have been incorporated, and the expense of elaborate frame work and machinery can be sky high. Yet, if you have a nice 30% clay/70% sand soil on your building lot (or chalk, lime and gravel) and are good at constructing simple frames (or have access to prefabricated formwork), rammed earth building can be one of the most inexpensive and sustainable building methods on the planet. Whereas trees are being cut down by the thousands-of-acres-a-day, and cement is polluting to manufacture, soil is abundant and the earthiest of earth friendly.

This termite-resistant, non-toxic, fireproof technique is also good to build walls, benches, supports, columns and thick blocks which can then be layered like bricks with a mud slurry between. Rammed earth using rebar, wood or bamboo reinforcement should be employed in earthquake prone areas. Although rammed earth has tremendous thermal mass and holds and releases heat slowly, it is not a good insulator. For colder climates, rammed earth walls can be insulated with a panel of recycled styrofoam. Rammed earth keeps interior humidity between 40 and 60 percent where walls containing clay are exposed to an internal space, the ideal range for asthma sufferers and for the storage of susceptible items such as books and artwork.

The process is time consuming and repetitious, but rewarding. And now with power tampers, the job is a bit less demanding. A newly tamped section of wall is so solid that, if desired, the forms can be removed immediately. If wire-brushing is needed after the forms are removed, to even out the framework edge imprints or to add texture, it must be done in the first hour after the form is removed, for the wall dries to the touch quickly, yet will not be fully dried throughout for months. Exposed walls may need to be sealed to prevent water damage if the walls will be exposed to heavy rain.

Worldwide, more than forty percent of the population live in earth built structures, yet earth building disappeared in western countries after World War II, when suburbs sprung up and speed reigned. The skill was lost. Although never given up in developing countries, the west now is relearning this ancient art and begging building authorities to allow them to build in this very natural technique. Let's hope the building regulators allow this building method to take its rightful place of prominence. We need to step back and learn from the past, but with pneumatic tamper in hand and openness of mind.


A history of Rammed Earth per continent: www.historicrammedearth.co.uk

An interesting read from 1915, Cottage Building in Cob, Pise, Chalk & Clay by Clough Williams-Ellis - gutenberg.org


Resources:

Soils for rammed earth construction: earth.sustainablesources.com

www.rammed-earth.info

How to in French: archiverte.canalblog.com

www.rammedearthconstructions.com.au

www.earthstructures.com.au

Courses, British Columbia, Canada: www.sirewall.com


Books:

The Rammed Earth House: Revised Edition by David Easton, 2007. Click look inside to read the beginning of the book. www.amazon.com

Earth Building: History, Science and Conservation by Paul Jaquin and Charles Augarde, 2011. www.amazon.com



International Conference on Rammed Earth: The 1st International Congress on Conservation of Rammed Earth will be held in Australia, Feb. 2015 and will bring together experts in earth construction from several continents. www.ecm.uwa.edu.au

Turning dunes into architecture: Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself. TED Video, www.youtube.com



rammed earth
Ancient Indian rammed earth how-to.

 

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Malinda
Posts: 10
Comment
Weather resistence housewrap supplier
Reply #10 on : Mon April 28, 2014, 21:38:54
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Orient Nourison Co,.ltd
DDMedina
Posts: 10
Comment
congratulations
Reply #9 on : Sat April 12, 2014, 15:26:13
FANTASTIC, ALL, your article, blog, pictures, the comments on each and every one of the pictures, short, precise, beautifully and simply said.
I want to build an adobe house. Now, after looking at all this wonderful information. Mmmmmmmmmm, now I am having a hard time making a decision between adobe and ram earth. My opinion of ram earth, changed completely. The view I had of it, was not as beautiful as adobe homes, or cal-earth dome homes. I will probably start the construction next year. The site is 60Km. from sea, and very high humidity, around 95%. Any comments welcomed.

THANK YOU SO very MUCH!!!!!!!
DD
Eduardo Ramirez
Posts: 10
Comment
NEW MEXICO EARTHEN BUILDING MATERIALS CODE
Reply #8 on : Mon April 07, 2014, 12:12:16
Another helpful resource for rammed earth construction is the NEW MEXICO EARTHEN BUILDING MATERIALS CODE which I authored for the State with the assistance of local NM rammed earth contractors at the time. The code was developed and adopted through the State of New Mexico Alternative Materials & Methods in Construction process. The code is available online through the New Mexico Construction Industries Division website.
idris hassan
Posts: 10
Comment
rammed earth
Reply #7 on : Wed December 18, 2013, 04:00:33
thank you very much for this nice web
joana marques
Posts: 10
Comment
Re: Rammed Earth
Reply #6 on : Wed October 16, 2013, 07:22:23
thank you very much for this interesting article! great information and pictures!
RIA JASWAL
Posts: 10
Comment
rammed earth
Reply #5 on : Sat August 17, 2013, 07:47:03
just loved it the way itz explained .... truly inspiring ..... and changes the ones thinking to go for grren building
Tshering
Posts: 10
Comment
frame for the rammed earth wall
Reply #4 on : Tue July 30, 2013, 03:39:48
Rammed earth wall:
Thanks a lot and I am thinking of construction of my own house with a Rammed earth technique. I love it because it is eco-friendly and more over it is locally available materiel.
One thing that I stuck with is, how to get a frames for the wall to build?
Please if anybody can advice me how to build a frame for the rammed earth.
I appreciate if any can help me on that.
thanks a lot in advance.
Tshering, from Bhutan
Eleni
Posts: 10
Comment
Rammed earth walls
Reply #3 on : Thu May 02, 2013, 07:22:39
Thank you for this interesting article. I am an architecture master student at the TUDelft in the Netherlands. I would like to ask some more technical questions from your experience on rammed earth walls. Could I send you some questions?
oussama moukmir
Posts: 10
Comment
Re: Rammed Earth
Reply #2 on : Sat November 03, 2012, 18:06:12
a very complete article thank you very much from morocco north africa, a few miles from ait ben hadou rammed eath village ...looking foword to know about this modern technique formworks technical details ..
dan
Posts: 10
Comment
Re: Rammed Earth
Reply #1 on : Sun October 21, 2012, 17:19:37
hey, great article, did notice that the eden project is marked as dorset in england. actual location is near st. Austell, Cornwall.
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