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Rammed Earth: The Latest Architecture and News

How Rammed Earth Walls are Built

Rammed earth has been used in construction for thousands of years, with evidence of its use dating as far back as the Neolithic Period. Commonly used especially in China, the technique was applied to both ancient monuments and vernacular architecture, with the Great Wall utilizing the technique. Though interest in rammed earth declined in the 20th century, some continue to advocate its use today, citing its sustainability in comparison to more modern construction methods. Most notably, rammed earth structures use local materials, meaning they have low embodied energy and produce little waste. Below, we describe how to build with this material.

Colors Of the Earth: Ghana's Incredible, Rammed Earth Walls

Rammed earth constructions are not a novelty, on the contrary, some sections of the Great Wall of China were made using this technique. Relegated and replaced by modern methods of construction, the mud walls are currently re-emerging as an economic, sustainable solution, with low environmental impact. Even Joelle Eyeson, a young African entrepreneur, is betting that it may be the answer to the housing deficit in her region.

This is a rudimentary construction system in which earth is compressed into wooden boxes. The clay is horizontally placed in layers of 15 cm in height, and compacted with manual or pneumatic tools, to achieve its ideal density creating a resistant and durable structure.

Cortesia de Hive Earth Cortesia de Hive Earth Cortesia de Hive Earth Cortesia de Hive Earth + 22

Renzo Piano Designs Emergency Hospital in Uganda with Rammed Earth Walls

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has released an update of their Emergency Children’s Surgery Center in Uganda, as work progresses on the pediatric surgery hospital. Since its inception in 2013, the scheme has sought to merge the practical requirements of the healthcare industry with a “model piece of architecture that is rational, tangible, modern, beautiful, and firmly linked to tradition.”

Wang Jing Memorial Hall / DnA

© Ziling Wang
© Ziling Wang

© Ziling Wang © Ziling Wang © Ziling Wang © Ziling Wang + 26

Lishui, China
  • Architects: DnA
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  406.0
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017

Design & Build Children’s Nature Play Pavilion at Red Soil Nature Play

We are inviting young architects / final year students, to build the First Children’s Nature Play Pavilion at Red Soil Nature Play. This is a blind fold jury competition; the selected top 3 entries will be given natural space of 1500 sq.ft at Red Soil Site. You are left to your own imagination with sensitivity towards young children and nature. We will grant/ fund the project. Each Pavilion (selected entries) will be built periodically (one by one) and will amaze the young children for 3-4 months at Red Soil Nature Play.

Material Focus: The Great Wall of WA by Luigi Rosselli

This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get buildings actually built.

The Great Wall of WA, designed by the Australian firm Luigi Rosselli Architects, and selected as one of Archdaily’s Best Building of the Year 2016, provides a unique example of rammed earth construction. At 230 meters in length, the Great Wall of WA is the longest structure of its kind in Australia and possibly the South Hemisphere, according to its architects. Built in remote North Western Australia, the building is made from locally available materials whose thermal properties help it to endure a variable climate. We spoke with the architect Luigi Rosselli to learn more about his compelling choice of material and the determining role it played in his concept design.

 The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch  The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch + 13

How Rammed Earth Walls Were Given a New Lease of Life in Vernacular Himalayan Buildings

Courtesy of Archide
Courtesy of Archide

Located high in the Himalayan Mountains, the sparsely populated region of Ladakh is one of the more remote places on Earth. At over 3500 meters above sea level, the region includes terrain consisting of steep cliffs and wide valleys, and an extreme climate to match: temperatures often reach +30 degrees celsius in the summer months and drop to -30 degrees celsius in the winter. Severe weather patterns such as these typically require durable construction materials and technologies - yet with the region’s difficult-to-reach location and a construction season lasting only four to six months, importing materials becomes a costly, if not impossible task. Luckily, with help from Czech architecture firm Archide, residents were able to find that the best material for the job was one found right outside their doors: rammed earth.

Courtesy of Archide Courtesy of Archide Courtesy of Archide Courtesy of Archide + 41

Rammed Earth Workshop in Tanzania



Join us at the Eastern slope of the Kilimanjaro from October 31, 2015 to January 30, 2016... See event page for more: / Email: [email protected]

We are going to the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania to build a Volunteers Quarter at the Kasirwa Arts Village with Nka Foundation. We are looking to put together an interdisciplinary team for the build. We will immerse in the local environment to explore their building traditions, to discover what resources the community already has and mobilize those

Brittlebush / Simon De Aguero

Courtesy of Simon De Aguero
Courtesy of Simon De Aguero

Brittlebush was developed as a design-build experience for Simón De Agüero, graduate student, designer, and project manager. The design is an experimental desert dwelling for winter residents at Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Simón envisioned the design to be an open-air living space with protective roof and walls for the sleeping area.

Approximately 90% of the steel in the project was salvaged from the school scrap yard; 100% of the rammed earth for the walls was from the school property; 100% of the wood used for the formwork was salvaged from onsite renovation waste.

Follow the break for more images and information about Brittlebush.

Architect: Simon De Aguero Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States Assistant Project Manager: Erik Krautbauer Project Year: 2010 Photographs: Simon de Aguero & Saskia Jorda

Courtesy of Simon De Aguero Courtesy of Simon De Aguero Courtesy of Simon De Aguero Courtesy of Simon De Aguero + 14