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Rammed Earth: The Latest Architecture and News

“Architecture is Like Writing a Song”: In conversation with Rick Joy

Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with American architect Rick Joy about his early inclinations towards architecture, what kind of architecture he likes to visit, and about designing his buildings as instruments. 

Catalina House / Studio Rick Joy. Image © Wayne FujiSun Valley House / Studio Rick Joy. Image © Joe FletcherPrinceton Transit Hall and Market / Studio Rick Joy. Image © Jeff Goldberg / ESTOBayhouse / Studio Rick Joy. Image © Jeff Goldberg / ESTO+ 18

The Benefits of Rammed Earth in Brazilian Houses

Casa Colinas / FATO Arquitetura. Photo © Paulo HeiseCasa AA / Argus Caruso - arquitetura e construção. Photo © Gustavo UemuraCasa Bosque / Estúdio OLO. Photo © Filipe AugustoCasa em Cunha / Arquipélago Arquitetos. Photo © Federico Cairoli+ 11

Ancestral, but overshadowed by other technologies that have emerged over time, the rammed-earth walls are again gaining prominence in Brazil for being a low-impact, sustainable and economical solution. Known in Portuguese as taipa, it is a rudimentary construction system that compresses the earth into wooden boxes until it reaches an ideal density that allows a resistant and long-lasting structure.

Local Collective Imagines Seating Made from Clay for London's Railway Station

Local Collective has designed a seating made of clay for the London Festival of Architecture and Network Rail. Unveiled at London Bridge Station, the urban furniture is a result of a “competition organized by the LFA and Network Rail to create public installations that celebrate London’s shared spaces and connect people with playful encounters”.

Courtesy of Local CollectiveCourtesy of Local CollectiveCourtesy of Local CollectiveCourtesy of Local Collective+ 16

Open Call: The Rammed Earth House Competition

OUTSIDER - a magazine that transcends boundaries has launched an architectural competition that encourages exploration of the significant potential of earth as a building material. The technique is one of the oldest known building methods. It carries a great potential in becoming a prevailing “novelty” of the future. The great environmental aspects, unique aesthetics, and energy efficiency are reasons enough to explore the topic forward.

The Contemporary Remodelling of Traditional Materials in Chinese Vernacular Architecture

Constrained by a lack of transportation and resources, vernacular architecture has started adapting the distinct strategy of utilizing local materials. By analyzing projects which have successfully incorporated these features into their design, this article gives an overview of how traditional materials, such as tiles, metal, rocks, bamboo, wooden sticks, timber, rammed earth and bricks are being transformed through vernacular architecture in China.

OUALALOU + CHOI Reveals Images of the Morocco Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai

OUALALOU + CHOI has designed the Morocco Pavilion at the 2020 Expo in Dubai, showcasing traditional Moroccan design and construction techniques. The pavilion brings “rammed earth construction to new heights”.

Applying Material Innovation: Does Architecture Have What It Takes?

There is a slide I like to show at the beginning of the architecture courses I teach that provides an overview of the last hundred years or so in design and technology. In the left column, a car from the beginning of the 20th Century (a Ford Model T) is poised over a contemporary car (a Tesla). The middle column contains a similar juxtaposition, showing a WWI-era biplane and a modern-day stealth fighter (an F-117A). In the right column, Walter Gropius’s 1926 Bauhaus Dessau building is seen next to an up-to-date urban mixed-use building. The punch line, of course, is that the two buildings—separated by roughly 100 years—look basically the same, whereas the cars and planes separated by the same timespan seem worlds apart. What is the reason for this?

House in Cunha / Arquipélago Arquitetos

© Federico Cairoli© Federico Cairoli© Federico Cairoli© Federico Cairoli+ 50

Cunha, Brazil
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1507 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2019
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Rothoblaas, Mato Dentro, Soludimper

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 EarthCortesia de Hive EarthCortesia de Hive EarthCortesia 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

  • Architects: DnA
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  406
  • 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 ArchideCourtesy of ArchideCourtesy of ArchideCourtesy 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: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/building-rammed-earth-house-in-tanzania#/story / https://www.facebook.com/events/1442613409399828 Email: erimescupatricia@yahoo.com

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 AgueroCourtesy of Simon De AgueroCourtesy of Simon De AgueroCourtesy of Simon De Aguero+ 14