"The Rammed Earth House is an eye-opening example of how dramatic innovations frequently have their origins in the distant past. By rediscovering the most ancient of all building materials - the earth - homebuilders can now create structures that set new standards for beauty, durability, and extraordinarily efficient use of natural resources." -back cover.
Provides a history of building with earth in the modern era, focusing on projects constructed in the last few decades that use rammed earth, mud brick, compressed earth, cob, and several other techniques made more relevant than ever by ecological and economic imperatives. Features over 40 projects.
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The Use of Polymer Stabilised Earth Foundations for Rammed Earth Construction
Abstract: This paper presents a case study as part of a Professional Doctorate research project discussing an ecological approach to housing in South Africa, where polymer stabilised earth foundations have been used to support single story rammed earth walls, in a house in South Africa. Rammed earth was chosen as a construction method for its low embodied energy and thermal mass characteristics. The subsurface strata upon which the house was built comprised of clayey, gravely, sandy soils that have resulted as a result of decomposition of granitic rocks. In order to ensure solid founding conditions the foundations were excavated to a depth of one and a half metres before the excavated material was stabilised and backfilled. The material was stabilised to 600 mm below top of floor level with 2% Portland cement and above that with a 5% polymer bitumen mixture reinforced with horizontal steel reinforcing rods. This foundation avoids the use of reinforced concrete and as a result a significantly smaller carbon footprint, while fulfilling the functional requirements of supporting the building and preventing rising damp. The polymer has, as it major component is bitumen emulsion, provided a waterproof layer. Rammed earth walls of 500 mm thickness were constructed on the foundation up to 4.2 meters in height and initial observations suggest that the foundations are satisfactory with no settlement or cracking detected.
At Dwell, we're staging a minor revolution. We think that it's possible to live in a house or apartment by a bold modern architect, to own furniture and products that are exceptionally well designed, and still be a regular human being. We think that good design is an integral part of real life. And that real life has been conspicuous by its absence in most design and architecture magazines.
A 320 M2 four-bedroom family house in southern Victoria, Australia, generally conventional in most respects, has external and many internal walls of system-built rammed earth. The external walls have a thickened weathering jacket with a layer of insulation between it and the rammed-earth core. This produces a wall with a stabilised steady-state U-value of 0.63 W/w2.k. With the wall mass of 660 kg/m2 and the location of the insulation layer, there is a time delay for heat passing through the wall of 10.53 hours. This time delay, plus the ever-changing rate and daily cyclical reversal of heat flow, produce an effective U-value of 0.485 W/m.k.