Rammed Earth building is the process of compressing or tamping down a mixture of damp earth with sand, gravel, clay or cement. An external support frames the desired shape of the walls and the earth forms around it. The cost of the materials is low but the labor can is high. Like any sustainable building, the initial output may be a little higher but over time the cost of running the home will be lower.
Pise de Terre or stuffed earth construction is as old as time. The Great Wall of China is made this way, as are many European Castles and pyramids in Mexico. Who knew?
You can really create any look you want and rammed earth walls work with any kind of architecture, from Napa Valley Estate to Adobe Modern and everything in between! Indigenous clay and earth give character and color to earthen homes.
The walls, with their excellent thermal mass, absorb and release heat; it cools in the summer and warms in the winter. They can be stuccoed, plastered or left bare to expose the rhythmic layers of sediment. I think this is where the beauty of the process lays. I'm transfixed by the magnificence of those natural striations!
(There's that Aspen house again, How did that get in there??)
The Rammed Earth House is termite resistant, non~ toxic, fireproof, sound proof , it self regulates humidity ( great for asthma sufferers) and is inherently bio degradable. Ya know that little rough luxe house I want in the woods ~ I may build it myself. You can take workshops. Steven....
For pictures of the process step by step:.rammedearthhomes.com/workshop_progress.htm
credits: rammedearthhomes, Drew Owens, rammedearthinfo.com, dornob.com, flickr