Earthbound home is one of the old construction trends, which returns with renewed vigor to contemporary architecture. Rammed earth is a sustainable building material with a simple manufacturing technique and no waste production. Rammed-earth homes are durable, eco-friendly, sound, and fireproofing. Earthbound homes are perfect for those who prefer to have a combination of rustic and natural material with modern design.
Earth as a building material component is used by over 30% of the population. The rammed-earth construction technique is not new, there is evidence of it being used in 8,000 BC in the Fertile Crescent. In recent years the attention to the technique has been growing due to the understanding of the importance of sustainable building practices and carbon-neutral projects. Rammed-earth is for those who search for extraordinary architecture and like mixing the materials. Foundations, floors, and walls are built in the technique.
Rammed-earth production process
For rammed-earth production, a damp mix of subsoil gets compacted with sand, clay, gravel, lime, and stabilizer. The materials ‘are rammed’ between the temporary wood panels called ‘formwork’. The material is compressed in batches gradually building a wall to the top of the mold, too much ramming may give extra pressure to a wooden form. Pneumatically powered tampers are normally used for ramming. The compression is done in several stages, gradually moving in depth from 10cm to 25cm. As a result, material obtains eye-filling layers. When the framework is taken out the surface texture can be laid on. After about one hour the material is too hard to work on, so carving has to be done right away, then painting.
The factors that influence the rammed earth strength:
type of soil
power of soil compacting
mix moisture level
type of stabilizer
Advantages of the earthbound homes
Sustainability of the material. The manufacturing and construction process of the rammed-earth homes requires only a small amount of energy and produces hardly any waste. The material is non-toxic, does not pollute the environment, and can be recycled. Architects specializing in rammed-earth know how to place windows and roofs, which direction to the sun is most favorable, and how else to maximize the sustainability of the house.
Thermal mass. With the proper design of the earth-rammed house, the thermal mass maintains internal temperatures during all seasons, and heat is absorbed in the daytime and released at night. As a result, the necessity of using heating and cooling systems reduces.
Air quality. Due to the constitution of the rammed-earth, the humidity from the building is absorbed and released, which makes such houses perfect for asthmatic people. The material does not rot and has no mold growth.
Noise-proofing. Transmission of the rammed-earth walls is reduced due to the wall density. Lowered external noise and sound insulation between different areas create a quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
Fireproof. Soil does not burn, which makes earthbound houses very safe and resistant to fires.
Pest proof. There are no cavities or gaps in rammed earth, which stops insects or vermin from entering. Even the structural timber is protected by the solid amount of the material.
Unique beauty. Natural lines, pigmentation, contours, and colorations create the atmospheric design of a rammed-earth house. Colors and finishes can be added as well as artwork, patterns, carvings can complete the natural beauty of the material. Rammed-earth blends perfectly with other natural building materials, in particular stone, timber, and glass. An earthbound home can be rustic or modern.