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      CommentAuthorV
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1513.1)
    I think this is gorgeous.




    It's a company over on Salt Spring Island (B.C. Canada).

    Some bits from their FAQ:
    Rammed earth is an ancient method of building. The rammed earth method uses wooden forms that are placed and secured, then damp earth with 10% cement is loaded into them and tamped to total compaction. When the forms are removed, the wall is complete.


    They've improved on the methods to make it insulated for cold climates, and to make it stronger to survive earthquakes.

    Also:
    Five acres of land can only provide enough lumber for twenty houses, whereas a five-acre pit can provide enough earth for the walls of five thousand homes.


    Oh so very nice.

    Click here for the portfolio with more lovely photos.

    (Main site here)
  1.  (1513.2)
    I think this is gorgeous.


    And you're right, as usual, Vanessa. I loved it, it looks brilliant. Imagine living in that first pic you posted.
  2.  (1513.3)
    It definitely is very pretty. I wonder how much design went into this particular house? I mean, is it relatively easy to make a rammed earth house that artistic or did they have to spend a lot of time/money on molds?

    It would also be interesting to see if it could be used in conjunction with straw. :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorJohn R
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008 edited
     (1513.4)
    The missus and I are thinking about building our own using a similar technique, only the rammed earth is held in/around old car tyres which stay in the finished build instead of the wooden walls.

    Aside from anything else, from an aesthetic point of view, this kind of structure makes it a damn sight easier to have curved walls (which, from a practical point of view, is a bit daft in some respects; who has curved wardrobes?) and similar elements.
  3.  (1513.5)
    Very pretty!
    • CommentAuthorPablo
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1513.6)
    Very pretty.
  4.  (1513.7)
    Those are some lovely pics, especially the first one. Mother Earth News has a lot of information on alternative building methods, and I've always been fascinated by rammed earth. I'm building my own home right now, and it was more practical for me to do a traditional stick-built home to cut down and use the beetle-killed wood already on my property, but if I ever build another one, I think it'll probably be rammed earth.

    Will
  5.  (1513.8)
    All I can think of is how COLD it might be in winter. But I would love it for a basement. With slate tile on the floor.
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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008 edited
     (1513.9)
    But stone would probably also be a lot easier to heat/cool, cutting down on AC power requirements.
  6.  (1513.10)
    Artemis- in winter I imagine it'd be hard to keep it warm up here. Rather like a castle. Perhaps if you did it igloo shape, though.....
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      CommentAuthorV
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008
     (1513.11)
    As I mentioned above, they have found a way to create INSULATED rammed earth.
    That's one of the things that is so special about these guys.

    There's more info on the site, but this might be all you wanted to know:
    We worked closely with our engineers to create an earth wall that would both surpass building code requirements for insulation and withstand a major earthquake. The result is a rammed earth wall with the extra strength of steel reinforcing and a small amount of cement. This extra stabilization creates a wall that is virtually indestructible. Our walls also have a core of foam insulation for cold or very hot climates. Thus we have coined the term SIREwallâ„¢ (Stabilized, Insulated Rammed Earth).
  7.  (1513.12)
    ... damnit. I want a bunker made of that now. Or a hobbit home. Indestructable hobbit home.
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      CommentAuthorbschory
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008
     (1513.13)
    DAMNIT rootfireember... all I can think of now is living in a packed earth Bag End, and I won't be happy until I do...

    Let is be noted that Warren Ellis has by proxy assured my financial ruin!

    Yet, I am surprisingly OK with this...
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      CommentAuthorsynthsapien
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008 edited
     (1513.14)
    Fantastic way to build a house - looks amazing. I especially like the underground entrance and the stump window. It's an interesting technique and I like the fact that all the walls will look different depending on the mix. Only thing I'd change is the wood - I prefer darker varieties like Wenge or Walnut.
  8.  (1513.15)
    It looks rather like something from the original Star Trek series - needs a green-skinned woman coming down the stairs with a decanter of some bizarre blue alien drink.

    I really hope people start building more with materials like this, modern housing just seems so cheap and flimsy, almost disposable.
  9.  (1513.16)
    It looks rather like something from the original Star Trek series - needs a green-skinned woman coming down the stairs with a decanter of some bizarre blue alien drink.

    I really hope people start building more with materials like this, modern housing just seems so cheap and flimsy, almost disposable.
    • CommentAuthorMitchB
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008 edited
     (1513.17)
    That's fantastic. Wonder if anyone does it locally.....not that I could afford to actually build a house but still. Always nice to dream.
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      CommentAuthorVespers
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008
     (1513.18)
    @raygunblack
    One of the good basic ideas of things like rammed earth and log cabins is that with a minimum of money compared to owning property in the city, you can build your own from scratch and mostly from materials found on site somewhere out of the city.

    Building your own place, (done right), is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying what someone else has made.