Tag Archives: rammed earth

Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape | Inhabitat 

Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier

Recycled wood and steel are the primary materials used to construct the winery. The timber slats are naturally weathered and are of varying shades to give the building an interesting and earthy texture and parts of the wooden walls are punctuated by small glass openings for beautiful effect. Pieces of natural unmilled wood are used as seating or decorative objects.

Despite its 22,000-square-meter size, the BRUMA winery visually disappears in the dusty red and green landscape of Valle de Guadalupe.

Source: Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Rammed Earth Made Easy with Watershed Blocks – By Michaela Harms

In the 1970’s David Easton began his innovative work modernizing rammed earth building techniques toMichaela Harms fit into California’s stringent building codes. Despite his success with Rammed Earth Works, David noticed that rammed earth was a hard wide-spread sell because engineers were apprehensive to understand it and upfront cost-focused contractors did not want to wait through the lifecycle for its benefits. He decided to make sustainable impact by focusing on a more familiar and lower cost alternative, which led to the development of the Watershed Block.

 

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Image Credit Jacob Snavely

 
David’s company, Watershed Materials supplies low-concrete masonry blocks that are used like common CMUs, concrete masonry units, with half the embodied energy. By piggy-backing onto the already known CMU standards and uses, these blocks are an easy-to-sell green alternative. Watershed Blocks have many of the same benefits as rammed earth including long lifespan, high thermal mass, and natural material use at a much lower price.

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“I like to believe we are not only reducing carbon in our atmosphere, but saving a time honored building technique” adds Watershed employee, Dan Alvarado. Revitalizing the art of masonry is a great asset of this company as they open up a sustainable job market for these skilled craftspeople. The beauty of the natural colors of the local aggregate that make up Watershed Blocks is apparent in the pixelated masonry walls they create that attract architects and designers. When speaking of his favorite building material, earth, Dan states “there is a character to earth buildings that is hard to define. You feel connected to it, protected by it.” That connection is essential to sustainable structures and truly unique to buildings of natural materials.

 

 

 

 Image Credit Jacob Snavely

Living roomoImage Credit Jacob Snavely

KitchenImage Credit Jacob Snavely

Watershed Blocks are still a little more expensive than their CMU counterparts but the company projects that improvement in production and inevitable larger market adoption will lower retail prices. If more companies consider full life cycle costs, the savings are apparent even now. Green materials that supply LEED points are already desirable and Watershed is clearly getting noticed, recently being selected as a finalist for SXSW’s Eco Startup Showcase Competition.  As more companies like Watershed modernize and familiarize natural building techniques the beauty and health of our built environment will benefit.

 

WatershedMaterials-Factory-2013-03Image Credit Jacob Snavely

 

PascaleImage Credit Mark Lutaringer

Crumbling Stone Barn Renovated Into Rammed Earth Ihlow House in Germany Ihlow House-Roswag Architekten – Inhabitat

A historic stone barn in Ihlow, Germany has gotten a second lease on life with the addition of a new home and reinforcement of the existing structure. The barn renovation was designed by Roswag Architekten who crafted a rammed earth addition for the home. The rammed earth and hemp fibre insulation compliment the original stone structure. Meanwhile passive solar design, solar hot water heaters and rainwater collectors minimize the impact of the Ihlow House.

via Crumbling Stone Barn Renovated Into Rammed Earth Ihlow House in Germany Ihlow House-Roswag Architekten – Gallery Page 1 – Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

The Solar-Powered Groundhouse in Brittany is a Designer Earth-Rammed Home | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Brittany’s solar-powered Groundhouse – conceived over a decade by Daren Howarth and Adrianne Nortje – flips the stereotype that rammed earth homes are only fit for peace-loving hippies. Yes it’s earthy – with exterior walls comprised of no less than 150 tons of rammed earth formed by tires. But it is also so well-designed and economical that even the least eco-conscious person would enjoy living in it. Bespoke furnishings (made of mostly recycled, salvaged, local or traditional materials) and 14 solar panels that produce more energy than the home could ever use make this a winning design for people on all levels of the environmentally-aware spectrum.

via The Solar-Powered Groundhouse in Brittany is a Designer Earth-Rammed Home | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.