Ways of building with earth.

This post is a review of the main ways that earth can be used to build shelters. Earth has being used for thousands of years, and apparently one half of the world’s population lives or work in buildings constructed of earth. So, it is not something new, really. It could be said that there are five mayor ways of using earth for building, with variants and combinations: Rammed earth, Adobe, Cob, Wattle and daub and earthbags.

1. Rammed earth: It is the use of mobile framework to compress damp mixtures of sand, gravel and clay.

2. Adobe: Uses bricks made of soil and straw, dried on the sun.

Image source: pbase.com

3. Cob: It is the direct use of mud to form the structure to build.


Image source: tinyhousedesign.com

4. Wattle and daub: Uses a woven lattice of wooden strips that is filled with a mixture of soil and straw to build walls.

Image source: wyrtig.com

Image source: designergirlee.wordpress.com

5. Earth bags. It uses sturdy sacks filled with soil.

Image source: rawlandguide.com

I don’t know where to put this one, but I think is so beautiful:

There is lots of information to read and videos to watch on the internet about it. Every technique needs a different composition of soil that needs to be taken into consideration.  The book Building with Earth: Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture by Gernot Minke is a great source of information a great source of information

Apart from earthbag construction, all the techniques mentioned are very ancient, and they have been proven to work millions of times. They are inexpensive (although can be great time consumers), environmentally friendly, fireproof if build appropriately and anybody with a bit of knowledge could use them. So, why not give it a try?


About Quemao Viejo

A project to scape the Rat Race with a micro-camping site and a veterinary practice using local medicinal plants.
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One Response to Ways of building with earth.

  1. Maya says:

    That last picture is of the shelter I built at Taliesin West in Arizona. If you’d like to see more recent pictures and a full description of the project, you can check it out on my website, http://www.mayawk.com/shelter
    Thanks for sharing!

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