When you build with earth, you have to get your hands into it!
Here are glimpses from a series of HANDS-ON workshops;
introducing various earth building techniques to students of Architecture,
at Archcult, National Institute of Technology, Trichy.
The Diversity of Earth Architecture
Earth is the oldest and has been the most essential building material over centuries.
The tradition of making sun dried raw earth bricks popularly known as adobes,
goes back to the beginning of human society.
Adobe is versatile and viable.
Adobe buildings can be found across continents,
where it has been spontaneously and continuously adapted
by people of different cultures,
for housing as well as monumental structures.
Heiress of the wattle and daub,
the Straw & Clay technique is spreading quickly, especially in Europe,
due to its remarkable thermal property
and the comfort that it can bring to our interiors.
It’s main ingredient; Straw, is available virtually everywhere
(wheat, rice, hemp straw, etc)
and when sourced locally,
makes this wall filling material one of the most ecological.
The world wide tradition of Rammed earth construction
has shown that it is possible to achieve strong majestic buildings
that have withstood the test of time.
The grandeur of Rammed earth architecture has been expressed historically
in houses, forts and palaces;
even the great wall of China is largely built in earth!
Rammed earth is a load bearing technique where earth is compacted
in successive layers within a formwork.
It has deep roots in countries such as France, South America, Spain, Morocco, China,
and all over the Himalayan area;
where it has proved to be a durable construction material.
A traditional walling system with a history of 6000 years,
Wattle and Daub is a composite wall building technique
using tightly woven wooden sticks or split Bamboo : the Wattle,
coated with a clay rich subsoil mix,
with chopped straw, hair or Animal Dung : the Daub.
Many historic buildings include Wattle and Daub construction,
and the technique is becoming popular again in more
developed areas as a low-impact sustainable building technique
that is effective in high seismic zones.