Made in EARTH

ಮೇಡ್ ಇನ್ ಅರ್ಥ್ | sustainable architecture & building practices

4. TECHNIQUES -
ADOBE

The affordability & timelessness of EARTH



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.
CSEB

The engineered modern age EARTH

 

Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks – The soil, raw or stabilized, is slightly
moistened, poured into a steel press and then compressed either with a manual or motorized press. It seems that the first attempts at Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) were tried in France, in the early years of the 19th century: The architect Francois Cointeraux, around 1803, precast small blocks of rammed earth. He used hand rammers to compress humid soil into small wooden moulds which were held with the feet.

COB

The simplicity and plasticity of EARTH

 

Cob is the simplest and the most popular load bearing walling technique, used all over the world. It is the hand sculpting of walls using lumps of earth mix, working one’s way to the full height of the wall. Some of the oldest man made structures are in cob and rammed earth. Tropical countries, like India and Indonesia have a lot of cobbing tradition, with good overhangs
and foundations.

Rammed Earth

The strength and solidity of
EARTH

 

The worldwide 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 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.

WATTLE & DAUB

The flexibility and earthquake resistance of EARTH


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.
STRAW CLAY

The climatic adaptability
and comfort
of EARTH


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.
NATURAL PLASTERS


The breath-ability and aesthetics of EARTH

 

One important aspect of ecological construction is to guarantee a good ‘breathability’ of the building. The plasters being the first layer in contact with the outside and inside air, it plays an important role in the regulation of humidity, odors and temperature. Natural plasters such as earth or lime plasters have the capacity to make the wall breathable and significantly improve the quality of the inside air. Eliminating the need for a chemical paint over it, these renders can be sponge finished, smooth or trowel finished, rough or brush finished, hand finished, fibrous, plain, grainy, and together with natural colour pigments; the options are infinite!

 

TADELAKT

 

The mystery and allure of EARTH

 

There is probably no comparison to the sheer skill and patience required to create the luxurious feel of the Tadelakt. This sacred traditional practice that originates from Morocco, is passed on through word of mouth, from artisan to artisan. Tadelakt is created using limestone from the high Atlas
mountains of Morocco. It has today, fascinated the imagination of modern artisans who are inspired by the fantastic walls of the Marrakesh Palaces that have remained virtually unchanged for centuries! The word ‘Tadelakt’ means ’to caress’ in Arabic.

 

A choreography of natural materials for the interiors of Aditi Organics Office in Bangalore, India

The site was a 3000 sft empty shell on the first floor of another concrete building in Bangalore city. Walled on three sides, with structural glazing to the west, it overlooks the beautiful canopies of Gulmohar trees together with the mighty ramp of a concrete flyover in the distance. This is a typical illustration of Bangalore’s predicament; striving to be the IT hub while trying to retain its identity as the garden city of India.

The team members at Aditi were enthusiastic about creating a space that reflects who they are. A company whose work is to certify organic agricultural produce in the country, knew that they wanted their office to be a bold and vibrant environment created out of natural materials. That was our design brief.

With a demanding timeline of two months and a challenging budget, what began was an exercise in choreography to waltz in all the materials we love and all the teams on site to complete the project.

While catering to the comfort of the everyday user, we wanted to provide the occasional visitor with an experience; be it the corporate who walks in for a meeting, or a farmer who brings in samples of his soil and produce for certification. An experience of an architecture and a materiality which is closer to nature while responding to today’s aspiration of modernity, aesthetics and comfort.

Within the interior space, we needed partition walls together with plenty of storage and seating, it had to be something easy to implement, considering the short time at hand. We needed a module!

The ubiquitous slotted angle came to our rescue. With great flexibility, 3×3 feet frames have been used to create a rhythm with multiple functions.

The dance could start; a partition wall became a cabinet for storage, a shelf has turned into a bench, a window or a blackboard. These modules have then been filled with plastered panels, rendered in clay or lime, bolted onto them. Pine wood boards, glass, and even exposed fired bricks have been used in some areas, adding to the chorus.

Work desks were handcrafted in solid pine wood. The remaining walls were finished with natural clay and pigmented lime plaster.

Finally, a seamless silver grey oxide floor completes the act, wrapping around inbuilt seating and furniture as well.

As much as team Aditi by its activity, questions the world of agricultural practices, we hope that its office questions the world of interior design. There is no air-conditioning, neither wooden laminates, plastics, resin nor chemical wood treatment in this project.

 

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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.

 

Archcult-Adobe

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.

 

Archcult-StrawClay

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.

 

Archcult-Rammed earth

 

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.

Archcult-WattleDaub

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We are happy to announce a collaboration with Clay Station, Bangalore for the Creative Plasters Workshop. Clay Station is a space for the experienced, aspiring and recreational potter. We love earth, and so do they. Together we bring a workshop to explore with you, what we are most passionate about.


 

A plaster that breathes; that regulates temperature and humidity inside a building; that absorbs both noise and odors; that ages beautifully with time. Add to that the infinite possibilities in aesthetics; pigmented or plain, smooth or grainy, regular or patterned, contemporary or rustic; natural plaster is irresistible!

Earth is the most widely available natural building material. It uses little or no energy in processing. It’s incredible plasticity, ecological and aesthetic qualities have enabled our ancestors to use it in abundance to build their homes, and in perfect harmony with their environment. Earth plaster, unlike paints and chemical coatings, do not emit any volatile components which could be harmful to our health. Being locally sourced, earth plasters reduce the environmental impact of our construction.

All over the world, there exists an incredible diversity of traditional recipes of natural plaster. It is this diversity of ingredients married with the many possibilities of textures and colors offered by the land, that is at the origin of this workshop.

Anybody can create natural plasters, together with the soil of their place, a dose of creativity, a trowel of motivation and a bit of experience! A place for experimentation, exhibition and knowledge sharing, the Creative Plasters workshop invites you to Clay Station for a one day hands-on session on the 19th or 20th of December 2015

Come and learn with us!

What will you learn?

Prepare, test and apply earth plasters (raw and stabilised) | Wall preparation | Base plaster | Finishing plaster | Decoration, plaster carving, embossing, use of color oxides and pigments | Discover and try the traditional Moroccan Tadelakt technique, a fine richly coloured water-proof plaster.

Prerequisites

Earth construction is for all! No requisite except the motivation to learn and the desire to play with the material.

The Program

One day workshop on the 19th or 20th of December 2015
from 9:00 am to 06:00 pm, lunch included.

The venue

The workshop will take place in the production facility of “Clay Station”

Clay station production unit,
L75, 15th cross, near Indian Bank
HSR layout, Bangalore 56 0102

Google map : https://goo.gl/maps/rL9up9jvxtB2
GPS coordinates : 12.914055, 77.630304
Equipment and material
Dress to get dirty! Bring a round smooth stone for the Tadelakt technique

Registration and fees

Maximum 20 participants on a first come first served basis
Fees : 2000 Rs  (1200 Rs for students, please send a scan of your student ID card, to : madeinearthindia@gmail.com )

ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM  : http://tinyurl.com/151219-PlasterWorkshop
Registration closes on the 14th of December.

Contact

madeinearthindia [at] gmail.com

Organisers

Clay Station www.claystation.in

Clay_Station_logo
Made In Earth Collective www.madeinearth.in

MIE logo-full

 

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The brick Kiln house is coming up! Stone foundation and compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB).
Read more about the project here.

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So glad to see a building-with-earth-curriculum making its way into our architecture schools. A really great response from the students of RR School of Architecture!

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There is a certain magic in working with natural materials, there is life in using earth and lime. There is a large palette to play with, but it was not until I learnt about Tadelakt, the Moroccan marvel technique, did I discover the pure class of craftsmanship in earth.

There were almost twenty of us, trying out this magical technique, on small earth block samples; Unsure of what it is going to feel like, how it is going to turn out, and what kind of commitment it requires. We had prepared our based plaster with lime and pigment on an adobe block, asked to choose a stone and begin!

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Dating thousands of years, Tadelakt is a magical water resistant chemistry of lime & vegetable oil resulting in a glimmering monolithic plaster that twinkles in the light as it seamlessly extends across surfaces of our structures, showcasing its extreme craftsmanship. A living surface that’s as hard as stone and as soft as leather, as breathing and waterproof as our skin; has its origins in the ancient city of Marrakech in Morocco.

16-ii 07-20 06-bbbTadelakt  is a particularly high lime-to- aggregate ratio which is applied in multiple thin coats to a substrate, such as an earthen wall surface, polished and then caressed with smooth stones. Finally. it is rubbed down with organic soap, with patience and a lot of love to make the surface seamless.

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It took time, a lot of time, for the surface to evolve, and to obtain the finish for this technique is all about the time spent making it.

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Tadelakt did surprise us. It demanded much more respect, and turned out much more elegant than what we expected. Now I know how and why this moroccan masterpiece had the ability to withstand the sands of time. Being water proof and customisable in different coloured finishes, having the ability to follow all forms of building; still holding the ability to breathe, with a property to gain beauty and strength over time, there is definitely magic here. It takes time to create timeless masterpieces; and if we have enough, Tadelakt surfaces are carefully sculpted artwork with a soul.

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By Santosh PrabhuTadelakt Workshop Participant & Intern at Made In Earth

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“For us, it goes in circles, move and continue, and move and continue
and keep moving.”– This brief from the team at Kashi Education Society came a long way in shaping our design process.
We imagine children running, walking along walls, a casual finger trailing a texture or a motif along a wall, stopping to peep through a little window unto the green fields, escaping into a class and resurfacing somewhere else, oblivious to the building around them.

Benaras 01c

Benaras 01d

Benaras 01e

Benaras 04a

Benaras 04b

Benaras 04c

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2015 Cute and Care2

Suma and Shuba are two sisters from Bangalore with secret alter egos. They are setting up an organic farm near the small village of Seegehalli, in the outer reaches of the city. The quaint farm is a 400 m long strip of land jeweled with a row of coconut trees on either side. They dream of eventually retiring here to a quieter and more natural lifestyle. We have started to visualize the basic requirement for life on the farm. Nicknamed ‘Cute’ and ‘Care’ by our interns, the two cottages would be the first step in realising Suma and Shubha’s dream. The ‘Cute’ cottage is to accommodate the two on their weekend visits and enable them to spend more time on the farm, while the ‘Care’ cottage is to house a small family who would be present to take care of the farm at all times. It seems to us that this is the perfect place for a small adobe home, as we have wonderful soil as well as a local skill set to produce Adobes. Follow this thread to see how these designs evolve as we walk Suma and Shubha, gradually towards their dream.

2015 Cute and Care

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Hungry morning.
Cooking was yet to happen.
Ingredients were ready.
Were just waiting for all the cooks to arrive.

01-01

It was a hungry morning.
And it was no regular food fest; for one cook to cook for all.
It was something more special;
more unique and intimate, where everyone cooks;

07-32

Here we were all cooks;
trying to get the ingredients right,
for one perfect food for everyone;
with little secret spice, for individual’s taste.

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Everyone gathered at the kitchen.
The kitchen smelt different,
The smell made us more hungry; Hungry to cook
For it was no regular kitchen.

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We had two master-chefs; And one master-ingredient;
We were all new to cooking; to this type of cooking;
Major ingredient was so much familiar;
Easy to play with; Easy to cook;

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To get it ready, it needed crushing;
And careful watering, And then mixing,
It must feel good in your fingers
For people to appreciate what we cook;

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We made a plan; We categorised the ingredients;
For making it easier to experiment;
To Aggregate, Binders, Mass,
Organic reinforcement and added flavours;

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We needed two dishes, to fulfil our hunger;
One main course and one dessert;
we called it base and finishing,
For it was no regular kitchen;

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We made a strategy; to get the recipe right;
we drew a grid, kept master-ingredient consistent;
Sprinkled aggregate towards the right;
Added binder down the grid.

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We made experiments; we made recipes;
Added colours and natural flavours
For this food was no regular food;
Like no other food, this food can breath.

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The food can’t crack, nor can it break,
nor can it chip off, and has load to take;
We tested its strength, hanging a bottle or two
For it was no regular food.

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We made the mix, we got the food
for each one, their own recipe;
We cared its cracks and loved it a lot,
For it was a food for hunger and not to eat;

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It was no regular kitchen,
And we called it the Earth kitchen;
It was no regular food,
We call it Natural plaster;

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by Santosh Prabhu,
Team Made In Earth
From a series of workshops on natural plaster held at Bangalore in July 2015

 

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