Rammed earth dwellings have been around ever since the ancient civilisations discovered this construction technique. From Asia to Middle East to Europe to Africa, some of the world’s most iconic man-made structures have been made out of the very soil they stand on. And almost all of these buildings are still as strong and majestic as they were when they were first made, as if they were designed to be monuments that will serve as reminders on how the smart and responsible use of natural resources can create timeless, ageless outcomes.
In the last few years, people have been seeing a resurgence of interest in the concept of building structures using the rammed earth process. Homeowners and home builders who have become aware of the importance of sustainable living started to look for ways to make more environmentally friendly houses.At the same time, the number of rammed earth public and business venues, such as schools, warehouses, art galleries, resorts and wineries,have also risen.
Builders specialising in rammed earth construction today have added smart innovations to the process to make modern rammed earth homes even more durable, sustainable, comfortable and beautiful. New tools, new composition of the same natural materials, a new way of laying out the walls and foundation, or the addition of elements that make the home even more environmentally friendly – all these big and small new solutions have further pushed rammed earth building as a practical and accessible choice for many.
While there are other cheaper (and possibly lower-quality) options for building houses, you can quickly recuperate the capital outlay you allot a rammed earth home, thanks to the cost savings the household can enjoy from lowered energy consumption. This is because the soil composition that makes up a rammed earth structure can “breathe” and is able to provide a stable indoor temperature, and so your use of artificial cooling and heating systems is reduced. The walls absorb heat during the day to keep the interiors cool; at night and during cooler days, the walls trap heat and keep it inside to provide warmth for the home.
There are many other reasons that prove the practicality of a rammed earth home. The thermally massive structure turns pests away, is non-combustible and efficiently sound-proof. It also has a natural, organic silhouette that can be enhanced with various textures, finishes and design elements such as the addition of vibrant hues, coloured stones or landscaped green spaces.