Rammed Earth House

Now we have begun the building up of a recycling house for waste using a rammed earth building technique. Markus Beskow, who built his rammed earth house himself in Baskemölla eco-village is leading a workshop here at Ecotopia on 5-6 June.

The walls are built by pouring down a clay mix in a mould (see picture), in a roughly ten centimetre thick layer. Thereafter it is pressed together to roughly 5 centimetres thickness with the help of an air pressure-powered compressor in order to squeeze the material together. In earlier times the traditional earth houses were compressed by hand power alone. The mix that was used is composed of clay mixed with gravel and sand in varying sizes.. When the particles from the different materials have settled themselves correctly an electrical connection arises and the clay is glued together. It is that which makes the clay house so durable.

Here you see how we dug out in order to build the base and the foundation wall with the yard’s own stones. Since the house is standing next to the forest’s edge we exposed the beech roots in order to not harm them.. The perfect wall material (see the sample in hand) we are getting from the neighbour who built a new stable and wanted to get rid of the soil. THANKS for that! In order to give the walls more colour, white and red clay that we got from an old brickyard are added later. Furthermore, we are planning to lay in Hecla Lava from Iceland that we got from Bara minerals, which is also a former brickworks in the region of my birth. We will test the lava. Because we have a store of empty bottles we are planning to use them as windows. It’s all about recycling isn’t it?

For the rammed earth house, neither damp-proofing or insulation is needed. The damp drifts away and back in the earth and the exterior lime plastering breathes. Thanks to the walls being made of clay no damp problem arises and the interior climate is self-regulating. That the walls are thick and homogeneous means they store heat and make the house “sluggish.”If it becomes really cold one day there will be warmth stored in the walls. The buildings are environmentally-friendly because they contain no lime, plaster or grout of other than purely natural material. Furthermore, the wall material is collected on a nearby muddy field and demands no long distance journeys.

Now I will go and plant the pumpkins that have been hardened by both sun, wind and water. Later it will be goosefoot cooking before the study visit from Landskrona tomorrow.

Have a nice day and enjoy the greenery in the spring warmth!

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