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EARTH ARCHITECTURE
Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in
                        contemporary scenario
Approval


                     Undergraduate Research Thesis
                       Vyavasayi Vidya Pratisthan’s
               Indubhai Parekh School of Architecture
                                   Rajkot, India


The following study is hereby approved as creditable work on the approved subject,
carried out and presented in a manner sufficiently satisfactory to warrant its acceptance as
a prerequisite to the degree for which it has been submitted.

It is understood that by this approval, the undersigned does not necessarily endorse or
approve of any statement made, opinion expressed or conclusion drawn there in, and
approves the study only for the above purpose, and satisfies him as to the requirements
laid down by the thesis committee.



Thesis Title: EARTH ARCHITECTURE
               Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in
               contemporary scenario




Name: Bhavi Vador                      Guide: Vishwanath Kashikar
Roll No: 3805                          Signature:
                                      Date:
The dissertation is dedicated to my parents and to every individual who inspired me, guided me and
                                    helped me in my endeavours.
Acknowledgement
Inspirations and critique makes individual to do better. Ultimately, an individual grows through such individuals.

I would to acknowledge a number of individuals who have played a pivotal role in the actualisation of this thesis.

Firstly, i would like to thank my parents and whole family for supporting me throughout my life till now, they have given me
this wonderful life by supporting me and making me an individual to stand out and face every difficulty that comes along the
way of progress.
I am very much thankful to my guide - Vishwanath Kashikar for guiding me, providing me sufficient and timely discussions
and valuable inputs and broadening my concepts and ideas about earth architecture.

All my people who helped me in one way or the other, who questioned, criticised and discussed factors related to the topic and
thereby create a formwork for the dissertation. I would like to acknowledge not only those who directly contributed to this
dissertation, but also those whose moral support and confidence in me, whose companionship and discussions I have always
valued.

Ar. Nirav Vador and Ar. Kartik Bijlani for being a guide throughout, Dr.Tejal Gajra, Dhaval Vador and Jill Vador for asking
me thousand times ‘when will you complete your thesis?’ .Nikitasha Vador for accompanying to auroville and making the trip
memorable and helping with the work there.

Jimmy katira,Sweta Amin, Krishma Shah, Rutvik Agnihotri,Chandni Parekh,Tejas Bhatt,Pranav Meghani,Mitul Shah,
Dhruvansh Hirani,Ronak patel,Ankit Mehta and Siddharth Chauhan for discussing the work, for being there in happy and low
times and for being the best persons in my life.

Anand Dave, Kanupriya Raniwala, Saumil Mewada, Bhaumik Modi, Pratik zaveri, Sridevi, Rosy for valuable inputs and
discussions.

Prabhulal Vora, Savita Vora, Pallavi aunty, Shailesh uncle, Parth Amin and the ‘shailvi’ home...for supporting and giving
every facility to get a working environment.

IPSA for being a wonderful platform for providing knowledge and all the faculties, students, administration people,
maintenance people for sharing knowledge.

IPSA library, CEPT library for providing with books and internet access.

Prof Bakul Jani, Ar. Devang Parekh, Ar. Hitesh Changela, Mr. Kiran Vaghela, Ar. Satprem Maini, Ar. Dharmesh Jadeja for
their valuable inputs and discussions related to the topic.

I was able to proceed in my topic because of the valuable time given by the Architects, engineers, labourers and contractors
with whom i had discussions related to my questionnaire.

Thanks to owners of earth buildings in auroville and Kutch who co-ordinated well and helped to study and measure draw their
respective buildings.

To batch 2005-this consists of all my friends who have experienced architecture academics with me, sharing all their fun and
knowledge and for being together in a new city away from the family.

I would also like to thank all those who in some way or the other helped me in every stage of my life till now and finally to the
person who is reading this and (hopefully going to read) further. I hope the study become useful and serve the purpose for
which it is been read.
Contents

     PREFACE                                                                     1

1.   INTRODUCTION                                                                2-7

     1.1 Aim/objectives

     1.2 Methodology

     1.3 Necessity of research on earth construction

     1.4 Scope and limitations



2.   EARTH CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES                                               8-22

     2.1 Earth architecture of world

     2.2 Earth as a building material

     2.3 Traditional earth construction techniques

     2.4 Contemporary earth construction techniques (illustrated with figures)   23-32

         2.4(a) Cob

         2.4(b) Adobe

         2.4(c) compressed stabilised earth blocks

         2.4(d) Wattle and daub

         2.4(e) Rammed earth



3.   INNOVATIONS IN EARTH CONSTRUCTION                                           33-62

     3.1 Introduction

     3.2 Analytical charts showing solutions through:

         3.2(a) Primary case studies

         3.2(b) Designing

         3.3(c) Construction

         3.4(d) Maintenance

         3.5(e) Demolition/Reuse
4.   CONCLUSIONS                                          63-64



     APPENDIX                                             65-118

     1. Interviews and discussions with subject experts   65-70

     2. Analysis of soil type                             71-72

     3. Traditional construction drawings                 73-75

     4. CSEB and stabilized rammed earth                  76-93

     5. Built examples                                    94-118



     Afterword-the future                                 119

     Glossary                                             120

     Image credits                                        121

     Bibliography                                         122
Preface

Currently it is estimated that one half of the world's population, approximately three billion people on six
continents live or work in buildings constructed of earth. It is evaluated that about 1.7 billion people of the world‟s
population live in earthen houses: About 50 % of the population in developing countries, and at least 20% of urban
and suburban populations. And while the vast legacy of traditional and vernacular earthen construction has been
widely discussed, little attention has been paid to the contemporary tradition of earth architecture.

    -   Ronal Rael-Earth Architecture



This paper is focusing particularly on the innovations done in last few years in the field of earth construction that
can lead to its better use as a building material. This thesis deals with earth as a building material, and provides a
survey of all of its applications and construction techniques while explaining its specific qualities and the
possibilities of optimising them. It provides the new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet.
Many assume that it's only used for housing in poor rural areas—but there are examples of bungalows, offices,
apartments and institutions that are made of earth. It's also assumed that earth is a fragile, ephemeral material, while
in reality some of the oldest extant buildings on the planet are made of earth. Earth buildings are often thought of as
pre-modern or backward. With help of discussions with the subject experts, drawings and images, this paper
showcases the beauty and simplicity of one of humankind's most evolved and sophisticated building technologies.

         Mud (wet, soft earth) is a natural material which after exploration can be used just the way other
contemporary materials are used. A person, who started using glass, would not have made a skyscraper at first go.
After years of experiments designers and engineers might have used it as skin for skyscrapers. If there are
advantages about a certain material then there are limitations and disadvantages too, that can be solved by studies,
experiments and application of that material in different ways. Just because mud was used traditionally doesn‘t
mean it cannot be used today in contemporary architecture, it has risen from those mud toys to mud huts and now
to institutions, bungalows and multi-storeys. Mud is no more a material known for construction of ‗kuccha‘ houses
.While shrinkage, erosion and mechanical damage can affect earth construction like any other building material,
preventative measures can be taken for innovating the material itself rather than constructing with high cost,
imported materials.

       Appendix 1 is the basis of development of this paper. The introductory chapter provides with a short survey
on the history of earth architecture. In other following chapters it describes the contemporary and future roles of
earth as a building material, and lists all of the significant characteristics that distinguish earth from common
industrialised building materials. The thesis final appendices titled ‗built examples‘ are earth buildings from
various regions of the world. These constructions demonstrate the impressive versatility of earth architecture and
the many different uses of the building material earth.




                                                                                                                      1

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Introduction

“Here, for years, for centuries, the peasant had wisely and quietly exploited the obvious building material, while we, with our
modern school-learned ideas, never dreamed of using such a ludicrous substance as mud for so serious a creation as a house.
But why not? Certainly, the peasant‟s houses might be cramped, dark, dirty, and inconvenient, but this is no fault of the mud
brick. There was nothing that could not be put right by good design and a broom.”

-Hassan Fathy (1973: 4)


AIM

       The aim is to study the traditional earth construction techniques and earth construction techniques of contemporary
        architecture, stating problems with the techniques as why they make earth architecture undesirable for present client
        and stating solutions from the case studies of contemporary earth buildings that show innovations made in traditional
        techniques and show potentials and possibilities of earth construction so that the present man desires it just like other
        contemporary architectural styles and materials.




OBJECTIVES

       To understand ideology of earth materials.
       To study the various earth construction techniques.
       To analyse the contemporary earth architecture in respect to its construction.
       To review the possible innovative earth construction methods and study the minor details that can help improve its
        use.
       To review the appropriateness of the earth as building material in present scenario.



METHODOLOGY

       Understanding traditional earth construction techniques(internet, books, people)
       Gathering secondary data(internet, books, previous thesis done by others)
       Preparing research questionnaire
       Conducting interviews with the experts(architects, contractors/engineers, skilled labourers) of the subject
       Identifying problems with the designing, methods, construction techniques and maintenance related to earth
        architecture through those interviews and related case studies.
       Doing case studies to understand the contemporary explorations and innovations to overcome those problems and
        show potentials of earth architecture.
       Compilation of data, chapter writing and deriving conclusions




                                                                                                                               2

 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
NECESSITY OF RESEARCH ON EARTH CONSTRUCTION

         To get knowledge about the material and promote earth construction
         To create awareness about earth construction
         To learn the potentials of earth building process (designing, construction, maintenance, demolition/ re-use)




SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS




Chart 1

There are various aspects of earth architecture, but the focus in this thesis is to study the earth construction and innovations in
it, to study the problems that earth as a building material has and find the solutions through the recent innovations in the
material and its applications.




                                                                                                                                 3

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Earth construction techniques

“Our modern, advanced scientific minds should know how to assess the merits and demerits of historic and factual evidence of
the way people who have lived in a particular setting and climate, have coped with the problems which are still inevitably ours
today. To brush aside all this demonstration and evidence as old-fashioned and therefore useless is extremely foolish. Having
made our assessment we would show ourselves capable of adopting the lessons we have learned (negative or positive, they are
of equal importance) to our current living habits and the currently available building materials at our disposal. Along with this
we should remind ourselves that it is not „advancement‟ or „development‟ or „progress‟ to indulge in modern building
materials and techniques at tremendous expenses and to no good effect when there is no justification or reason for their use,
instead of older, simpler, inexpensive methods. ”

- Laurie Baker (life, work and writings), page 23

EARTH ARCHITECTURE OF WORLD

A MILLENNIA OLD TRADITION
Down through the ages, people have been using raw earth for building their living spaces. Every single continent, and nearly
every country, possesses a rich heritage of earthen buildings. From the roof of the world in Tibet, or the Andes Mountains in
Peru, to the Nile‘s shore in Egypt or the fertile valleys of China, many are the examples of earth as a building material.
          Earth construction techniques have been known for over 9000 years. Mud brick (adobe) houses dating from 8000 to
6000 BC have been discovered in Russian Turkestan (Pumpelly, 1908). Rammed earth foundations dating from ca. 5000 BC
have been discovered in Assyria. Earth was used as the building material in all ancient cultures, not only for homes, but for
religious buildings as well. Vaults in the Temple of Ramses II at Gourna, Egypt, built from mud bricks 3200 years ago. The
citadel of Bam in Iran, parts of which are ca. 2500 years old; a fortified city in the Draa valley in Morocco, which is around
250 years old. The 4000-year-old Great Wall of China was originally built solely of rammed earth; only a later covering of
stones and bricks gave it the appearance of a stone wall. The core of the Sun Pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico, built between
the 300 and 900 AD, consists of approximately 2 million tons of rammed earth.
          The world‘s oldest earthen building still standing is about 3,300 years old. In India, the oldest earthen building is Tabo
Monastery, in Spiti valley –Himachal Pradesh. It was also built with adobe and has withstood Himalayan winters since 996
AD.




1.

1.   Earth construction areas of the world




                                                                                                                                  4

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
2.                                                          3.




4.                                                          5.




6.                                                          7.

2.   Ziggurat of Ur-in-Khaldea
3.   Dejenne Mosque of Mali, Mopti
4.   Tabo monastery, India 996 AD
5.   Archaeological site of Mari Syria – Funded in 2800BC
6.   Taos pueblo, New Mexico
7.   Great Wall of China




                                                                                                                    5

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
8.




9.                                                              10.




11.                                                             12.




 8.   A panoramic view for desert vernacular mud brick architecture in Dakhla oasis, Egypt.
 9.   Citadel of bam, Iran, before the earthquake
10.   Ramasseum, Egypt ~ 1300 BC
11.   Fortified city, Draa valley, Morocco
12.   Bazaar, Sirdjan, Iran




                                                                                                                    6

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
EARTH AS A BUILDING MATERIAL

    Earth comes from the disintegration of the parent rock. This rock disintegrates into mineral particles with varying dimensions
     ranging from pebbles to clayey dust.




                                                                                            This ―organic‖ soil is reserved
                                                                                            for agriculture.
                                                                                            The other layers are used for
               In the upper layer these                                                     construction.
               particles are mixed with
               organic material from the
               decomposition of the living
               World.




                                                                                         Active
                     Organic
                     material


                                        Inert




               Stones                 Gravel              Sand                 Silt                       Clay




                                  Soil skeleton
                                                                                            Binder




                     Plasticity                      Cohesiveness                        Compatibility

    Chart 2

    There are several different types of earth according to the quantities of the following components:
    GRAVELLY EARTH – SANDY EARTH – SILTY EARTH – CLAYEY EARTH                                                                    7

    EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Note: These are some points for the overview of the material, more and detailed study of the material and its construction is
provided in chapter three and in the appendix containing discussions with the experts, and through the case studies.

The parts highlighted in the above chart are the main construction techniques used in contemporary earth construction and are
studied in detail and explained in the next part of ‗contemporary earth construction techniques‘




TRADITIONAL EARTH TECHNIQUES




                                               12 earth construction techniques

Chart 3




                                                                                                                                8

 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
EARTH DUG OUT
      The earth is dug out to create shelters. In most of cases dwellings are dug out in soft soils, tuffs, porous lava in areas
       with hot and dry climate.
      The horizontal dug out create caves on the side of the hills, which are accessed by staircases and galleries.
      The vertical dug out are created in areas such as plateaus or plains. A kind of open courtyard is dug out a few meters
       deep and then room are dug out like caves on the side of this courtyard. Access to the dwelling is done by a staircase,
       often very steep.
      Beautiful examples are found in China, in the provinces of Hunnan, Shanxi, and Gansu, where more than 10 million
       people live in homes dug out of the loess layer. In Tunisia too, one can find interesting achievements.
      In Turkey, Cappadocia show exceptional creations where people combined vertical and horizontal dug out.




 13.                                                                14.




 15.                                                                        16.


 13.   Tunisia, Matmata (Photo CRATerre EAG
 14.   China, Nxiang region – Han Jia Bao (Photo V. Dubourg
 15.   China, Nxiang region (Photo Chinese Society of Architecture)
 16.   China – Plan of dug out dwelling (Source unknown)




                                                                                                                                    9

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
CUT EARTH

     In areas where the soil was cohesive and contained concretions of carbonates (a natural chemical which give
      cohesion) the soil was cut in the shape of blocks and used like bricks or stones. Such examples are found typically in
      tropical areas where lateritic soils give a wonderful building material.
     Lateritic soils can be found in two natural states:
           - Soft soils, which will harden when exposed to air due to chemical reaction of the soil constituent with the air.
                Such soils can be found on the west coast of India, from Kerala to Goa.
           - Hard crust which was long ago in soil form and has already hardened through the ages. Burkina Faso in
                Africa and Orissa in India show wonderful examples of such soils and blocks.
     In areas where the soil is not cohesive enough, people have used topsoil and grass to create blocks which were stacked
      fresh upon each other. This method has been used a lot in England, where it has been named sod.




                                                                                                                                 .
17.                                           18.                                         19.




20.                                          21.                                 22.

17.   Uruguay, Montevideo – Sod house (Photo H. Guillaud)
18.    India, Panaji – Ex Palace, 16th C.
19.   Burkina Faso, Quarry of Kari (Photo CRATerre/EAG)
20.   India, Kerala, Near Soranad – Shaping a plinthite block
21.   India, Orissa, Near Narangarh – Cutting petroplinthite by hand
22.   India, Goa – Basilica Bom Jesus, end 16th century




                                                                                                                                10

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
FILLED IN (EARTH BAG CONSTRUCTION)


     This method was developed from the bunkers made by the military.
     The basic construction method began by digging a trench.
     Rows of woven bags (or tubes) are filled with available inorganic material.
     After the foundation is laid, each successive layer will have one or more strands of barbed wire placed on top.
     The weight of this earth-filled bag pushes down on the barbed wire strands, locking the bag in place on the row below.
     The most popular type of bag is made of woven polypropylene.
     Organic natural materials such as hemp, other natural-fibre bags (like ―gunny sacks‖) can be used.
     Humid soil was traditionally poured into wooden lattice works. Thus, it gave some thermal mass to light structures as well
      as some acoustic insulation.




23.                                                               24.




25.                                                               26.

23.   USA, California, Cal-Earth – Eco-domes
24.   Inside view from the dome
25.   Exterior view without plaster
26.   USA, California, Cal-Earth – Plastering the Eco-dome




                                                                                                                             11

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
COVERED EARTH

      Soil has been traditionally used to cover roofs in different parts of the world. In arid climates, either very hot or very
       cold, it regulates the inside temperature, due to heavy thermal mass.
      In Scandinavia, the earth to cover roofs was taken with grass, so as to hold the soil and give cohesion to it through their
       roots. This method also gave more thermal mass and allowed the inside temperature to be more even.
      In Nordic countries but also in the Himalayas regions, waterproofing was done long ago with the bark of birch trees.
       The bark peeled from the tree was very thin and it was applied in several layers to get a waterproof effect.
      Nowadays, waterproofing is done with PVC or bitumen sheets. Green roofs are today a modern development of the
       technique of covered earth. Green roofs, also known as vegetated roof covers or eco-roofs are multi-beneficial
       structural components that help to mitigate the effects of urbanization on water quality by filtering, absorbing or
       detaining rainfall.




 27.                                                               28.




 29.                                                                 30.


 27.   Canada, Factory
 28.   German, House
 29.   Germany, School
 30.   Germany, House




                                                                                                                                 12

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
TRADITIONAL RAMMED EARTH
      Rammed earth, also known in French as pisé de Terre or simply pisé has been used since ages worldwide like many other
       earth techniques.
      Rammed earth is an ancient earth building technique. It is really quite similar to adobe and cob techniques, in that the soil is
       mostly clay and sandy. The difference is that the material is compressed or tamped into place, usually with forms that create
       very flat vertical surfaces.
      The earth is mixed thoroughly with water to get a homogeneous humid mix. This humid earth is poured in a form in thin
       layers and then rammed to increase its density. The increase of density increases the compressive strength and the water
       resistance.
      Ramming was traditionally done by hand.
      The worldwide tradition of rammed earth construction has shown that it is possible to achieve long lasting and majestic
       buildings from single to multi storey. Wonderful heritage can be found in countries such as France, Spain, Morocco, China,
       and all over the Himalayan area. One can see numerous and wonderful examples with all kinds of buildings:
      Farms, or rural houses, chateaux and apartments in Europe
      Entire villages in North Africa
      Parts of the great wall of China
      Buildings in most of the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh
      Widespread examples in South America




 31.                                                                   32.




 33.                                                                    34.

 31.   Morocco – Horizontal rammed earth construction
 32.   Morocco – House
 33.   China, Fujian Province – Village / house of Hakka‟s clan
 34.   France, Dauphine – Château, 19th century




                                                                                                                                  13

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Soil identification
  Knowing that the best soil for rammed earth is preferably sandy or gravely rather than clayey, one should take a lot of
      care about the clay content.
  Worldwide, the skill and knowledge of people has led them to choose rammed earth when the soil was more sandy or
      gravely. When the local soil was more silty or clayey they chose other techniques like Adobe, Cob or Wattle and Daub.




  35.                                                                36.




 37.                                                                           38.




 35.    India, Ladakh – Spituk Gompa
 36.    Morocco village
 37.    Traditional rammed earth
 38.    Rammed earth Building in Yaman




                                                                                                                          14

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
SHAPED EARTH
      Direct shaping makes use of plastic earth and does not require a mould or formwork.
      Plastic earth is shaped, as a potter would do it.
      The quality of the soil, its preparation and the water consistency are important to be known.
      This technique presents the advantage to use minimal and very simple tools, and to use a minimum of labour which is
       necessarily skilled. This technique allows very fluid architecture with a great variety.
      The limitation of this technique is mostly the know-how for the soil quality and controlling the shrinkage when the
       wall dries.
      This technique has been and is still used a lot in Africa, in the Sahel as well as in equatorial regions. Beautiful
       examples can be seen in Cameroon where shaped earth has been used for houses and granaries.
      Natural stabilisers have been use traditionally in countries like Nigeria and Ghana.
      They either used the juice of plants and vegetables or boiled seeds to prepare natural glues which were added to the
       soil.




 39.                                                                40.




 41.                                                          42.                               43.


 39.   Nigeria, Near Kankeya – Granary
 40.   Togo – Granary
 41.   Niger – Granaries
 42.   Cameron – Mousgoum hut (Photo Gert Chesi)
 43.   Cameron – Granaries




                                                                                                                              15

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
STACKED EARTH (COB)
  Cob construction uses sand, clay and straw. Elongated eggs are made of this mix and stacked layer wise. Mixed well this
   special mud is applied to the foundation in continuing layers. Each layer must dry so that it can support the next, and the
   wall is tapered in as you build up. When it is dry, the walls are very hard and load bearing. The roof is built directly on to
   the walls, as the walls themselves are the support structure.
  This technique has been used a lot long ago in Europe, where it was named cob in England and bauge in France.
  This technique is still used a lot in Africa, India and in Saudi Arabia, where beautiful examples can be seen.
  The most beautiful examples are encountered in Yemen with Shibam. This old historic capital of Southern Yemen has been
   named ―The Manhattan of the Desert‖.




 44.                                             45.




 46.                                            47.

 44.   Saudi Arabia – Najran Palace(Photo M. Abdul-Aziz)
 45.   Southern Yemen, Shibam (Photo Patrick Meyer)
 46.   Mali, North of Mopti – Mosque(Photo Gert Chesi)
 47.   Saudi Arabia – Najran Palace (Photo H. Houben)




                                                                                                                              16

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
ADOBE

 Sun dried clay brick, named Adobe, is undoubtedly one of the oldest building materials used by mankind: The oldest
  identified adobes were produced around 9,000 BC at Dja‟ De El Mughara in Syria.
 Adobes are made of thick malleable mud, often added with straw. After being cast they are left to dry under sun. They are
  traditionally either hand shaped or shaped in parallel piped wooden moulds.
 This technique has been used all over the world since memorial times, as can been seen on various hieroglyphs and Egyptian
  scriptures.
 The oldest samples known were found on the site of Jericho, in the Jordan Valley, in Mesopotamia. They date from around
  8000 BC and they were hand shaped. They looked like an elongated loaf. Fingerprints of the craftsmen who did them are
  still visible on some of them.
 In Peru the hand shaped adobes were long ago conical. In the Middle East they were at a time hemispherical and
  humpbacked. In India the archaeological site of Chitradurga in Karnataka state shows also hand shaped adobe of the 15th
  century. They were like quadrangular loafs.
 Today one can still find hand shaped bricks in Africa, in countries like Nigeria or Niger where they are called Tubali.
 Adobe production has been industrialised in Western USA. Several states in USA have codified adobe making and its
  construction.




48.                                                              49.




50.                                                            51.

48.   India, Ladakh - Shey Palace 17th Century
49.   Iran, Meiboud – Office of ICHO
50.   Egypt, Baris - Market by Hassan Fathy
51.   Bazaar, Sirdjan, Iran




                                                                                                                        17

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
EXTRUDED EARTH

     The earth extrusion technique has been used since a long while in the fired brick industry. Stabilised earth, at a plastic
      state, is as well extruded through a machine which gives the desired shape.
     The blocks are often hollow and are cut to the desired length. This technique of stabilised extruded earth was developed
      in the 20th century.
     Compared to the brick extrusion in the fired brick industry, stabilised extruded earth bricks show a major inconvenient:
      the soil required for stabilised earth is much sandier than the one for fired earth. Thus the soil is more abrasive and the
      machines get damaged at a much faster rate.




    52.                                                                53.




    54.



    52. Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou (Photo J. Joffroy)
    53. Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou (Photo J. Joffroy)
    54. France (Photo Unknown)




                                                                                                                                18

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
WATTLE AND DAUB

     Wattle and daub method is an old and common method of building mud structures.
     There bamboo and cane frame structure support the roof.
     Mud is plastered over this mesh of bamboo cane and straws.
     Due to excessive rainfall the wattle and daub structures gets washed off.
     However, the mesh of cane or split bamboo remains intact and after the heavy rain is over the mud is plastered on
      again.




55.                                                          56.




57.                                                          58.




55.   Traditional wattle and daub
56.   Somalia, Genale - Village huts
57.   France, Alsace – House
58.   France, Bresse, Saint Triviers de Court - Farm house




                                                                                                                          19

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
FORMED EARTH (Straw Clay)
      Very clayey soil, in a liquid state, is poured on straw, which has been chopped to the desired length.
      The mix is generally tampered afterwards into forms. These walls are not load-bearing: they are light, have a very high
       thermal insulation value and must be built in a wooden structure.
      It was traditionally used in Germany and was re-used for reconstruction after the 2nd world war. It is mostly known with
       the name Straw clay.
      Straw clay can be used as a filler wall, formed between a wooden structure or as prefabricated blocks.




 59.                                                                60.




 61.                                                                 62.

 59.   Germany, Hessen, Gross Gerau (Photo F. Volhard)
 60.   Belgium, Leuven (Photo H. Houben)
 61.   Germany, Darmstadt (Photo F. Volhard)
 62.   Germany, Darmstadt (Photo F. Volhard)




                                                                                                                             20

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
POURED EARTH

    The soil, in a liquid state, is poured like concrete into formworks. The soil characteristics must be very sandy or gravely
     and should be stabilised.
    This technique is a new development and is very seldom used. The reason is that the high water content of the soil will
     induce a lot of shrinkage when it will dry. Thus the wall will crack.
    The following chart shows how blocks are cut after the earth is poured in a blocked formworks.
    Also, directly the formwork is arranged on the wall through vertical bamboo supports and then liquid earth is poured
     into the formworks.




                                                Courtesy CRATerre -EAG

Chart 4




                                                                                                                               21

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
TERMITE WONDERS
      Termites can be considered as the best earth builders. Building with earth is inherent to their nature. Termites stabilise
       the soil with their saliva. The latter is sticky, as it is issued for the digestion of cellulose, and it binds the grains of soil.
      This allows them to build such wonders. Termites can also be considered as the best air conditioners. Their hills are
       meant to regulate temperature and moisture, in order to allow them to live.
      Constructed out of local dirt, sticks, and sometimes even faces, their saliva is used to form the bonding agent. The
       interior of the mound includes a series of tunnels and chambers with the nest located at the bottom. Various openings
       and passageways are cleverly placed throughout to assist in capturing and drawing in cool air while pushing warm air
       up and out of the mound. By using this careful layout, the termites can regulate the temperature through blocking or
       opening passageways within the mound to control the temperature to their needs.

       - Laura Schultz




 63.                                                                      64.




 65.                                                                                            66.

 63.    India, Auroville - Termite hill
 64.    India, Auroville - Termite nest
 65.    India, Auroville - Termite nest
 66.    Burkina Faso, Toussiana - Termite hill




                                                                                                                                            22

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
CONTEMPORARY EARTH CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES

  The techniques mentioned till now included overall all the techniques of earth construction and were explained briefly.
  Nowadays out of all those techniques only few of them are used with their innovative applications and manufacturing.




 chart 5


              Cob

              Adobe

              Wattle and daub

              Compressed stabilised earth blocks(refer appendix, part 3)

              Rammed earth




                                                                                                                             23

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
COB
     With only a little water to form a very stiff mud, a large Lump is roughly moulded into the shape of a huge elongated
      egg.
     The usual size is anything between 12 to 18-inches, (30 to 40 cm) long and about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.
     A row of these cobs of mud are laid neatly side by side, preferably somewhat pressed together. Then another row of cobs
      is laid on top.
     When three or four courses have been laid, one above the other, the sides are smoothened over so that the holes and
      cracks disappear.
     Openings for doors and windows are a problem, which can be solved by using temporary vertical planks or shuttering.
     Another very simple shuttering for openings is to use empty kerosene tins.




67.                                       68.                                   69.




70.                                             71.                                    72.




73.                                         74.                                         75.

67.   Forming stiff mud and moulds
68.   Stacking the moulds
69.   Levelling and trimming after every stage to prevent Unlevelled walls from building up and drying out
70.   Smoothening the sides
71.   Arrangement of shuttering for openings
72.   Layering the cob strips
73.   Plastering the cob wall
74.   Thatch roof cob house
75.   Flat roof cob house



                                                                                                                           24

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
 While in the case of earth block work, dry elements are built up with mortar joints, no mortar is used with wet loam work.
  Plastic loam is bound simply by ramming, beating, pressing or throwing.
 Some detailing of cob construction is explained below.
 Stone set on wet concrete to bond the cobs better from the base.
 Top of the stem wall is irregular to provide „tooth‟ for cob.
 To prevent lifting in strong winds, anchoring roof to the cob walls by wooden rafters with galvanized wire to the wall.




76.                                                             77.




78.                                                             79.


                                  Adobes are made of thick malleable mud, often added with straw.
76.   Stem wall on top of foundation
77.   Anchoring the window frames and door frames to ground by wooden logs.
78.   Roof logs attached to cob walls through wooden rafters
79.   Thatched roof detail




                                                                                                                               25

 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
TYPICAL COB WALL SECTION DETAIL




 80.


 80. Typical profile of the elements making up a cob and thatch
     building.(illustration from building with cob: a step by step guide, by Adam
ADOBEWeismann and Katy Bryce, green books




                                                                                                                    26

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
ADOBE

     Adobes are made either by filling moulds with a pasty loam mixture or by throwing moist lumps of earth into them.
     After being cast they are left to dry under sun. They are traditionally either hand shaped or shaped in parallel piped
      wooden moulds.
     Different types of moulds can be used; some of these are shown below.
     They are usually made from timber. The throwing technique is commonly used in all developing countries.
     Here, a sandy loam is mixed with water, and cut straw is usually added and the whole formed into a paste that is thrown
      into wooden moulds.
     The greater the force with which the loam is thrown, the better its compaction and dry strength. The surface is smoothed
      by hand or by a timber piece, trowel or wire.
     One person can produce about 300 blocks per day (including preparation of mix, transportation and stacking.
     The disadvantage is that the blocks are usually stabilised with 4% to 8% cement content in order to endow them with
      sufficient strength.
     This is necessary because of the absence of either sufficient water or adequate dynamic impact capable of significantly
      activating the binding forces of the clay minerals. Without cement, pressed blocks usually have dry a compressive
      strength lower than that of handmade adobes.
     Another disadvantage of such presses is that the soil mix must be kept at a constant level of moisture and composition.
     If compositions vary, then both the volume of the material to be filled and the pressure changes.
     This leads to variations in the heights and strengths of the blocks.
     Fully automatic block-making presses can produce 1500 to 4000 blocks daily. However, they require large investments
      and may be difficult to maintain, especially in developing countries.
     To assure even loam consistencies, such machines often require separate crushers and mixers.
     Fully automatic presses are only economical if they have long lives, are utilised extensively on a daily basis, and if raw
      material of even consistency is available locally and in sufficient quantities.




                                                                  81.    Timber moulds for adobes
                                                                  82.   Pouring earth mix into the manually
                                                                        operated press
                                                                  83.   Compacting the mix
                                                                  84.   Taking out block from the press
                                                                  85.   CINVA press
                                                                  86-88 Making adobes in Ecuador
                                                                  89.   Removal of surplus Loam with a wire
    81.




                                                                                                                               27

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
82.                                                              83.




84.                                                                    85.




86.                                                                     87.




88.                                                                     89.




                                                                                                                    28

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
WATTLE AND DAUB

 This type of wattle and daub is a more modern version of traditional wattle and daub and is the most widely used.
 It has sections of cane or bamboo poles fixed with wires and nails to a sawed wooden structure which enables a better
  finished assembly. Earth mix is applied on this assembly and then finishes are applied to the wall surfaces.
 The prefabricated panel is a sawed wooden frame, filled with interwoven cane or bamboo battens, inserted in such a way
  that they are self-anchoring. After being assembled these panels are walls which will be plastered with earth and straw
  mortar with an initial layer and then a thin finishing layer. The advantage of prefabricated panels is that they enable the
  panels and the structure that will carry them in the wall to be made at the same time, thus reducing assembly time.




 90.                                                     91.




92.                                                              93.

81.    Corner junctions
82.    Detail structure of the wall
83.    Detail of cane fastening
84.    Elevation of the wall

                                                                                                                          29

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Step by step construction




94.                                                   95.                                 96.




97.                                       98.                                       99.




100.                                     101.                                         102.


94. T o set the columns use a plumb to make sure they are vertical, hold them temporarily with braces.
95. Always cut cane after knots.
96. The poles are fastened with a flexible material, such as galvanised wire or treated plant fibre
97. After defining the position of the vertical poles fix them. If you use hollow concrete blocks these can be taken advantage of.
98. Detail of connection between the corner column and the horizontal canes.
99. After justalling all the vertical poles, and before fixing the horizontal ones, the fasteners should be fixed.
100. Detail of join between vertical and horizontal poles
AOBE
101. After fitting the horizontal poles at a height of up to 50 cm it is advisable to first fill the columns with wattle and daub
     mortar followed by the walls. The separation between the horizontal bars should be between 6cm and 8cm.
102. Detail of covering of iron ring (diameter 1/4"), with concrete mortar to make the column rigid.

                                                                                                                            30

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
RAMMED EARTH

      After being excavated, the soil is thoroughly sieved, to break the lumps and make it lighter. Big rocks should be removed
       but some stones could be kept. If the natural soil is too dry, it should moistened and mixed so as to get a uniform humid
       mix.
      This method has developed from the cob wall so as to standardize or regularize the thickness of the wall.
      It is also an attempt to increase the strength of the wall by ramming it.
      Two parallel planks are held firmly apart by metal rods and clips or bolts, or by small crosspieces of wood.
      Stiff mud is thrown in between these two planks and rammed down with either a wooden or metal ramrod.
      When one section is completed and hard, the two boards are moved along and the process is repeated.
      The two planks are then raised up and a second course of rammed earth is repeated over the first.
      Two techniques have traditionally been developed. They used either horizontal or vertical formworks.
      The horizontal technique was used in many parts of the world. Strips of walls were built horizontally and their height
       varied from 30 to 90 cm.
      The formwork consisted of 2 wooden panels held together with wooden clamps and keys, which were tightened with
       ropes. Once one portion of a wall was completed, the formwork is immediately dismantled and moved further along.
      Humid soil was evenly poured into the formwork to get a regular course of about 12-15 cm thickness. Ramming was
       traditionally done by hand.
      The soil is first rammed along the sides of the panels and the central portion of the wall is rammed immediately after
       that.
      Every course is rammed till the rammer hitting the soil gives a clear sharp sound and the rammer is not doing anymore
       marks on the course.
      Unstabilised soil is concentrated horizontally, and alignment is from layer to layer of wall.
      Stabilized soil is concentrated vertically, and alignment is between forms.
      Openings for doors and windows within the wall are created with block outs.
      Corners are made stronger if created as one piece as opposed to solely having a joint between two.
      The specific construction of rammed earth consists of “lifts” or layers of earth poured into formwork at a depth of eight
       inches and then compacted to five inches. This creates a striated earthen wall.
      After the wall completely goes up and is cured (twenty eight to fifty-six day period) any fixtures may be added. The roof
       is tied into the wall, and window and doorframes are added. Fixings are buried deep within the wall to retain structural
       integrity. In addition, utilities and systems, determined before construction, may pass within the wall to a certain degree.
       The final part of the construction process is to apply a wall finish, if desired or required.




103.                                            104.                                                 105.




106.                                            107.                                                 108.
103. Boards and anchors for formwork
104. Spacers for connection of boards
105. Connected formwork
106. Manual compaction of mix between the boards
107. Anchoring the frames of doors with the ground and cross bracing them
108. Ramming first floor wall on top of a door                                                                                 31

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
     The approximate proportion of subsoil is thirty percent clay/silt to seventy percent sand/gravel. Water has a direct impact on
      the strength of finished walls, and depending on the soil mix, is eight to sixteen percent of the mix.
     An optional stabilizer may be added – four to twelve percent depending on conditions such as bonding strength of the clay,
      seismic activity, desired construction process, or desired wall proportions.
     Stabilizers include cement, lime, or pozzolan added to the mix.
     There are numerous field and laboratory tests to be run at all stages of the material gathering process, each to determine the
      specific mix peculiar to the site. These include density, compressive strength, bond strength, and erosion and wear resistance
      tests.
     Soil stabilization gave a great input to rammed earth as well as mechanization.
     The traditional wooden rammer has been replaced by pneumatic rammers.
     Heavy wooden formworks evolved into light composite ones, made of plywood, wood and steel or sometimes aluminium.
     Pneumatic rammers, dumpy loaders, mixers, ban conveyors, etc. allowed to build faster and get a better quality finish.
     Structures are most of the time built with pier walls, meaning that walls are built up to their full height at once. This way of
      building changed totally the design pattern of structures.




    109.                                                             110.
       Moist Earth-Mixture of sand,
                                       Reinforced                                       Visible layers of
       cement, gravel and clay
                                       plywood frame          Rammer                    compacted earth




    111.
    109. USA, California, David Easton – Vertical form
    110. Ramming with electrical rammer
    111. Compaction process
                                                                                                                                  32

    EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
Innovations in earth construction

 “CONTEXT- The necessity for speed was one of the big factors that contribute to that break with tradition. It probably took a
 thousand years for us to find out by trial and error how to make a mud wall impervious to rain and wind, another thousand
 years to learn how to keep termites out of it, and another two or three thousand to learn how to build multi-storied mud
 buildings.”

 -Laurie Baker (life, work and writings), Page 19


 “On the one hand, raw earth is still used … as basic shelter on a massive scale by hundreds of millions of people throughout
 the world. On the other hand, a new generation of architects and engineers, fascinated by the qualities of this highly ecological
 resource, is finally rediscovering and reasserting its value, modernising its technology and adapting raw earth construction to
 a broad range of modern applications:...” (2002:9).

 -The series of articles by Detheir and Eaton appeared in the September 2003 issue of ByggKunst



         This chapter mainly tells about the problems associated with earth architecture and is divided into four parts according
          to the various stages of a building process:

         1.        Designing
         2.        Construction
         3.        Maintenance
         4.        Demolition/reuse

         Now, there are innovations, detailing and some necessary precautions that can overcome those problems, limitations
          and make earth construction as a viable system for building.

         Primary case studies include buildings seen and measure drawn (the required details) in Kutch and Auroville.
         According to the problems identified through the questionnaire and secondary case studies, there are solutions that are
          mentioned in the charts through primary case studies.




                                                                                                                               33

EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES


Problem         Solution

Management of   • When building with earth, one should pay a lot of attention of the management of resources
earth     raw     and raw materials. Topsoil should be scraped away, so as to be re-used for agriculture or
materials and     gardens. Sieve the soil preferably in the quarry: the waste soil can be re-used on the spot to
mixing is a       finalize the landscaping.
complex         • One should always plan how the excavation would be used afterward. Design the quarry (area
process.          and depth) according to the future use of the hole. Dig according to the design requirements:
                  steps or slope, deep holes or shallow excavation, etc.
                • A proper management of the earth resources can create a new and harmonious balance
                  between nature and the buildings.
                • Auroville shows various possibilities for the use of quarries: as water harvesting ponds, waste
                  water treatment ponds, pools, basement floors or shallow Biological wastewater treatment
                  depressions which are used for landscape design, work or play areas, gardens, etc.
                • Various stages of making blocks from raw materials

                   o   Sieving
                   o   Measuring
                   o   Dry mixing
                   o   Humid mixing
                   o   Moulding
                   o   Initial curing
                   o   First stacking
                   o   Final curing
                   o   Final stacking
Related drawings




                                                                                    1.




2                                             3
.                                             .




4                                             5.
.




6.                                            7.
1.   Process of formation of blocks/earth mix from raw materials for construction
2.   Covered clay mixing area
3.   Segregation of various raw materials through partitions
4.   Quarry transformed into a wastewater treatment
5.   Shallow excavation for making adobes
6.   Quarry planned for a wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting
7.   Waste water treatment area

                                                                                         34
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem                  Solution

The        traditional   • The contemporary stick-frame construction cut costs and reduces raw material usage
wattle and daub            through the efficient use of wood cut into standardized sizes and designed geometrical
approach does not          patterns with infill of earth mix.
have safeguards to       • The timber framework is braced for lateral-stability.This also leads to a wall which is
ensure that the wall       structurally sound and plumb is maintained.
is plumb and this can
result in structural
weaknesses                Refer Appendix 5 (case study 9)
especially when the
technique           is
translated to larger
buildings.




Penetration of water     Thatched-earth tile roof
from the roofs that      • The roof frame must be built strong enough to support the weight. The best earth tiles are
caused          water      made with stabilized soil
problems from the        • Also, wooden strips or metal rods (called stringers) must be placed in the roof at close
roof     on    inside      enough intervals so that each tile rests on two stringers, either directly or indirectly.
spaces.                  • Tiles are often made with a lip or groove near the upper edge so that they will be
                           positioned securely on the stringers.
                         • Earth tile have also been used for roofs. They can be pressed in a block making machine
                           by using fillers.
                         • They can also be of sun-dried adobe but in either case it is best to stabilize the earth. The
                           tiles are placed on a wooden frame.
                         • The tiles should be 1 1½" to 2" thick and about 1' long.
                         • Good sun-dried tiles are made with a thatch (or grass) "tail."
                         • The thatch tail helps prevent rain from eroding the block, and provides insulation for the
                           inside of the house.


                         Refer Appendix 5 (case study 7)
Related drawings




9.




                                                      10.




11.

 8. Wattle and daub on top of wall made of CSEB units.
 9. Connection of truss with the wattle and daub timber frame.
10. Roof wall assembly
11. Hunnarshala, Bhuj(wattle and daub)                           8.




12.                                                      13.



 12. Hunnarshala, Bhuj(thatch roof)
 13. Thatch roof supported on a steel
     truss and CSEB walls
 14. Connection of roof tiles with the
     wooden strips(stringers)


                                               14.

                                                                      35
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem                 Solution

Flat slabs are not      •   CEB blocks were used to make vaults on top of CSEB walls and supported on concrete
possible and so multi       beams and a flat layer of kadappa stone was laid on top of the vaults leaving the side
storey's cannot be          space on top of the dome hollow.
made.                   •   Earth was used, from the first developments of Vikas, in all parts of the buildings, from
                            foundations to roof.
                        •   Including the basement, it is a four storey building.
Formation of lintels
by earth blocks
                        •   Project Details – Vikas Apartments, Auroville
                        •   Architect: Satprem Maini
                        •   Period of construction: 1992-1999
                        •   Project Description: 23 residential apartments housing and common facilities.
                        •   Building Type: Residential
                        •   Climate: Warm and Humid
                        •   Built in area: 1420 m2
                        •   Owners/clients: Collective of clients
                        •   Building Technologies: Earth and ferrocement
                        •   Vikas apartment are built with stabilized rammed earth foundation (with five percent
                            cement)
                        •   CEB (compressed earth blocks) with five percent cement for walls vaults and domes.
                        •   Some walls have been made using rammed earth with five percent cement
                        •   The soil for building has been extracted from the waste water treatment pond and the
                            garden tank.
                        •   while in the third apartment building with a basement floor, the excavated soil is used
                            for building.
                        •   Ferrocement roof channels have been used for some floors while doors and shelves are
                            of ferrocement.
                        •   Concrete, glass, steel, etc. have been sparingly used.
Related drawings




  15.




  16.




                             19..


                   15. Vault and flat slab of kadappa stone with CEB
                        tiles as flooring
                   16. Vikas apartment, Auroville(vault supporting flat
                        slabs)
                   17. Vikas apartment, Auroville(3 storey's with
                       basement)
                   18. SEB as lintel on top of the door




  18.

                                                                      36
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem                 Solution

Flat slabs are not      Hourdi roofing used in auroville earth institute to create flat earth slabs.
possible and so multi
storey's cannot be      •   The hourdi block produced by the Auram press 3000 is used to create floors and roofs.
made.                   •   These blocks rest either on reinforced concrete T beams or on ferrocement channels.
                        •   As these blocks are hollow they create roofs which are more comfortable under a hot
                            climate.
                        •   The resistance of these blocks is extremely high.
                        •   The series of these blocks is rested on the edges of ferrocement channels and then earth
                            filling is done to make even surface on top surface which combines the channels with the
                            blocks.

                        Refer appendix 4(Cseb – hourdi roofing)
Related drawings




20.                                                       21.




22.




                                                          23.

 20.   Adjusting hourdi blocks in between ferrocement channels
 21.   Casting an earth concrete: 1 cement: 2 soil: 3 sand: 4 gravel
 22.   Auroville earth institute, hourdi roofing
 23.   Vault structure on top of hourdi roofing




                                                                       37
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem            Solution

Aesthetics   and   pottery for insulation and aesthetics
insulation
                   • Pottery is a developed craft of kutch. To use clay items for construction was to find new
                     ways of building methods.
                   • The clay plates and bowls are used for wall and roof insulation and pots as visual objects
                     for design.
                   • The local convex circular clay plates are claded on the external wall for insulation.
                   • Small holes are made in plates for ventilation and arranged in different designs and
                     patterns.
                   • The triangular spaces between them are filled with small mirrors for the reflection of heat.
                     Thus, the entire surface of wall is taken care of heat insulation.
                   • This wall cladding and insulation work proceeds fast as the surface coverage of each plate
                     is about 25cm diameter.
                   • Since it is a local material the cost of plate is low and the total item costs much less than
                     conventional cladding methods.
                   • At the same time, it provides work for the potter who has to make about 5000 plates for
                     one house.

                   • Clay tiles are also used in auroville and Bangalore inside the houses for improving the
                     inner climate through use of clay pots and clay tiles in ceilings.

                   • Inverted bowls used for ceiling pattern. They also act as lamp fixtures lighting up the
                     entire ceiling
Related drawings




                                                                                   25.




  24.

                                                            26.




                                                                    28.




  27.


  24. Clay plates fixed on walls for insulation and the in- between spaces   29.
      filled with mirrors for reflecting heat
  25. Clay bowls can also be used for wall insulation
  26. Clay bowls as cladding for insulation, Kutch
  27. Filler slabs( Mangalore tiles, Stabilized mud blocks) details
  28. Mangalore tiled ceiling, Bangalore
  29. Tiled ceiling for vault, Auroville


                                                                                         38
Related drawings




                                                                            31.




                                                                            32.




                                                                            33.
30.




                                                                            35.




 34.



 30. Inverted bowls used for ceiling pattern. They also act as lamp fixtures
     lighting up the entire ceiling(wall section and view)
 31. Use of inverted bowls, Auroville (creativity apartment)
 32. Use of clay bowls with all fixtures for the ceiling , Auroville(creativity)
 33. Use of clay bowls(whole inside), Bangalore
 34. Inverted clay pots used in curvilinear ceiling
 35. Inner view of the house
 36. Inner view of the house                                                       36.

                                                                                         39
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem               Solution

Wood        doesn‟t   There is an alternative where pivoted windows are used where there is no need of wooden
adhere with the       frames and so the windows are directly attached by pivots to the two sides of the walls.
earth walls and
mostly create gaps
between the wall
and the frame of
the window.




Flat Earth flooring   Rammed earth houses can be built in one of three basic ways. Individual, rammed earth bricks
                      can be formed and used with standard building techniques; in fact, such bricks may be used to
                      form the floors in a rammed earth house built with other techniques.

                      Oxide flooring is used now adays by which various colored flooring can be produced from
                      earth techniques.

                      Rammed earth flooring with covering of wooden blocks and strips are also a good solution to
                      achieve flat floors from earth.



Possibilities    of   CSEB walls and the introduction of stabilized walls for rammed earth has given more easy
large and various     ways of making large openings of various shapes and sizes.
types of openings.
                      Some of the examples as seen in kutch region are given in the drawing part.
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES




37.


                        38.




                          40.
39.




                                42.
 41.




                                      37. Sketches by Laurie baker
                                          showing window type
                                      38. Pivoted window(Hunnarshala,
                                          Bhuj)
                                      39. Oxide flooring (Hunnarshala,
                                          Bhuj)
                                      40. Some supporting sketches from
                                          book building with earth
                                          showing rammed floorings
                                      41. Window type(Hiralaxmi craft
                                          park, Bhujodi)
                                      42. Window type(Hunnarshala,
                                          Bhuj)
                                      43. Various window types shown
                                          through sketches and
                                          pictures(Hunnarshala, Bhuj)
  43.
                                                                      40
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem                        Solution

Formation of organic shapes    Cob is the technique that gives opportunity to form organic shapes.
and single roofed buildings.   Now adays there are formwork for curved walls too and so the possibilities of shapes
                               is more.

                               The plasticity of loam allows not only for the building of exterior walls, ceilings and
                               floors but also of built-in furniture.
                               For this, loam elements when still wet are particularly suitable as they can be given a
                               great variety of shapes; they also open up new aesthetic possibilities.
Related drawings




 44                45.                                      46.




 47.
                   44-46. Auromodele houses showing
                       some designs that can be done in
                       earth.
                   47. Some sketches from book
                       „architecture of Kutch‟ showing
                       curvilinear designs developed
                       from traditional bhungas
                                                      48.
                   48. Shaam-e-sarhad resort(hodka,
                       banni) showing curvilinear
                       shaped sitiing area
                   49. Shaa-e-sarhad (hodko, banni)
                       showing single roofed spaces
                   50. Chintan organic farm(bhujodi)
                       showing single roof made of
                       thatch with spaces segregated by
                       walls.
                                                     49.

 50.




                                                                  41
PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

Problem                      Solution

Vaults and domes of earth    Nubian vaults
masonry     requires skill   With the Nubian vault technique, used for centuries in Upper Egypt, vaults can be
labour .                     built without any formwork by using reclining arches made of adobe.

                             Refer appendix 5 (case study of Delhi office)

                             After studying examples from Hassan Fathy and Nadir Khali, Ray Meeker moved
                             to Pondicherry India. Using local materials of mud bricks, Meeker constructed a
                             house by forming a central dome surrounded by four Nubian vaults. To harden the
                             mud, Meeker turned the house into a kiln and fired the interior for four and a half
                             days. To offset labour costs, clay pots, tiles and extra bricks were also fired in the
                             structure to be sold. The term Agni Jata is used for this process; it means „fire
                             burned‟.


                             In order to avoid the disadvantages of Nubian dome technology, a new technique
                             for making domes using a rotational guide was developed at the BRL. With this
                             technique, the structurally optimal geometry of the dome can be achieved without
                             formwork.

                             The rotational guide has a right-angled head into which the blocks are placed. This
                             angle can be moved on a curved metal T-section bent to shape. This T-section is
                             fixed to a rotating arm, which is in turn fixed to a vertical post.

                             The figures are shown in the next page.
Related drawings




                                     52.




                                           54.




                                           55.




                   56.

                   52. Firing the raw mud bricks and creating the
                       building itself as kiln
                   53. Plastered and completed house
                   54. Vault created by Nubian vault process
                   55. Foundation and plinth layer completed
                   56. The four stages showing process of creating a
                       vault without formwork derived from Nubian
   53.                 technique.

                                                                       42
BUILDING PROCESS - designing

Problem                         Solution

To        choose        earth       Factors to be seen before choosing earth as a construction material
construction for the project.
                                    • Availability of raw materials- in the proximity of 20 kms is considered viable
                                    • Climate-mostly everywhere on each an every continent except Antarctica
                                      because of unavailability of raw materials.
                                    • Local labour- training minimum of 12 to 15 people is must for good earth
                                      construction.
                                    • Getting knowledge about the material thoroughly through books and resource
                                      people.

To design appropriate earth     Factors to be kept in mind while designing earth building that can overcome the
building.                       surface and structural defects:
Some of the problems are
listed below:                   •   Wall thickness
Surface defects include         •   Spanning members
(cracks; flakes; blistering;    •   Which technique to be used for construction
 peeling; loss of adhesion;     •   Number of storey's
and boniness.)                  •   Corner junctions
                                •   Joineries and detailing to avoid water and termite penetration
Maintenance & Repairs           •   Water is a major agent of decay for earth walls. Therefore, codes and other
                                    publications generally recommend not placing plumbing within earthen features
Structural defects include
 water borne erosion of wall;
 freeze-thaw heave of wall;
 low level erosion at base of
wall;
 structural cracking
(settlement, overload);
 bulging;
 abrasion damage; and
 rat runs and animal holes.

- Pearson, 1992

To convince the client for      •     By showing the possible options and benefits of earth construction and some
earth                                 good examples of already made earth buildings.
Construction.                   •     By showing the detailing that are done to overcome the issues related to water
Finalization of design with           and insects, shrinkage cracks and stating the technique that is to be used.
the client                      •     Showing the benefits related to climate and indoor temperature by using earth
                                      walls for building.
                                •     Material aesthetic benefits and also showing examples of buildings already
                                      constructed out of earth.
Related drawings




                   1.  Ring beam is lacking.
                   2.  Lintels do not reach deeply
                       enough into masonry.
                   3. The distance between door and
                       window is too small.
                   4. The distance between openings
                       and wall corner is too small.
                   5. Plinth is lacking.
                   6. The window is too wide in
                       proportion to its height.
                   7. The wall is too thin in relation to
                       its height.
                   8. The quality of the mortar is too
                       poor, the vertical joints are not
                       totally filled, the horizontal joints
                       are too thick (more than 15 mm).
                   9. The roof is too heavy.
                   10. The roof is not sufficiently fixed
                       to the wall.




                                                               43
BUILDING PROCESS - designing

Problem                         Solution

Less     durable as     a       • It is mostly because of the less thought given to the construction details at the
construction     material         initial stages of the design process.
compared to conventional        • The joint of the wall with the plinth has to be carefully designed so that the
materials.                        rainwater can flow down unhindered without entering the joint between wall and
                                  plinth.
Water problems
Termite      and      rodents
penetrating the walls
Roof connections with the
wall base




                                Protection from rain
                                • One method of preventing rain from coming into contact with a loam wall is to
                                  provide it with a roof overhang.
                                • A sufficiently high plinth (30 to 50 cm) can protect from splashing rain.
                                • Solutions B and C may be acceptable in areas with little rain.
                                • Solution D is common, whereas E and F show perfect designs for combating this
                                  problem.




solution A is unacceptable
because the extruded part
of the plinth wont allow
water to flow and will be
collected there causing
swelling and peeling of
the plaster and wall.


                                 • In B, an elastic sealant has been introduced between the beam and wall in order
                                   to provide sufficient tolerance for this shrinkage.

                                 • In C, the structural system is separated from the wall, thereby allowing a greater
                                   vertical movement of the timber structure.




 Roof rafters should not rest
 directly on the earth wall,
 but instead on timber wall
 plates or beams as seen in
 A
Related drawings




                   44
BUILDING PROCESS – designing

Problem                           Solution

Loam is not a standardised        • Depending on the site where the loam is dug out, it will be composed of differing
building material                   amounts and types of clay, silt, sand and aggregates.
                                  • Its characteristics, therefore, may differ from site to site, and the preparation
                                  • of the correct mix for a specific application may also differ.
                                  • In order to judge its characteristics and alter these, when necessary, by applying
                                    additives, one needs to know the specific composition of the loam involved.




Professionals make less           • If the earth construction techniques and construction become widespread , all the
money from earth building           prejudices and hesitations for its use as a construction material get removed
projects.                           gradually by proper training sessions and classes then it will lead to improvement
                                    in the construction industry in developing countries and indirectly to the
                                    professionals in money matters.




• The traditional hut is          • Now adays various techniques have developed which can produce good spanning
  limited to a single round         members and structural members and so it becomes easy to cater various facilities
  or square room of about           in a single roof with inner divisions of spaces by walls.
  3m diameter with conical        • Various shapes are possible other than those round huts with thatch roofs with the
  roof.                             innovation of loam walls and prefabricated panels of loam.
• This limited size and
  shape means a single hut
  usually               cannot
  accommodate           several
  functions under one roof.
  Traditionally      therefore,
  several huts are required
  to cater for the diverse
  requirements in a Single
  home.
• With      the     traditional
  approach to building, all
  rooms (such as kitchen,
  sitting,         bathrooms,
  bedrooms etc) cannot be
  contained under the same
  roof.
• This results in functional
  inconveniences which is
  one cause of the social
  undesirability             of
  traditional buildings.
• Refer appendix, part 3 for
  drawings



                                                                                                                    45
BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe)

Problem                        Solution
Load bearing floor slabs are   • Loam elements which act as infill between floor joints also provide sound and
not possible.                    thermal insulation.
                               • In Hungary in 1987, Gernot Minke developed load-bearing infill elements with
                                 cement-stabilised lightweight loam. various designs for load-bearing floor panels
                                 were developed at that time.
                               • various designs for vaulted loam floors. Designs E, F, G, H are load bearing and
                                 use heavy elements made of earth.
                               • A, B and C use earthen blocks, which transfer slab loads to the beams by vault-
                                 action under compression.
                               • Design D shows a non-load bearing loam vault made by pouring lightweight loam
                                 over a curved reed mat.
                               • When making loam-covered flat roofs, it should be kept in mind that roof edges
                                 are susceptible to mechanical damage, especially by wind and water erosion. This
                                 can be prevented by solutions of the type shown in
                               • I,, j, k, l. If the surface of the roof is to be walked upon, then tiles are
                                 recommended as shown in l.
Related drawings


                                                         A          E


                                                                    F
                                                         B


                                                         C
                                                                    G

                                                         D
                                                                    H




                   56. Mould for infill block and the created
                   block




                             I
                                                                K




                                                                L
                              J




                                                                        46
BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe)

Problem                        Solution

Fixing fasteners to walls      • Nails can be driven into an earth block walls more easily than into those
leads to cracking of the         constructed of baked bricks.
blocks.                        • The more porous and humid the material, the easier one can drive a nail through it.
                                 Green bricks tend to split more easily than soil blocks and adobes.
                               • If very thick nails are used, it is advisable to drill a hole into the block.
                               • Heavy shelves or wall hung cabinets can be fixed to the wall easily using screws
                                 and dowels. Dowel holes, however, should be drilled large enough to
                               • prevent blocks from cracking.




With monolithic rammed         • Different sections for larger wall panels made of lightweight mineral loam, are
earth walls, or even with        developed now adays.
small-sized adobe masonry,
manpower is high and           • These can be used either in internal walls, or to increase the thermal insulation of
drying time can delay            exterior walls from the outside. Cavities reduce weight and increase thermal
construction work due to the     insulation, while simultaneously providing grip holds for easy handling.
inherent water.
                               • Similar elements that can be used for making vaults.
Related drawings




                   57. Interior wall of pre fabricated loam
                   blocks




                                                              47
BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe)

Problem                         Solution


Due to mechanical impacts,      As loam plaster is susceptible to mechanical impact, corners should preferably be
corners often                   covered by wooden profiles, baked bricks or similar lippings.
break during the handling of
mud bricks.The corners of
the walls get spoiled and
deteriorated.




Surface treatment for adobe     • If sufficiently moistened with a tool like a felt trowel, exposed earth block masonry
walls                             with uneven surfaces or joints can be easily smoothened. Plastering is not
Protection against rising         advisable, since it interferes with the capacity of loam walls to balance internal air
damp                              humidity .
• Exterior loam walls have      • However, exposed earth block masonry can, if not aesthetically acceptable, be
  to be protected from rising     given a wash of loam slurry stabilised with, for example, lime, lime casein etc. This
  damp in the same way as         wash also impacts the wall‟s surface stability .
  baked brick or stone
  masonry walls.
• A damp-proof course, a 3
  to 4-cm-thick rich cement
  concrete layer is often
  used as an alternative.
• This       should        be
  impregnated with bitumen
  or waste Mobil oil.
Related drawings




                                                    Bricks


                                                 Mud bricks


                                             Timber sections

                                                 Earth wall




  58. Wall plastered with lime, casein and
  loam




                                                               48
BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe)

Problem                        Solution

Shrinkage is a problem         •   Prefabricated tiles made with stabilised earth can be used for flooring. One
associated    with     earth       advantage is that since they are already dry, shrinkage only occurs in joints.
materials when they dry.
                               •   Extruded green loam slabs consisting of a loam with high clay Content. They are
                                   extruded 3 to 10 cm thick, 50 cm wide and cut into lengths of up to 100 cm or
                                   more.




Mud seems to be the natural    •   A one-inch thick layer of mortar (one part of cement to 3-parts of sand) can be
home of termites so in areas       laid all over the top of the basement wall before building the mud walls above it.
where they are common the          This is helpful in keeping out both termites and damp.
same precautions have to be    •   Even better is to construct an apron of burnt brick or stone (or it can be rammed
taken as in all buildings to       earth) all round the building (to prevent damage to the walls by splashing, of rain
prevent their moving up into       water) and this too can be plastered over with a rich cement mortar.
the walls and eating wooden    •   Any thin sheet metal may be laid over the basement wall with a 3-inch downward
frames etc.                        projection before starting to build the superstructure mud wall above. This is
                                   expensive but very effective.
                               •   There are various chemicals on the market, which can be used.
Related drawings




59. Extruded loam slabs, Germany




                                   Rich cement mortar




                                                        49
BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(wattle and daub)

Problem                         Solution

From a technical viewpoint,     • The minimum width of the foundations will be 40cm.It is advisable to use a ratio
it is clear the traditional       1.5 times the width of the wall. The minimum height of the base between ground
wattle-and-daub           has     and the wall base will be 20cm.
problems that reduce its
durability to about 30 years.

One of the main problems is
lack of a waterproof base
such that the wooden poles
and earth are in direct
contact with the ground
thereby getting exposed to
moisture and termite attack.

the wall absorbs humidity
when it rains and the daub is
washed off from the wattle.




Flooding occurs if the level    • In kitchens and bathrooms, the plinth should have a waterproof skirting of tiles,
of the inside floor is lower      slates, rich cement plaster etc.
than outside. If the above      • The skirting design should prevent water from leaking or broken pipes, which
occurs the wall will be           could flood floors, from reaching the loam wall.
weakened and will easily
collapse in the event of any
natural disaster.
Related Drawings
Problem                        Solution

                                                      Wood
                                                      column


                                    Outside           inside
                       rain          2%
                                                                          Foundations: column embedded in
                                                                          the concrete.
inside               outside
                                                         3" nails for
                                                         adherence




                                      inside       Outside
 Absorption of humidity
                                                         2%
                                                                        Foundation continued till the base of
                                                                        the wall extending from the ground
                                                                        level




                                      Outside           inside
                                          2%




outside               inside                                                Wall base with concrete blocks
                                                                            (39x19x14cm) or similar material
                                                                            and concrete filling.




                                                   wooden support


                                          inside    Outside
          Flooding
                                                      2%




                                                                          Foundation with wooden column
                                                        3/8"              fixed to the concrete wall base.
                                                        iron
                                                        anchor

                                                                                                                50
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Thesis on earth architecture

  • 1. EARTH ARCHITECTURE Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 2. Approval Undergraduate Research Thesis Vyavasayi Vidya Pratisthan’s Indubhai Parekh School of Architecture Rajkot, India The following study is hereby approved as creditable work on the approved subject, carried out and presented in a manner sufficiently satisfactory to warrant its acceptance as a prerequisite to the degree for which it has been submitted. It is understood that by this approval, the undersigned does not necessarily endorse or approve of any statement made, opinion expressed or conclusion drawn there in, and approves the study only for the above purpose, and satisfies him as to the requirements laid down by the thesis committee. Thesis Title: EARTH ARCHITECTURE Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario Name: Bhavi Vador Guide: Vishwanath Kashikar Roll No: 3805 Signature: Date:
  • 3. The dissertation is dedicated to my parents and to every individual who inspired me, guided me and helped me in my endeavours.
  • 4. Acknowledgement Inspirations and critique makes individual to do better. Ultimately, an individual grows through such individuals. I would to acknowledge a number of individuals who have played a pivotal role in the actualisation of this thesis. Firstly, i would like to thank my parents and whole family for supporting me throughout my life till now, they have given me this wonderful life by supporting me and making me an individual to stand out and face every difficulty that comes along the way of progress. I am very much thankful to my guide - Vishwanath Kashikar for guiding me, providing me sufficient and timely discussions and valuable inputs and broadening my concepts and ideas about earth architecture. All my people who helped me in one way or the other, who questioned, criticised and discussed factors related to the topic and thereby create a formwork for the dissertation. I would like to acknowledge not only those who directly contributed to this dissertation, but also those whose moral support and confidence in me, whose companionship and discussions I have always valued. Ar. Nirav Vador and Ar. Kartik Bijlani for being a guide throughout, Dr.Tejal Gajra, Dhaval Vador and Jill Vador for asking me thousand times ‘when will you complete your thesis?’ .Nikitasha Vador for accompanying to auroville and making the trip memorable and helping with the work there. Jimmy katira,Sweta Amin, Krishma Shah, Rutvik Agnihotri,Chandni Parekh,Tejas Bhatt,Pranav Meghani,Mitul Shah, Dhruvansh Hirani,Ronak patel,Ankit Mehta and Siddharth Chauhan for discussing the work, for being there in happy and low times and for being the best persons in my life. Anand Dave, Kanupriya Raniwala, Saumil Mewada, Bhaumik Modi, Pratik zaveri, Sridevi, Rosy for valuable inputs and discussions. Prabhulal Vora, Savita Vora, Pallavi aunty, Shailesh uncle, Parth Amin and the ‘shailvi’ home...for supporting and giving every facility to get a working environment. IPSA for being a wonderful platform for providing knowledge and all the faculties, students, administration people, maintenance people for sharing knowledge. IPSA library, CEPT library for providing with books and internet access. Prof Bakul Jani, Ar. Devang Parekh, Ar. Hitesh Changela, Mr. Kiran Vaghela, Ar. Satprem Maini, Ar. Dharmesh Jadeja for their valuable inputs and discussions related to the topic. I was able to proceed in my topic because of the valuable time given by the Architects, engineers, labourers and contractors with whom i had discussions related to my questionnaire. Thanks to owners of earth buildings in auroville and Kutch who co-ordinated well and helped to study and measure draw their respective buildings. To batch 2005-this consists of all my friends who have experienced architecture academics with me, sharing all their fun and knowledge and for being together in a new city away from the family. I would also like to thank all those who in some way or the other helped me in every stage of my life till now and finally to the person who is reading this and (hopefully going to read) further. I hope the study become useful and serve the purpose for which it is been read.
  • 5. Contents PREFACE 1 1. INTRODUCTION 2-7 1.1 Aim/objectives 1.2 Methodology 1.3 Necessity of research on earth construction 1.4 Scope and limitations 2. EARTH CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES 8-22 2.1 Earth architecture of world 2.2 Earth as a building material 2.3 Traditional earth construction techniques 2.4 Contemporary earth construction techniques (illustrated with figures) 23-32 2.4(a) Cob 2.4(b) Adobe 2.4(c) compressed stabilised earth blocks 2.4(d) Wattle and daub 2.4(e) Rammed earth 3. INNOVATIONS IN EARTH CONSTRUCTION 33-62 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Analytical charts showing solutions through: 3.2(a) Primary case studies 3.2(b) Designing 3.3(c) Construction 3.4(d) Maintenance 3.5(e) Demolition/Reuse
  • 6. 4. CONCLUSIONS 63-64 APPENDIX 65-118 1. Interviews and discussions with subject experts 65-70 2. Analysis of soil type 71-72 3. Traditional construction drawings 73-75 4. CSEB and stabilized rammed earth 76-93 5. Built examples 94-118 Afterword-the future 119 Glossary 120 Image credits 121 Bibliography 122
  • 7. Preface Currently it is estimated that one half of the world's population, approximately three billion people on six continents live or work in buildings constructed of earth. It is evaluated that about 1.7 billion people of the world‟s population live in earthen houses: About 50 % of the population in developing countries, and at least 20% of urban and suburban populations. And while the vast legacy of traditional and vernacular earthen construction has been widely discussed, little attention has been paid to the contemporary tradition of earth architecture. - Ronal Rael-Earth Architecture This paper is focusing particularly on the innovations done in last few years in the field of earth construction that can lead to its better use as a building material. This thesis deals with earth as a building material, and provides a survey of all of its applications and construction techniques while explaining its specific qualities and the possibilities of optimising them. It provides the new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet. Many assume that it's only used for housing in poor rural areas—but there are examples of bungalows, offices, apartments and institutions that are made of earth. It's also assumed that earth is a fragile, ephemeral material, while in reality some of the oldest extant buildings on the planet are made of earth. Earth buildings are often thought of as pre-modern or backward. With help of discussions with the subject experts, drawings and images, this paper showcases the beauty and simplicity of one of humankind's most evolved and sophisticated building technologies. Mud (wet, soft earth) is a natural material which after exploration can be used just the way other contemporary materials are used. A person, who started using glass, would not have made a skyscraper at first go. After years of experiments designers and engineers might have used it as skin for skyscrapers. If there are advantages about a certain material then there are limitations and disadvantages too, that can be solved by studies, experiments and application of that material in different ways. Just because mud was used traditionally doesn‘t mean it cannot be used today in contemporary architecture, it has risen from those mud toys to mud huts and now to institutions, bungalows and multi-storeys. Mud is no more a material known for construction of ‗kuccha‘ houses .While shrinkage, erosion and mechanical damage can affect earth construction like any other building material, preventative measures can be taken for innovating the material itself rather than constructing with high cost, imported materials. Appendix 1 is the basis of development of this paper. The introductory chapter provides with a short survey on the history of earth architecture. In other following chapters it describes the contemporary and future roles of earth as a building material, and lists all of the significant characteristics that distinguish earth from common industrialised building materials. The thesis final appendices titled ‗built examples‘ are earth buildings from various regions of the world. These constructions demonstrate the impressive versatility of earth architecture and the many different uses of the building material earth. 1 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 8. Introduction “Here, for years, for centuries, the peasant had wisely and quietly exploited the obvious building material, while we, with our modern school-learned ideas, never dreamed of using such a ludicrous substance as mud for so serious a creation as a house. But why not? Certainly, the peasant‟s houses might be cramped, dark, dirty, and inconvenient, but this is no fault of the mud brick. There was nothing that could not be put right by good design and a broom.” -Hassan Fathy (1973: 4) AIM  The aim is to study the traditional earth construction techniques and earth construction techniques of contemporary architecture, stating problems with the techniques as why they make earth architecture undesirable for present client and stating solutions from the case studies of contemporary earth buildings that show innovations made in traditional techniques and show potentials and possibilities of earth construction so that the present man desires it just like other contemporary architectural styles and materials. OBJECTIVES  To understand ideology of earth materials.  To study the various earth construction techniques.  To analyse the contemporary earth architecture in respect to its construction.  To review the possible innovative earth construction methods and study the minor details that can help improve its use.  To review the appropriateness of the earth as building material in present scenario. METHODOLOGY  Understanding traditional earth construction techniques(internet, books, people)  Gathering secondary data(internet, books, previous thesis done by others)  Preparing research questionnaire  Conducting interviews with the experts(architects, contractors/engineers, skilled labourers) of the subject  Identifying problems with the designing, methods, construction techniques and maintenance related to earth architecture through those interviews and related case studies.  Doing case studies to understand the contemporary explorations and innovations to overcome those problems and show potentials of earth architecture.  Compilation of data, chapter writing and deriving conclusions 2 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 9. NECESSITY OF RESEARCH ON EARTH CONSTRUCTION  To get knowledge about the material and promote earth construction  To create awareness about earth construction  To learn the potentials of earth building process (designing, construction, maintenance, demolition/ re-use) SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS Chart 1 There are various aspects of earth architecture, but the focus in this thesis is to study the earth construction and innovations in it, to study the problems that earth as a building material has and find the solutions through the recent innovations in the material and its applications. 3 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 10. Earth construction techniques “Our modern, advanced scientific minds should know how to assess the merits and demerits of historic and factual evidence of the way people who have lived in a particular setting and climate, have coped with the problems which are still inevitably ours today. To brush aside all this demonstration and evidence as old-fashioned and therefore useless is extremely foolish. Having made our assessment we would show ourselves capable of adopting the lessons we have learned (negative or positive, they are of equal importance) to our current living habits and the currently available building materials at our disposal. Along with this we should remind ourselves that it is not „advancement‟ or „development‟ or „progress‟ to indulge in modern building materials and techniques at tremendous expenses and to no good effect when there is no justification or reason for their use, instead of older, simpler, inexpensive methods. ” - Laurie Baker (life, work and writings), page 23 EARTH ARCHITECTURE OF WORLD A MILLENNIA OLD TRADITION Down through the ages, people have been using raw earth for building their living spaces. Every single continent, and nearly every country, possesses a rich heritage of earthen buildings. From the roof of the world in Tibet, or the Andes Mountains in Peru, to the Nile‘s shore in Egypt or the fertile valleys of China, many are the examples of earth as a building material. Earth construction techniques have been known for over 9000 years. Mud brick (adobe) houses dating from 8000 to 6000 BC have been discovered in Russian Turkestan (Pumpelly, 1908). Rammed earth foundations dating from ca. 5000 BC have been discovered in Assyria. Earth was used as the building material in all ancient cultures, not only for homes, but for religious buildings as well. Vaults in the Temple of Ramses II at Gourna, Egypt, built from mud bricks 3200 years ago. The citadel of Bam in Iran, parts of which are ca. 2500 years old; a fortified city in the Draa valley in Morocco, which is around 250 years old. The 4000-year-old Great Wall of China was originally built solely of rammed earth; only a later covering of stones and bricks gave it the appearance of a stone wall. The core of the Sun Pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico, built between the 300 and 900 AD, consists of approximately 2 million tons of rammed earth. The world‘s oldest earthen building still standing is about 3,300 years old. In India, the oldest earthen building is Tabo Monastery, in Spiti valley –Himachal Pradesh. It was also built with adobe and has withstood Himalayan winters since 996 AD. 1. 1. Earth construction areas of the world 4 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 11. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 2. Ziggurat of Ur-in-Khaldea 3. Dejenne Mosque of Mali, Mopti 4. Tabo monastery, India 996 AD 5. Archaeological site of Mari Syria – Funded in 2800BC 6. Taos pueblo, New Mexico 7. Great Wall of China 5 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 12. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 8. A panoramic view for desert vernacular mud brick architecture in Dakhla oasis, Egypt. 9. Citadel of bam, Iran, before the earthquake 10. Ramasseum, Egypt ~ 1300 BC 11. Fortified city, Draa valley, Morocco 12. Bazaar, Sirdjan, Iran 6 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 13. EARTH AS A BUILDING MATERIAL  Earth comes from the disintegration of the parent rock. This rock disintegrates into mineral particles with varying dimensions ranging from pebbles to clayey dust. This ―organic‖ soil is reserved for agriculture. The other layers are used for In the upper layer these construction. particles are mixed with organic material from the decomposition of the living World. Active Organic material Inert Stones Gravel Sand Silt Clay Soil skeleton Binder Plasticity Cohesiveness Compatibility Chart 2 There are several different types of earth according to the quantities of the following components: GRAVELLY EARTH – SANDY EARTH – SILTY EARTH – CLAYEY EARTH 7 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 14. Note: These are some points for the overview of the material, more and detailed study of the material and its construction is provided in chapter three and in the appendix containing discussions with the experts, and through the case studies. The parts highlighted in the above chart are the main construction techniques used in contemporary earth construction and are studied in detail and explained in the next part of ‗contemporary earth construction techniques‘ TRADITIONAL EARTH TECHNIQUES 12 earth construction techniques Chart 3 8 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 15. EARTH DUG OUT  The earth is dug out to create shelters. In most of cases dwellings are dug out in soft soils, tuffs, porous lava in areas with hot and dry climate.  The horizontal dug out create caves on the side of the hills, which are accessed by staircases and galleries.  The vertical dug out are created in areas such as plateaus or plains. A kind of open courtyard is dug out a few meters deep and then room are dug out like caves on the side of this courtyard. Access to the dwelling is done by a staircase, often very steep.  Beautiful examples are found in China, in the provinces of Hunnan, Shanxi, and Gansu, where more than 10 million people live in homes dug out of the loess layer. In Tunisia too, one can find interesting achievements.  In Turkey, Cappadocia show exceptional creations where people combined vertical and horizontal dug out. 13. 14. 15. 16. 13. Tunisia, Matmata (Photo CRATerre EAG 14. China, Nxiang region – Han Jia Bao (Photo V. Dubourg 15. China, Nxiang region (Photo Chinese Society of Architecture) 16. China – Plan of dug out dwelling (Source unknown) 9 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 16. CUT EARTH  In areas where the soil was cohesive and contained concretions of carbonates (a natural chemical which give cohesion) the soil was cut in the shape of blocks and used like bricks or stones. Such examples are found typically in tropical areas where lateritic soils give a wonderful building material.  Lateritic soils can be found in two natural states: - Soft soils, which will harden when exposed to air due to chemical reaction of the soil constituent with the air. Such soils can be found on the west coast of India, from Kerala to Goa. - Hard crust which was long ago in soil form and has already hardened through the ages. Burkina Faso in Africa and Orissa in India show wonderful examples of such soils and blocks.  In areas where the soil is not cohesive enough, people have used topsoil and grass to create blocks which were stacked fresh upon each other. This method has been used a lot in England, where it has been named sod. . 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 17. Uruguay, Montevideo – Sod house (Photo H. Guillaud) 18. India, Panaji – Ex Palace, 16th C. 19. Burkina Faso, Quarry of Kari (Photo CRATerre/EAG) 20. India, Kerala, Near Soranad – Shaping a plinthite block 21. India, Orissa, Near Narangarh – Cutting petroplinthite by hand 22. India, Goa – Basilica Bom Jesus, end 16th century 10 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 17. FILLED IN (EARTH BAG CONSTRUCTION)  This method was developed from the bunkers made by the military.  The basic construction method began by digging a trench.  Rows of woven bags (or tubes) are filled with available inorganic material.  After the foundation is laid, each successive layer will have one or more strands of barbed wire placed on top.  The weight of this earth-filled bag pushes down on the barbed wire strands, locking the bag in place on the row below.  The most popular type of bag is made of woven polypropylene.  Organic natural materials such as hemp, other natural-fibre bags (like ―gunny sacks‖) can be used.  Humid soil was traditionally poured into wooden lattice works. Thus, it gave some thermal mass to light structures as well as some acoustic insulation. 23. 24. 25. 26. 23. USA, California, Cal-Earth – Eco-domes 24. Inside view from the dome 25. Exterior view without plaster 26. USA, California, Cal-Earth – Plastering the Eco-dome 11 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 18. COVERED EARTH  Soil has been traditionally used to cover roofs in different parts of the world. In arid climates, either very hot or very cold, it regulates the inside temperature, due to heavy thermal mass.  In Scandinavia, the earth to cover roofs was taken with grass, so as to hold the soil and give cohesion to it through their roots. This method also gave more thermal mass and allowed the inside temperature to be more even.  In Nordic countries but also in the Himalayas regions, waterproofing was done long ago with the bark of birch trees. The bark peeled from the tree was very thin and it was applied in several layers to get a waterproof effect.  Nowadays, waterproofing is done with PVC or bitumen sheets. Green roofs are today a modern development of the technique of covered earth. Green roofs, also known as vegetated roof covers or eco-roofs are multi-beneficial structural components that help to mitigate the effects of urbanization on water quality by filtering, absorbing or detaining rainfall. 27. 28. 29. 30. 27. Canada, Factory 28. German, House 29. Germany, School 30. Germany, House 12 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 19. TRADITIONAL RAMMED EARTH  Rammed earth, also known in French as pisé de Terre or simply pisé has been used since ages worldwide like many other earth techniques.  Rammed earth is an ancient earth building technique. It is really quite similar to adobe and cob techniques, in that the soil is mostly clay and sandy. The difference is that the material is compressed or tamped into place, usually with forms that create very flat vertical surfaces.  The earth is mixed thoroughly with water to get a homogeneous humid mix. This humid earth is poured in a form in thin layers and then rammed to increase its density. The increase of density increases the compressive strength and the water resistance.  Ramming was traditionally done by hand.  The worldwide tradition of rammed earth construction has shown that it is possible to achieve long lasting and majestic buildings from single to multi storey. Wonderful heritage can be found in countries such as France, Spain, Morocco, China, and all over the Himalayan area. One can see numerous and wonderful examples with all kinds of buildings:  Farms, or rural houses, chateaux and apartments in Europe  Entire villages in North Africa  Parts of the great wall of China  Buildings in most of the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Ladakh  Widespread examples in South America 31. 32. 33. 34. 31. Morocco – Horizontal rammed earth construction 32. Morocco – House 33. China, Fujian Province – Village / house of Hakka‟s clan 34. France, Dauphine – Château, 19th century 13 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 20. Soil identification  Knowing that the best soil for rammed earth is preferably sandy or gravely rather than clayey, one should take a lot of care about the clay content.  Worldwide, the skill and knowledge of people has led them to choose rammed earth when the soil was more sandy or gravely. When the local soil was more silty or clayey they chose other techniques like Adobe, Cob or Wattle and Daub. 35. 36. 37. 38. 35. India, Ladakh – Spituk Gompa 36. Morocco village 37. Traditional rammed earth 38. Rammed earth Building in Yaman 14 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 21. SHAPED EARTH  Direct shaping makes use of plastic earth and does not require a mould or formwork.  Plastic earth is shaped, as a potter would do it.  The quality of the soil, its preparation and the water consistency are important to be known.  This technique presents the advantage to use minimal and very simple tools, and to use a minimum of labour which is necessarily skilled. This technique allows very fluid architecture with a great variety.  The limitation of this technique is mostly the know-how for the soil quality and controlling the shrinkage when the wall dries.  This technique has been and is still used a lot in Africa, in the Sahel as well as in equatorial regions. Beautiful examples can be seen in Cameroon where shaped earth has been used for houses and granaries.  Natural stabilisers have been use traditionally in countries like Nigeria and Ghana.  They either used the juice of plants and vegetables or boiled seeds to prepare natural glues which were added to the soil. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 39. Nigeria, Near Kankeya – Granary 40. Togo – Granary 41. Niger – Granaries 42. Cameron – Mousgoum hut (Photo Gert Chesi) 43. Cameron – Granaries 15 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 22. STACKED EARTH (COB)  Cob construction uses sand, clay and straw. Elongated eggs are made of this mix and stacked layer wise. Mixed well this special mud is applied to the foundation in continuing layers. Each layer must dry so that it can support the next, and the wall is tapered in as you build up. When it is dry, the walls are very hard and load bearing. The roof is built directly on to the walls, as the walls themselves are the support structure.  This technique has been used a lot long ago in Europe, where it was named cob in England and bauge in France.  This technique is still used a lot in Africa, India and in Saudi Arabia, where beautiful examples can be seen.  The most beautiful examples are encountered in Yemen with Shibam. This old historic capital of Southern Yemen has been named ―The Manhattan of the Desert‖. 44. 45. 46. 47. 44. Saudi Arabia – Najran Palace(Photo M. Abdul-Aziz) 45. Southern Yemen, Shibam (Photo Patrick Meyer) 46. Mali, North of Mopti – Mosque(Photo Gert Chesi) 47. Saudi Arabia – Najran Palace (Photo H. Houben) 16 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 23. ADOBE  Sun dried clay brick, named Adobe, is undoubtedly one of the oldest building materials used by mankind: The oldest identified adobes were produced around 9,000 BC at Dja‟ De El Mughara in Syria.  Adobes are made of thick malleable mud, often added with straw. After being cast they are left to dry under sun. They are traditionally either hand shaped or shaped in parallel piped wooden moulds.  This technique has been used all over the world since memorial times, as can been seen on various hieroglyphs and Egyptian scriptures.  The oldest samples known were found on the site of Jericho, in the Jordan Valley, in Mesopotamia. They date from around 8000 BC and they were hand shaped. They looked like an elongated loaf. Fingerprints of the craftsmen who did them are still visible on some of them.  In Peru the hand shaped adobes were long ago conical. In the Middle East they were at a time hemispherical and humpbacked. In India the archaeological site of Chitradurga in Karnataka state shows also hand shaped adobe of the 15th century. They were like quadrangular loafs.  Today one can still find hand shaped bricks in Africa, in countries like Nigeria or Niger where they are called Tubali.  Adobe production has been industrialised in Western USA. Several states in USA have codified adobe making and its construction. 48. 49. 50. 51. 48. India, Ladakh - Shey Palace 17th Century 49. Iran, Meiboud – Office of ICHO 50. Egypt, Baris - Market by Hassan Fathy 51. Bazaar, Sirdjan, Iran 17 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 24. EXTRUDED EARTH  The earth extrusion technique has been used since a long while in the fired brick industry. Stabilised earth, at a plastic state, is as well extruded through a machine which gives the desired shape.  The blocks are often hollow and are cut to the desired length. This technique of stabilised extruded earth was developed in the 20th century.  Compared to the brick extrusion in the fired brick industry, stabilised extruded earth bricks show a major inconvenient: the soil required for stabilised earth is much sandier than the one for fired earth. Thus the soil is more abrasive and the machines get damaged at a much faster rate. 52. 53. 54. 52. Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou (Photo J. Joffroy) 53. Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou (Photo J. Joffroy) 54. France (Photo Unknown) 18 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 25. WATTLE AND DAUB  Wattle and daub method is an old and common method of building mud structures.  There bamboo and cane frame structure support the roof.  Mud is plastered over this mesh of bamboo cane and straws.  Due to excessive rainfall the wattle and daub structures gets washed off.  However, the mesh of cane or split bamboo remains intact and after the heavy rain is over the mud is plastered on again. 55. 56. 57. 58. 55. Traditional wattle and daub 56. Somalia, Genale - Village huts 57. France, Alsace – House 58. France, Bresse, Saint Triviers de Court - Farm house 19 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 26. FORMED EARTH (Straw Clay)  Very clayey soil, in a liquid state, is poured on straw, which has been chopped to the desired length.  The mix is generally tampered afterwards into forms. These walls are not load-bearing: they are light, have a very high thermal insulation value and must be built in a wooden structure.  It was traditionally used in Germany and was re-used for reconstruction after the 2nd world war. It is mostly known with the name Straw clay.  Straw clay can be used as a filler wall, formed between a wooden structure or as prefabricated blocks. 59. 60. 61. 62. 59. Germany, Hessen, Gross Gerau (Photo F. Volhard) 60. Belgium, Leuven (Photo H. Houben) 61. Germany, Darmstadt (Photo F. Volhard) 62. Germany, Darmstadt (Photo F. Volhard) 20 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 27. POURED EARTH  The soil, in a liquid state, is poured like concrete into formworks. The soil characteristics must be very sandy or gravely and should be stabilised.  This technique is a new development and is very seldom used. The reason is that the high water content of the soil will induce a lot of shrinkage when it will dry. Thus the wall will crack.  The following chart shows how blocks are cut after the earth is poured in a blocked formworks.  Also, directly the formwork is arranged on the wall through vertical bamboo supports and then liquid earth is poured into the formworks. Courtesy CRATerre -EAG Chart 4 21 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 28. TERMITE WONDERS  Termites can be considered as the best earth builders. Building with earth is inherent to their nature. Termites stabilise the soil with their saliva. The latter is sticky, as it is issued for the digestion of cellulose, and it binds the grains of soil.  This allows them to build such wonders. Termites can also be considered as the best air conditioners. Their hills are meant to regulate temperature and moisture, in order to allow them to live.  Constructed out of local dirt, sticks, and sometimes even faces, their saliva is used to form the bonding agent. The interior of the mound includes a series of tunnels and chambers with the nest located at the bottom. Various openings and passageways are cleverly placed throughout to assist in capturing and drawing in cool air while pushing warm air up and out of the mound. By using this careful layout, the termites can regulate the temperature through blocking or opening passageways within the mound to control the temperature to their needs. - Laura Schultz 63. 64. 65. 66. 63. India, Auroville - Termite hill 64. India, Auroville - Termite nest 65. India, Auroville - Termite nest 66. Burkina Faso, Toussiana - Termite hill 22 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 29. CONTEMPORARY EARTH CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES  The techniques mentioned till now included overall all the techniques of earth construction and were explained briefly.  Nowadays out of all those techniques only few of them are used with their innovative applications and manufacturing. chart 5  Cob  Adobe  Wattle and daub  Compressed stabilised earth blocks(refer appendix, part 3)  Rammed earth 23 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 30. COB  With only a little water to form a very stiff mud, a large Lump is roughly moulded into the shape of a huge elongated egg.  The usual size is anything between 12 to 18-inches, (30 to 40 cm) long and about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.  A row of these cobs of mud are laid neatly side by side, preferably somewhat pressed together. Then another row of cobs is laid on top.  When three or four courses have been laid, one above the other, the sides are smoothened over so that the holes and cracks disappear.  Openings for doors and windows are a problem, which can be solved by using temporary vertical planks or shuttering.  Another very simple shuttering for openings is to use empty kerosene tins. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 67. Forming stiff mud and moulds 68. Stacking the moulds 69. Levelling and trimming after every stage to prevent Unlevelled walls from building up and drying out 70. Smoothening the sides 71. Arrangement of shuttering for openings 72. Layering the cob strips 73. Plastering the cob wall 74. Thatch roof cob house 75. Flat roof cob house 24 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 31.  While in the case of earth block work, dry elements are built up with mortar joints, no mortar is used with wet loam work. Plastic loam is bound simply by ramming, beating, pressing or throwing.  Some detailing of cob construction is explained below.  Stone set on wet concrete to bond the cobs better from the base.  Top of the stem wall is irregular to provide „tooth‟ for cob.  To prevent lifting in strong winds, anchoring roof to the cob walls by wooden rafters with galvanized wire to the wall. 76. 77. 78. 79. Adobes are made of thick malleable mud, often added with straw. 76. Stem wall on top of foundation 77. Anchoring the window frames and door frames to ground by wooden logs. 78. Roof logs attached to cob walls through wooden rafters 79. Thatched roof detail 25 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 32. TYPICAL COB WALL SECTION DETAIL 80. 80. Typical profile of the elements making up a cob and thatch building.(illustration from building with cob: a step by step guide, by Adam ADOBEWeismann and Katy Bryce, green books 26 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 33. ADOBE  Adobes are made either by filling moulds with a pasty loam mixture or by throwing moist lumps of earth into them.  After being cast they are left to dry under sun. They are traditionally either hand shaped or shaped in parallel piped wooden moulds.  Different types of moulds can be used; some of these are shown below.  They are usually made from timber. The throwing technique is commonly used in all developing countries.  Here, a sandy loam is mixed with water, and cut straw is usually added and the whole formed into a paste that is thrown into wooden moulds.  The greater the force with which the loam is thrown, the better its compaction and dry strength. The surface is smoothed by hand or by a timber piece, trowel or wire.  One person can produce about 300 blocks per day (including preparation of mix, transportation and stacking.  The disadvantage is that the blocks are usually stabilised with 4% to 8% cement content in order to endow them with sufficient strength.  This is necessary because of the absence of either sufficient water or adequate dynamic impact capable of significantly activating the binding forces of the clay minerals. Without cement, pressed blocks usually have dry a compressive strength lower than that of handmade adobes.  Another disadvantage of such presses is that the soil mix must be kept at a constant level of moisture and composition.  If compositions vary, then both the volume of the material to be filled and the pressure changes.  This leads to variations in the heights and strengths of the blocks.  Fully automatic block-making presses can produce 1500 to 4000 blocks daily. However, they require large investments and may be difficult to maintain, especially in developing countries.  To assure even loam consistencies, such machines often require separate crushers and mixers.  Fully automatic presses are only economical if they have long lives, are utilised extensively on a daily basis, and if raw material of even consistency is available locally and in sufficient quantities. 81. Timber moulds for adobes 82. Pouring earth mix into the manually operated press 83. Compacting the mix 84. Taking out block from the press 85. CINVA press 86-88 Making adobes in Ecuador 89. Removal of surplus Loam with a wire 81. 27 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 34. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 28 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 35. WATTLE AND DAUB  This type of wattle and daub is a more modern version of traditional wattle and daub and is the most widely used.  It has sections of cane or bamboo poles fixed with wires and nails to a sawed wooden structure which enables a better finished assembly. Earth mix is applied on this assembly and then finishes are applied to the wall surfaces.  The prefabricated panel is a sawed wooden frame, filled with interwoven cane or bamboo battens, inserted in such a way that they are self-anchoring. After being assembled these panels are walls which will be plastered with earth and straw mortar with an initial layer and then a thin finishing layer. The advantage of prefabricated panels is that they enable the panels and the structure that will carry them in the wall to be made at the same time, thus reducing assembly time. 90. 91. 92. 93. 81. Corner junctions 82. Detail structure of the wall 83. Detail of cane fastening 84. Elevation of the wall 29 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 36. Step by step construction 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 94. T o set the columns use a plumb to make sure they are vertical, hold them temporarily with braces. 95. Always cut cane after knots. 96. The poles are fastened with a flexible material, such as galvanised wire or treated plant fibre 97. After defining the position of the vertical poles fix them. If you use hollow concrete blocks these can be taken advantage of. 98. Detail of connection between the corner column and the horizontal canes. 99. After justalling all the vertical poles, and before fixing the horizontal ones, the fasteners should be fixed. 100. Detail of join between vertical and horizontal poles AOBE 101. After fitting the horizontal poles at a height of up to 50 cm it is advisable to first fill the columns with wattle and daub mortar followed by the walls. The separation between the horizontal bars should be between 6cm and 8cm. 102. Detail of covering of iron ring (diameter 1/4"), with concrete mortar to make the column rigid. 30 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 37. RAMMED EARTH  After being excavated, the soil is thoroughly sieved, to break the lumps and make it lighter. Big rocks should be removed but some stones could be kept. If the natural soil is too dry, it should moistened and mixed so as to get a uniform humid mix.  This method has developed from the cob wall so as to standardize or regularize the thickness of the wall.  It is also an attempt to increase the strength of the wall by ramming it.  Two parallel planks are held firmly apart by metal rods and clips or bolts, or by small crosspieces of wood.  Stiff mud is thrown in between these two planks and rammed down with either a wooden or metal ramrod.  When one section is completed and hard, the two boards are moved along and the process is repeated.  The two planks are then raised up and a second course of rammed earth is repeated over the first.  Two techniques have traditionally been developed. They used either horizontal or vertical formworks.  The horizontal technique was used in many parts of the world. Strips of walls were built horizontally and their height varied from 30 to 90 cm.  The formwork consisted of 2 wooden panels held together with wooden clamps and keys, which were tightened with ropes. Once one portion of a wall was completed, the formwork is immediately dismantled and moved further along.  Humid soil was evenly poured into the formwork to get a regular course of about 12-15 cm thickness. Ramming was traditionally done by hand.  The soil is first rammed along the sides of the panels and the central portion of the wall is rammed immediately after that.  Every course is rammed till the rammer hitting the soil gives a clear sharp sound and the rammer is not doing anymore marks on the course.  Unstabilised soil is concentrated horizontally, and alignment is from layer to layer of wall.  Stabilized soil is concentrated vertically, and alignment is between forms.  Openings for doors and windows within the wall are created with block outs.  Corners are made stronger if created as one piece as opposed to solely having a joint between two.  The specific construction of rammed earth consists of “lifts” or layers of earth poured into formwork at a depth of eight inches and then compacted to five inches. This creates a striated earthen wall.  After the wall completely goes up and is cured (twenty eight to fifty-six day period) any fixtures may be added. The roof is tied into the wall, and window and doorframes are added. Fixings are buried deep within the wall to retain structural integrity. In addition, utilities and systems, determined before construction, may pass within the wall to a certain degree. The final part of the construction process is to apply a wall finish, if desired or required. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 103. Boards and anchors for formwork 104. Spacers for connection of boards 105. Connected formwork 106. Manual compaction of mix between the boards 107. Anchoring the frames of doors with the ground and cross bracing them 108. Ramming first floor wall on top of a door 31 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 38. The approximate proportion of subsoil is thirty percent clay/silt to seventy percent sand/gravel. Water has a direct impact on the strength of finished walls, and depending on the soil mix, is eight to sixteen percent of the mix.  An optional stabilizer may be added – four to twelve percent depending on conditions such as bonding strength of the clay, seismic activity, desired construction process, or desired wall proportions.  Stabilizers include cement, lime, or pozzolan added to the mix.  There are numerous field and laboratory tests to be run at all stages of the material gathering process, each to determine the specific mix peculiar to the site. These include density, compressive strength, bond strength, and erosion and wear resistance tests.  Soil stabilization gave a great input to rammed earth as well as mechanization.  The traditional wooden rammer has been replaced by pneumatic rammers.  Heavy wooden formworks evolved into light composite ones, made of plywood, wood and steel or sometimes aluminium.  Pneumatic rammers, dumpy loaders, mixers, ban conveyors, etc. allowed to build faster and get a better quality finish.  Structures are most of the time built with pier walls, meaning that walls are built up to their full height at once. This way of building changed totally the design pattern of structures. 109. 110. Moist Earth-Mixture of sand, Reinforced Visible layers of cement, gravel and clay plywood frame Rammer compacted earth 111. 109. USA, California, David Easton – Vertical form 110. Ramming with electrical rammer 111. Compaction process 32 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 39. Innovations in earth construction “CONTEXT- The necessity for speed was one of the big factors that contribute to that break with tradition. It probably took a thousand years for us to find out by trial and error how to make a mud wall impervious to rain and wind, another thousand years to learn how to keep termites out of it, and another two or three thousand to learn how to build multi-storied mud buildings.” -Laurie Baker (life, work and writings), Page 19 “On the one hand, raw earth is still used … as basic shelter on a massive scale by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. On the other hand, a new generation of architects and engineers, fascinated by the qualities of this highly ecological resource, is finally rediscovering and reasserting its value, modernising its technology and adapting raw earth construction to a broad range of modern applications:...” (2002:9). -The series of articles by Detheir and Eaton appeared in the September 2003 issue of ByggKunst  This chapter mainly tells about the problems associated with earth architecture and is divided into four parts according to the various stages of a building process: 1. Designing 2. Construction 3. Maintenance 4. Demolition/reuse  Now, there are innovations, detailing and some necessary precautions that can overcome those problems, limitations and make earth construction as a viable system for building.  Primary case studies include buildings seen and measure drawn (the required details) in Kutch and Auroville.  According to the problems identified through the questionnaire and secondary case studies, there are solutions that are mentioned in the charts through primary case studies. 33 EARTH ARCHITECTURE-Innovations in earth construction and potential of earth architecture in contemporary scenario
  • 40. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Management of • When building with earth, one should pay a lot of attention of the management of resources earth raw and raw materials. Topsoil should be scraped away, so as to be re-used for agriculture or materials and gardens. Sieve the soil preferably in the quarry: the waste soil can be re-used on the spot to mixing is a finalize the landscaping. complex • One should always plan how the excavation would be used afterward. Design the quarry (area process. and depth) according to the future use of the hole. Dig according to the design requirements: steps or slope, deep holes or shallow excavation, etc. • A proper management of the earth resources can create a new and harmonious balance between nature and the buildings. • Auroville shows various possibilities for the use of quarries: as water harvesting ponds, waste water treatment ponds, pools, basement floors or shallow Biological wastewater treatment depressions which are used for landscape design, work or play areas, gardens, etc. • Various stages of making blocks from raw materials o Sieving o Measuring o Dry mixing o Humid mixing o Moulding o Initial curing o First stacking o Final curing o Final stacking
  • 41. Related drawings 1. 2 3 . . 4 5. . 6. 7. 1. Process of formation of blocks/earth mix from raw materials for construction 2. Covered clay mixing area 3. Segregation of various raw materials through partitions 4. Quarry transformed into a wastewater treatment 5. Shallow excavation for making adobes 6. Quarry planned for a wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting 7. Waste water treatment area 34
  • 42. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution The traditional • The contemporary stick-frame construction cut costs and reduces raw material usage wattle and daub through the efficient use of wood cut into standardized sizes and designed geometrical approach does not patterns with infill of earth mix. have safeguards to • The timber framework is braced for lateral-stability.This also leads to a wall which is ensure that the wall structurally sound and plumb is maintained. is plumb and this can result in structural weaknesses Refer Appendix 5 (case study 9) especially when the technique is translated to larger buildings. Penetration of water Thatched-earth tile roof from the roofs that • The roof frame must be built strong enough to support the weight. The best earth tiles are caused water made with stabilized soil problems from the • Also, wooden strips or metal rods (called stringers) must be placed in the roof at close roof on inside enough intervals so that each tile rests on two stringers, either directly or indirectly. spaces. • Tiles are often made with a lip or groove near the upper edge so that they will be positioned securely on the stringers. • Earth tile have also been used for roofs. They can be pressed in a block making machine by using fillers. • They can also be of sun-dried adobe but in either case it is best to stabilize the earth. The tiles are placed on a wooden frame. • The tiles should be 1 1½" to 2" thick and about 1' long. • Good sun-dried tiles are made with a thatch (or grass) "tail." • The thatch tail helps prevent rain from eroding the block, and provides insulation for the inside of the house. Refer Appendix 5 (case study 7)
  • 43. Related drawings 9. 10. 11. 8. Wattle and daub on top of wall made of CSEB units. 9. Connection of truss with the wattle and daub timber frame. 10. Roof wall assembly 11. Hunnarshala, Bhuj(wattle and daub) 8. 12. 13. 12. Hunnarshala, Bhuj(thatch roof) 13. Thatch roof supported on a steel truss and CSEB walls 14. Connection of roof tiles with the wooden strips(stringers) 14. 35
  • 44. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Flat slabs are not • CEB blocks were used to make vaults on top of CSEB walls and supported on concrete possible and so multi beams and a flat layer of kadappa stone was laid on top of the vaults leaving the side storey's cannot be space on top of the dome hollow. made. • Earth was used, from the first developments of Vikas, in all parts of the buildings, from foundations to roof. • Including the basement, it is a four storey building. Formation of lintels by earth blocks • Project Details – Vikas Apartments, Auroville • Architect: Satprem Maini • Period of construction: 1992-1999 • Project Description: 23 residential apartments housing and common facilities. • Building Type: Residential • Climate: Warm and Humid • Built in area: 1420 m2 • Owners/clients: Collective of clients • Building Technologies: Earth and ferrocement • Vikas apartment are built with stabilized rammed earth foundation (with five percent cement) • CEB (compressed earth blocks) with five percent cement for walls vaults and domes. • Some walls have been made using rammed earth with five percent cement • The soil for building has been extracted from the waste water treatment pond and the garden tank. • while in the third apartment building with a basement floor, the excavated soil is used for building. • Ferrocement roof channels have been used for some floors while doors and shelves are of ferrocement. • Concrete, glass, steel, etc. have been sparingly used.
  • 45. Related drawings 15. 16. 19.. 15. Vault and flat slab of kadappa stone with CEB tiles as flooring 16. Vikas apartment, Auroville(vault supporting flat slabs) 17. Vikas apartment, Auroville(3 storey's with basement) 18. SEB as lintel on top of the door 18. 36
  • 46. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Flat slabs are not Hourdi roofing used in auroville earth institute to create flat earth slabs. possible and so multi storey's cannot be • The hourdi block produced by the Auram press 3000 is used to create floors and roofs. made. • These blocks rest either on reinforced concrete T beams or on ferrocement channels. • As these blocks are hollow they create roofs which are more comfortable under a hot climate. • The resistance of these blocks is extremely high. • The series of these blocks is rested on the edges of ferrocement channels and then earth filling is done to make even surface on top surface which combines the channels with the blocks. Refer appendix 4(Cseb – hourdi roofing)
  • 47. Related drawings 20. 21. 22. 23. 20. Adjusting hourdi blocks in between ferrocement channels 21. Casting an earth concrete: 1 cement: 2 soil: 3 sand: 4 gravel 22. Auroville earth institute, hourdi roofing 23. Vault structure on top of hourdi roofing 37
  • 48. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Aesthetics and pottery for insulation and aesthetics insulation • Pottery is a developed craft of kutch. To use clay items for construction was to find new ways of building methods. • The clay plates and bowls are used for wall and roof insulation and pots as visual objects for design. • The local convex circular clay plates are claded on the external wall for insulation. • Small holes are made in plates for ventilation and arranged in different designs and patterns. • The triangular spaces between them are filled with small mirrors for the reflection of heat. Thus, the entire surface of wall is taken care of heat insulation. • This wall cladding and insulation work proceeds fast as the surface coverage of each plate is about 25cm diameter. • Since it is a local material the cost of plate is low and the total item costs much less than conventional cladding methods. • At the same time, it provides work for the potter who has to make about 5000 plates for one house. • Clay tiles are also used in auroville and Bangalore inside the houses for improving the inner climate through use of clay pots and clay tiles in ceilings. • Inverted bowls used for ceiling pattern. They also act as lamp fixtures lighting up the entire ceiling
  • 49. Related drawings 25. 24. 26. 28. 27. 24. Clay plates fixed on walls for insulation and the in- between spaces 29. filled with mirrors for reflecting heat 25. Clay bowls can also be used for wall insulation 26. Clay bowls as cladding for insulation, Kutch 27. Filler slabs( Mangalore tiles, Stabilized mud blocks) details 28. Mangalore tiled ceiling, Bangalore 29. Tiled ceiling for vault, Auroville 38
  • 50. Related drawings 31. 32. 33. 30. 35. 34. 30. Inverted bowls used for ceiling pattern. They also act as lamp fixtures lighting up the entire ceiling(wall section and view) 31. Use of inverted bowls, Auroville (creativity apartment) 32. Use of clay bowls with all fixtures for the ceiling , Auroville(creativity) 33. Use of clay bowls(whole inside), Bangalore 34. Inverted clay pots used in curvilinear ceiling 35. Inner view of the house 36. Inner view of the house 36. 39
  • 51. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Wood doesn‟t There is an alternative where pivoted windows are used where there is no need of wooden adhere with the frames and so the windows are directly attached by pivots to the two sides of the walls. earth walls and mostly create gaps between the wall and the frame of the window. Flat Earth flooring Rammed earth houses can be built in one of three basic ways. Individual, rammed earth bricks can be formed and used with standard building techniques; in fact, such bricks may be used to form the floors in a rammed earth house built with other techniques. Oxide flooring is used now adays by which various colored flooring can be produced from earth techniques. Rammed earth flooring with covering of wooden blocks and strips are also a good solution to achieve flat floors from earth. Possibilities of CSEB walls and the introduction of stabilized walls for rammed earth has given more easy large and various ways of making large openings of various shapes and sizes. types of openings. Some of the examples as seen in kutch region are given in the drawing part.
  • 52. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES 37. 38. 40. 39. 42. 41. 37. Sketches by Laurie baker showing window type 38. Pivoted window(Hunnarshala, Bhuj) 39. Oxide flooring (Hunnarshala, Bhuj) 40. Some supporting sketches from book building with earth showing rammed floorings 41. Window type(Hiralaxmi craft park, Bhujodi) 42. Window type(Hunnarshala, Bhuj) 43. Various window types shown through sketches and pictures(Hunnarshala, Bhuj) 43. 40
  • 53. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Formation of organic shapes Cob is the technique that gives opportunity to form organic shapes. and single roofed buildings. Now adays there are formwork for curved walls too and so the possibilities of shapes is more. The plasticity of loam allows not only for the building of exterior walls, ceilings and floors but also of built-in furniture. For this, loam elements when still wet are particularly suitable as they can be given a great variety of shapes; they also open up new aesthetic possibilities.
  • 54. Related drawings 44 45. 46. 47. 44-46. Auromodele houses showing some designs that can be done in earth. 47. Some sketches from book „architecture of Kutch‟ showing curvilinear designs developed from traditional bhungas 48. 48. Shaam-e-sarhad resort(hodka, banni) showing curvilinear shaped sitiing area 49. Shaa-e-sarhad (hodko, banni) showing single roofed spaces 50. Chintan organic farm(bhujodi) showing single roof made of thatch with spaces segregated by walls. 49. 50. 41
  • 55. PRIMARY CASE STUDIES Problem Solution Vaults and domes of earth Nubian vaults masonry requires skill With the Nubian vault technique, used for centuries in Upper Egypt, vaults can be labour . built without any formwork by using reclining arches made of adobe. Refer appendix 5 (case study of Delhi office) After studying examples from Hassan Fathy and Nadir Khali, Ray Meeker moved to Pondicherry India. Using local materials of mud bricks, Meeker constructed a house by forming a central dome surrounded by four Nubian vaults. To harden the mud, Meeker turned the house into a kiln and fired the interior for four and a half days. To offset labour costs, clay pots, tiles and extra bricks were also fired in the structure to be sold. The term Agni Jata is used for this process; it means „fire burned‟. In order to avoid the disadvantages of Nubian dome technology, a new technique for making domes using a rotational guide was developed at the BRL. With this technique, the structurally optimal geometry of the dome can be achieved without formwork. The rotational guide has a right-angled head into which the blocks are placed. This angle can be moved on a curved metal T-section bent to shape. This T-section is fixed to a rotating arm, which is in turn fixed to a vertical post. The figures are shown in the next page.
  • 56. Related drawings 52. 54. 55. 56. 52. Firing the raw mud bricks and creating the building itself as kiln 53. Plastered and completed house 54. Vault created by Nubian vault process 55. Foundation and plinth layer completed 56. The four stages showing process of creating a vault without formwork derived from Nubian 53. technique. 42
  • 57. BUILDING PROCESS - designing Problem Solution To choose earth Factors to be seen before choosing earth as a construction material construction for the project. • Availability of raw materials- in the proximity of 20 kms is considered viable • Climate-mostly everywhere on each an every continent except Antarctica because of unavailability of raw materials. • Local labour- training minimum of 12 to 15 people is must for good earth construction. • Getting knowledge about the material thoroughly through books and resource people. To design appropriate earth Factors to be kept in mind while designing earth building that can overcome the building. surface and structural defects: Some of the problems are listed below: • Wall thickness Surface defects include • Spanning members (cracks; flakes; blistering; • Which technique to be used for construction peeling; loss of adhesion; • Number of storey's and boniness.) • Corner junctions • Joineries and detailing to avoid water and termite penetration Maintenance & Repairs • Water is a major agent of decay for earth walls. Therefore, codes and other publications generally recommend not placing plumbing within earthen features Structural defects include water borne erosion of wall; freeze-thaw heave of wall; low level erosion at base of wall; structural cracking (settlement, overload); bulging; abrasion damage; and rat runs and animal holes. - Pearson, 1992 To convince the client for • By showing the possible options and benefits of earth construction and some earth good examples of already made earth buildings. Construction. • By showing the detailing that are done to overcome the issues related to water Finalization of design with and insects, shrinkage cracks and stating the technique that is to be used. the client • Showing the benefits related to climate and indoor temperature by using earth walls for building. • Material aesthetic benefits and also showing examples of buildings already constructed out of earth.
  • 58. Related drawings 1. Ring beam is lacking. 2. Lintels do not reach deeply enough into masonry. 3. The distance between door and window is too small. 4. The distance between openings and wall corner is too small. 5. Plinth is lacking. 6. The window is too wide in proportion to its height. 7. The wall is too thin in relation to its height. 8. The quality of the mortar is too poor, the vertical joints are not totally filled, the horizontal joints are too thick (more than 15 mm). 9. The roof is too heavy. 10. The roof is not sufficiently fixed to the wall. 43
  • 59. BUILDING PROCESS - designing Problem Solution Less durable as a • It is mostly because of the less thought given to the construction details at the construction material initial stages of the design process. compared to conventional • The joint of the wall with the plinth has to be carefully designed so that the materials. rainwater can flow down unhindered without entering the joint between wall and plinth. Water problems Termite and rodents penetrating the walls Roof connections with the wall base Protection from rain • One method of preventing rain from coming into contact with a loam wall is to provide it with a roof overhang. • A sufficiently high plinth (30 to 50 cm) can protect from splashing rain. • Solutions B and C may be acceptable in areas with little rain. • Solution D is common, whereas E and F show perfect designs for combating this problem. solution A is unacceptable because the extruded part of the plinth wont allow water to flow and will be collected there causing swelling and peeling of the plaster and wall. • In B, an elastic sealant has been introduced between the beam and wall in order to provide sufficient tolerance for this shrinkage. • In C, the structural system is separated from the wall, thereby allowing a greater vertical movement of the timber structure. Roof rafters should not rest directly on the earth wall, but instead on timber wall plates or beams as seen in A
  • 61. BUILDING PROCESS – designing Problem Solution Loam is not a standardised • Depending on the site where the loam is dug out, it will be composed of differing building material amounts and types of clay, silt, sand and aggregates. • Its characteristics, therefore, may differ from site to site, and the preparation • of the correct mix for a specific application may also differ. • In order to judge its characteristics and alter these, when necessary, by applying additives, one needs to know the specific composition of the loam involved. Professionals make less • If the earth construction techniques and construction become widespread , all the money from earth building prejudices and hesitations for its use as a construction material get removed projects. gradually by proper training sessions and classes then it will lead to improvement in the construction industry in developing countries and indirectly to the professionals in money matters. • The traditional hut is • Now adays various techniques have developed which can produce good spanning limited to a single round members and structural members and so it becomes easy to cater various facilities or square room of about in a single roof with inner divisions of spaces by walls. 3m diameter with conical • Various shapes are possible other than those round huts with thatch roofs with the roof. innovation of loam walls and prefabricated panels of loam. • This limited size and shape means a single hut usually cannot accommodate several functions under one roof. Traditionally therefore, several huts are required to cater for the diverse requirements in a Single home. • With the traditional approach to building, all rooms (such as kitchen, sitting, bathrooms, bedrooms etc) cannot be contained under the same roof. • This results in functional inconveniences which is one cause of the social undesirability of traditional buildings. • Refer appendix, part 3 for drawings 45
  • 62. BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe) Problem Solution Load bearing floor slabs are • Loam elements which act as infill between floor joints also provide sound and not possible. thermal insulation. • In Hungary in 1987, Gernot Minke developed load-bearing infill elements with cement-stabilised lightweight loam. various designs for load-bearing floor panels were developed at that time. • various designs for vaulted loam floors. Designs E, F, G, H are load bearing and use heavy elements made of earth. • A, B and C use earthen blocks, which transfer slab loads to the beams by vault- action under compression. • Design D shows a non-load bearing loam vault made by pouring lightweight loam over a curved reed mat. • When making loam-covered flat roofs, it should be kept in mind that roof edges are susceptible to mechanical damage, especially by wind and water erosion. This can be prevented by solutions of the type shown in • I,, j, k, l. If the surface of the roof is to be walked upon, then tiles are recommended as shown in l.
  • 63. Related drawings A E F B C G D H 56. Mould for infill block and the created block I K L J 46
  • 64. BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe) Problem Solution Fixing fasteners to walls • Nails can be driven into an earth block walls more easily than into those leads to cracking of the constructed of baked bricks. blocks. • The more porous and humid the material, the easier one can drive a nail through it. Green bricks tend to split more easily than soil blocks and adobes. • If very thick nails are used, it is advisable to drill a hole into the block. • Heavy shelves or wall hung cabinets can be fixed to the wall easily using screws and dowels. Dowel holes, however, should be drilled large enough to • prevent blocks from cracking. With monolithic rammed • Different sections for larger wall panels made of lightweight mineral loam, are earth walls, or even with developed now adays. small-sized adobe masonry, manpower is high and • These can be used either in internal walls, or to increase the thermal insulation of drying time can delay exterior walls from the outside. Cavities reduce weight and increase thermal construction work due to the insulation, while simultaneously providing grip holds for easy handling. inherent water. • Similar elements that can be used for making vaults.
  • 65. Related drawings 57. Interior wall of pre fabricated loam blocks 47
  • 66. BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe) Problem Solution Due to mechanical impacts, As loam plaster is susceptible to mechanical impact, corners should preferably be corners often covered by wooden profiles, baked bricks or similar lippings. break during the handling of mud bricks.The corners of the walls get spoiled and deteriorated. Surface treatment for adobe • If sufficiently moistened with a tool like a felt trowel, exposed earth block masonry walls with uneven surfaces or joints can be easily smoothened. Plastering is not Protection against rising advisable, since it interferes with the capacity of loam walls to balance internal air damp humidity . • Exterior loam walls have • However, exposed earth block masonry can, if not aesthetically acceptable, be to be protected from rising given a wash of loam slurry stabilised with, for example, lime, lime casein etc. This damp in the same way as wash also impacts the wall‟s surface stability . baked brick or stone masonry walls. • A damp-proof course, a 3 to 4-cm-thick rich cement concrete layer is often used as an alternative. • This should be impregnated with bitumen or waste Mobil oil.
  • 67. Related drawings Bricks Mud bricks Timber sections Earth wall 58. Wall plastered with lime, casein and loam 48
  • 68. BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(adobe) Problem Solution Shrinkage is a problem • Prefabricated tiles made with stabilised earth can be used for flooring. One associated with earth advantage is that since they are already dry, shrinkage only occurs in joints. materials when they dry. • Extruded green loam slabs consisting of a loam with high clay Content. They are extruded 3 to 10 cm thick, 50 cm wide and cut into lengths of up to 100 cm or more. Mud seems to be the natural • A one-inch thick layer of mortar (one part of cement to 3-parts of sand) can be home of termites so in areas laid all over the top of the basement wall before building the mud walls above it. where they are common the This is helpful in keeping out both termites and damp. same precautions have to be • Even better is to construct an apron of burnt brick or stone (or it can be rammed taken as in all buildings to earth) all round the building (to prevent damage to the walls by splashing, of rain prevent their moving up into water) and this too can be plastered over with a rich cement mortar. the walls and eating wooden • Any thin sheet metal may be laid over the basement wall with a 3-inch downward frames etc. projection before starting to build the superstructure mud wall above. This is expensive but very effective. • There are various chemicals on the market, which can be used.
  • 69. Related drawings 59. Extruded loam slabs, Germany Rich cement mortar 49
  • 70. BUILDING PROCESS – Construction(wattle and daub) Problem Solution From a technical viewpoint, • The minimum width of the foundations will be 40cm.It is advisable to use a ratio it is clear the traditional 1.5 times the width of the wall. The minimum height of the base between ground wattle-and-daub has and the wall base will be 20cm. problems that reduce its durability to about 30 years. One of the main problems is lack of a waterproof base such that the wooden poles and earth are in direct contact with the ground thereby getting exposed to moisture and termite attack. the wall absorbs humidity when it rains and the daub is washed off from the wattle. Flooding occurs if the level • In kitchens and bathrooms, the plinth should have a waterproof skirting of tiles, of the inside floor is lower slates, rich cement plaster etc. than outside. If the above • The skirting design should prevent water from leaking or broken pipes, which occurs the wall will be could flood floors, from reaching the loam wall. weakened and will easily collapse in the event of any natural disaster.
  • 71. Related Drawings Problem Solution Wood column Outside inside rain 2% Foundations: column embedded in the concrete. inside outside 3" nails for adherence inside Outside Absorption of humidity 2% Foundation continued till the base of the wall extending from the ground level Outside inside 2% outside inside Wall base with concrete blocks (39x19x14cm) or similar material and concrete filling. wooden support inside Outside Flooding 2% Foundation with wooden column 3/8" fixed to the concrete wall base. iron anchor 50