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Latest Articles in Rammed Earth

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rammed-earth home in Utah

6 Rammed-Earth Houses

The following homes use terra firma as a basic building block, and demonstrate how earthen houses can be at once green, modern, and naturally cooled.
July 21, 2015
greener building block rammed earth brick gas fireplace dining area

Ingenious New Building Method Replaces Concrete Block with Rammed Earth

A new spin on rammed-earth construction aims to bring the method to the masses.
October 20, 2014
barn extension

8 Great Earth Homes

Harnessing the power of dirt, sand, soil, and earth, these projects prove that modern houses are not just made of glass and steel.
July 31, 2013
earth moves front

A Sustainable Rammed Earth Home in New Mexico

Studio eM Design’s rammed-earth home in Corrales, New Mexico, updates the regional adobe archetype into a hallmark of sustainable design.
June 16, 2013
cowper ccs

Packed Naturally

Mies van der Rohe once said, "We must remember that everything depends on how we use a material." In this Palo Alto, CA, residence constructed from rammed earth, steel, and glass, and finished in white oak, ipe, and American walnut, architect Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture holds true to Mies' dictum. Thanks to the liberal use of natural materials, the house attains a comfortable sensibility noticed by nearly everyone who passes through its earthen walls. "Guests are, without exception, completely taken by how the house is very modern, but also very warm," say the owners, who wish to remain anonymous. The residence consists of two main masses: a rammed earth base made from soil excavated from the site and a long ipe-clad wooden box that cantilevers over the ground floor. Bifurcating the forms is a slim glass band that wraps around the building, making it seem like the upper story hovers independently of its base. In addition to an almost reverential treatment of materials, the residence is imbued with a strong green ethic evidenced by the passive cooling features, a drought-tolerant "meadow" landscape, PV array, and radiant floor heating. Smith says this was the most complicated house he'd designed, but maintains that nothing was dogmatic. "It's not about being 'green' or 'cool' or making a monument; it's about the fundamentals of architecture," he says.
April 19, 2011
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Underground House in Seoul

Architect Byoung Soo Cho’s Earth House is quite possibly one of the classiest dugouts ever built. Set amid peaceful woods and rice fields an hour east of Seoul, Korea, the subterranean structure consists of six tiny unadorned rooms (kitchen, library, two bedrooms, and a bathroom) and a 23-by-23-foot courtyard. Cho describes the house, dedicated to Korean poet Dong-joo Yoon, as a place for self-reflection. He says the concept goes back to his 1991 graduate thesis at Harvard, where he began exploring Taoist ideas about negative and positive space, and the question of just how much (or little) space we need in order to live comfortably. Sixteen years and several unsuccessful attempts at selling an underground house later, Cho finally decided to build one for himself. Earth House was completed in February 2009 on a lot down the road from Cho’s more conventional vacation home, the square-shaped Concrete Box House. He currently uses the Earth House for weekend gatherings and stargazing.
March 25, 2010
The campaign for the greenest school in America: yet another reason why hope lies in youth.

Teaching by Example

When the Charlottesville Waldorf School bought 13 undeveloped acres outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2002, the idea was simply to build a permanent home for the school’s 130 students, replacing the rented space closer to the center of town that the school had outgrown.
April 13, 2009
bardessono airplant

Bardessono Green Hotel, Napa Valley

Northern California's wine country has the advantage of built-in open space preservation by virtue of its indispensable agricultural acreage. While there are certainly more tourist accommodations now than there used to be, the roads through Napa Valley are still flanked mostly by row upon row of perfectly trussed grapevines and—at this time of year—the bright yellow blossoms of mustard grass.
March 23, 2009
At the heart of the Colorado Plateau is the Navajo Nation—a 27,000-square-mile sovereign state lying in the Four Corners region, in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. It’s here, along a dirt road, miles from anything and anybody that Rosie Joe’s house shimmer

No Grid in Sight

Most deserts are dry and dusty expanses of blue skies, bleached soil, and rulerflat horizons. The Colorado Plateau is not one of them. This is a land of stunning contradictions, where thousand-foot rock monoliths jut like raised fists from flat riverbeds, and traffic-light-green foliage glows on stoplight-red soil. The sky here appears not blue but bright white, a flashbulb burst through squinted eyes.
February 26, 2009
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