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Rammed Earth: an overview of a sustainable building material

September 16, 2013

Luke Mahony

rammed earth information

I recently spent some time in the deserts of Australia and was shocked at the conditions of housing at some the Aboriginal communities. For aboriginal people whose earth is their soul and creativity, why aren’t they living in some type of earth dwelling? It would surely help improve their social, cultural and health issues.

At a recent sustainability conference in Kyoto,  Japan, an interesting paper was presented on the sustainability of rammed earth as a building material, especially for remote indigenous communities. The paper was presented by Daniela Ciancio and Chris Beckett from the University of Western Australia.

rammed earth dwelling kata juta

The authors suggested that rammed earth is a “viable alternative to other more common building materials like concrete and steel” and could be promoted in “any part of the world affected by remoteness, scarceness of energy resources and poverty.”

“In hot arid climatic zones, by simply applying some traditional design features it might be possible to create a
comfortable living space without any artificial air conditioning devices.” These principles can be extended to a wider range of climatic regions if simple solar passive designs are applied to the dwellings.

Read a PDF of the paper at the following link paper Ciancio-Beckett

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