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Rammed Earth Library – function with beauty

November 25, 2013

Luke Mahony

108cRammed Earth has always been a great material for libraries, as it keeps the humidity and moisture low, helping preserve the books. Luigi Rosselli Architects has designed a beautiful entry to the Kings Square competition in Freemantle, Perth, Western Australia.  The use of Rammed Earth is as much for its function as it is for its aesthetic, as it should be.


It incorporates a “thermal stack” which is used extensively by ancient architecture for arid environements which creates passive air-conditioning. As they  say “The design solution of the stacks uses the same clay hydroscopic capacity to cool down when air circulation evaporates the humidity absorbed by the day. Together with drawing air from a cooler basement, thermal mass and passive solar skylight system at the top, the stack becomes an air conditioner to the building.”

108bI admire Luigi Rosselli Architects in their understanding and knowledge of the materials, utilising the hydroscopic attributes. “This natural ventilation and lighting system is a key component of the design, making the rammed earth volumes both sculptural and functional.” Here’s hoping they are successful and this fine example of functionality becomes a reality! All photos copyright of Luigi Rosselli Architects.


Boomerang Beach + Smiths Lake

November 18, 2013

Luke Mahony

I came across some photos of some rammed earth work that Cookie and I did at Pacific Palms on the mid north coast of NSW. One job, the Elliot House at Boomerang Beach was designed and built by Gav Scott at earthBound. The other, dux nutz at Smiths Lake was designed by Architect Ian Sercombe, and built by Gav earthBound. Pacific Palms area is great place to come and look at some earth houses. Contact myself, or Gav, or Ian for more info.

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Indigenous Architecture

November 11, 2013

Luke Mahony

indian_rammed_earthThe Hindu is probably one of the most widely read newspapers in the world. In a recent article they describe and summed up the benefits of rammed earth better than any mainstream media I have seem.

“To appreciate this house as it deserves to be, step inside the house at midday in the peak of summer. Its oxide floors and the rammed mud walls still feel cold against the skin, there is a pleasant and refreshing draft at any spot of the house you wander to, even its exposed brick terrace. Well, this house ‘Arulville’ is a tribute to the amazing functionality and climate-controlling ability of indigenous architecture. Un-plastered rammed earth walls allow the house to breathe through its walls and keep the ambient temperature cool.”

They are talking about a house called Arulville. The architect, Anthony Raj describes his work as  “nature-positive, regenerative architecture at work”. Read the whole article here.

(un) Common Earth War memorial

November 6, 2013

Luke Mahony

wwm3Mulloway Studio are one of three second stage entrants in an international architectural design competition to design separate, but complementary Memorials to World War I and World War II sited along the land axis in Canberra, Australia.

The design strategy explores the relationship between people and the earth (place and nation), the individual and society, and the notion of loss and absence.

wwm2Constructed from Australian soil from around the country, the memorials rise above the surface and push down into the soil, creating gaps in the earth – a contemplative chamber – reflecting the collective weight of loss and absence. A series of light transmitting fibre-optics are embedded in the solid rammed earth, each representing 100 lives/deaths.