Thursday, April 27, 2006

Grandma Moses

This small block of rammed earth was our first attempt at "figurative" rammed earth artistry.
This was our second.
One day we will travel the world building only fun walls like this.

An oft-heard complaint is that so much of the rammed earth being built is too 'modern' looking, you know, too much Rothko, not enough Grandma Moses.

Though I would argue the opposite is true, there's good news
for hobbit fans and creative anachronists, look here--Rammed earth has enormous artistic potential. Remember those fancy bottles of sand you used to get at the resort town?

Here's the thing: it's the same concept. Bottle=formwork! Rammed earth doesn't tell you what it should look like. You tell rammed earth what it is supposed to look like! Let your freak flag fly and your freak sand flow!

Colour Is Still Fun!

Yup, colour is still fun! Just like David Lee Roth's pants--you know, colourful, zig-zag, that sort of thing.

What if I told you that these were made with grey cement? It has been our experience that combined with the limestone in our mix, the grey eventually lightens to where it is almost indistinguishable from a block with the same amount of pigment made with white cement. (experiences may and can vary) We're saving our white cement, (at least double the price of grey and god knows how much more embodied energy) for highlights only, to be thrifty.

While I can celebrate the aesthetic possibilities of the slanted lift line, I cannot attest to the structural properties (though one would ass u me that in the end the ramming process will make the wall a single, integral monolith regardless of how the soil was put down.)

Lastly, the black spots on the blocks are obsidian flake insets. You may recall our last insets were with flourite. Also inset (but perhaps not visible) are a number of double terminated quartz crystals. The agenda is to imbue each room's rammed earth wall with a corresponding, appropriate mineral element. (We believe in that kind of thing.)

Friday, April 21, 2006


A great job by Solum Builders on this wall in Kaleden, British Columbia.

Check out their site!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lime Time

Surely you remember these photos from when they were first taken. These test blocks are 1 part 3/4 minus, 1 part crusher fines 1 part sand and anywhere from 6 to 1 part lime.

Not to be confused with a proper scientific test or anything, but you can see that those blocks with high lime content didn't do so well when left in the elements.

Not to honk my own horn (Heaven forbid!) but you can see that our mix of 1-1-1 stood up pretty well to the last few months of freeze/thaw and occasional rain.

But will it stand for another 500 years?

Stay tuned!