Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rammed Earth Construction in Cameron Valley, Virginia, 1942

Check out these fascinating pictures from LIFE Magazine's 1942 photo archive

documenting Thomas Hibben's experimental housing project with the United States' Federal Works Agency.

Many of the innovations he made to the rammed earth construction process are still employed today,

like  steel forms and pneumatic tampers.

Not much change in mixer technology in the last 70 years, either.


Here men are laying bricks in the foreground of some completed rammed earth walls. The footing appears to be cinderblock.   Combinations of different materials such as concrete, asphalt-stabilized adobe brick, bituminous earth block, and cement-stabilized rammed earth were used in each house.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters!

The finished product, outside...
...and inside.

Sadly these buildings were demolished in the 70's.  Read more about the project at the end of Chapter One in Anthony F. Merrill's The Rammed-Earth House.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Country & Western Rammed Earth in Merritt, B.C.

Here are a few views of Spirit Square in downtown Merritt, British Columbia, Canada's Country Music Capital. Rammed earth, concrete, heavy timber with copper and black steel trim contribute to a look that is both modern and rustic.
Those lamps aren't my favourite, but everyone loves Crystal Gayle, right? Merritt also boasts a "Walk of Stars" which features hand prints and autographs of a few great, and many lesser, country musicians.
The bandshell where all the magic happens. No idea who that cat on the right is.
 I'm getting pretty bored of these Nk'mip-style stripes, but the abundance of curves is nice.
Footing fetishists should note that for the time being, Google street view shows the site early in the construction process.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Selections from Dwelling On Earth: A Manual for the Professional Application of Earthbuilding Techniques

This winter I received a second-hand copy of Dwelling on Earth, a self-published spiral-bound book by Californian earth-building authority David Easton.

I've scanned a few pages of this twenty year old text for those who are interested in older documents relating to this method of construction.

Readers looking for more contemporary information from Mr Easton are urged  to acquire a copy of his most recent book, The Rammed Earth House published by Chelsea Green.