Simmenäs rammed earth project and workshop

Right outside of Alingsås, in Simmenäs, Daniel and Karolina are building their straw bale house. Me and fellow Earth Lab members, Shea and David, take care of the design for a rammed earth wall which will be built in the center of the house. The wall of rammed earth will serve as a heat storage and a buffer for heat changes.

Building a rammed earth wall indoors is convenient as the issue of weather protection is already solved. The design challenges include connecting it with existing walls of straw bale and to a ceiling. The connection to the stove deserves aesthetical as well as structural consideration as that is the heart of the energy efficient building.

There will be a course held in relation to this project where you can come to learn and practise rammed earth building with us. The course takes place during the weekend 7-8 of march. Follow this link to sign up.

Daniel and Karolina have a blog (in Swedish) about the building of the house: http://halmhuset-korpaberget.blogspot.se/

Formworkmodel

Detail model (1:5). Studying the connection of rammed earth wall to existing structure.

San Gerónimo House

San Gerónimo is a work I did this as a freelance in Mexico. I didn´t see it finished because I moved to Sweden, but my friend Nora sent me some nice photos she took. My family wanted to build an apartment they could rent to a couple … probably to have some company 😉 This is the house before renovation.

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I wanted to re-discover the façade of the house and use its existing structure; the vegetation had a severe plague and had to be removed in order to plant again. The house is located on a hill that enhances panoramic views towards the city.BocetosWhat I liked the most of this experience is not the final result, but the process of dealing with so many persons at a time. Sometimes it was like being in the middle of a storm, but most of the time was a joyful and rewarding happening. It was nice to hear “ahí viene el arqui!” 🙂

Contractors

Now that I see the project finished I would have made some changes here and there, and lets do not talk about the not so ecological friendly materials we used. Eventhough I tried to use passive design I didn´t know anything about earth by then …

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David

Fujian Toulou

In July I traveled to China to participate in Solar Decathlon China, as project manager for Team Sweden (www.halosweden.com). After the competition ended, we placed third, I was on a mission to see first hand the Fujian toulou. A few weeks some long train and bus rides and I was there. The area I visited has over 500 of these earthen structures some dating back to the 14th century, most have been rebuilt within the last hundred years do to political turmoil and fire. It was amazing to finally see these buildings with their thick exterior rammed earth walls and intricate cantelivered interior wooden structures. The small private rooms look onto large shared open courtyards with surrounded shared traditional kitchen spaces.

Shea

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