I posted earlier about experimenting with rammed paper (see post here). I left a flower pot of rammed paper outside over the summer to see if it would keep it’s shape. And it did! Since it proved so successful we decided to have an earthLAB workshop around rammed paper which took place earlier this month. The method is basically to shred the paper in water with a rotary blade, then squeeze it to a proper dampness and than ram it carefully into a mold. Here are some pictures from the workshop!
Many times people ask me how high can you build with earth. Well, for instance, one can take a look at the 1000 year old earth-built skyscrapers in Yemen http://www.earthbagbuild.com/brief_history.htm. Now, I have not been in Yemen yet, but last year, my friend Shea and I went on a trip in search for the tallest earth building in Germany: the Rath House. It was built around the year 1850 with rammed earth (compressed soil into a formwork), the house is 6 floors height and it is a combination of loadbearing earthen walls and timber structure.
By the way, if you see a tiny man in the left corner of the picture, that, my friends … is Shea Hagy.
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.