Deconstruction and Construction
Experiments with Rammed Earth
Location: ShangLuo, SHAANXI, CHINA
Rammed-earth can be simple to construct, noncombustible, thermally massive, strong, and durable. Rammed earth is probably the single lowest environmental impact building system. It comes from nature and it will go back to nature. Rammed earth can effectively control humidity where walls containing clay are exposed to an internal space. One of the significant benefits of rammed earth is its high thermal mass; like brick or concrete construction, it can absorb heat during the day and release it at night. However, structures such as walls can be labour-intensive to construct without machinery (powered tampers), and they are susceptible to water damage if inadequately protected or maintained.
In the north-west of China, people used to live in the rammed earth houses. But now they are moving from countryside to cities. They want to live in the modern concrete buildings. This traditional technique is disappearing in this area. Less and less people are living in the rammed earth houses now. And less and less people know how to build the rammed earth houses.
Soil is a widely available, low-cost and sustainable resource, and utilizing it in construction has minimal environmental impact. But there are no construction teams know how to build rammed earth and they do not have tools for rammed earth construction. The rammed earth construction has been abandoned.