Rammed earth walls tie this modern home to the Arizona desert landscape

August 21, 2018 by  
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Architect Brent Kendle of Kendle Design Collaborative married architecture with the desert landscape in Desert Wash, a site-specific home that sweeps the natural environment indoors through walls of glass and rammed earth construction. Designed for an active family of four, the 6,700-square-foot abode in Paradise Valley, Arizona takes its name from the property’s existing desert dry wash, a biome located at a drainage area prone to severe flooding events. To embrace the natural landscape and mitigate flooding, Desert Wash sports an elevated bridge that traverses the desert dry wash area—an element normally seen as a major obstacle in residential design. Designed to celebrate desert living, the Desert Wash home feels immersed in nature despite its relatively close proximity to the city. The modern house comprises a master suite with three guest bedrooms and plenty of indoor-outdoor entertaining opportunities. The garage, along with the bulk of the home, is located to the north of the dry wash, while the foyer, office and one of the guest bedrooms are located to the south and accessible via the glazed bridge . A simple material palette and neutral tones tie the sprawling residence to the desert landscape. Rammed earth walls, expansive glazing and flat steel and wood roofs with deep overhangs define the home’s construction. Predominately white interior walls help create an airy and bright indoor atmosphere while providing a perfect backdrop for the family’s extensive collection of art. Related: Unusual Kerplunk House is envisioned as a “miniature forest” in the desert “Desert wash uses the indigenous materials of the site to define the main living spaces,” explains Kendle Design Collaborative. “ Rammed earth walls brings the earth to the interior. Welcoming one into the home and unifying it with nature simultaneously. Throughout the home you experience the site sensitivity of the project through its unique pallets and how the residence respects the natural qualities of the site. The home nestles its self into the earth while also respecting the natural topography of the site by spanning over the ancient wash.” + Kendle Design Collaborative Via ArchDaily Images by Chibi Moku and Michael Woodall

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Rammed earth walls tie this modern home to the Arizona desert landscape

This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

July 11, 2018 by  
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Japanese firm Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects has unveiled a beautiful round home that is wrapped in a spiraling rooftop garden. The family home, which is located on a remote Japanese island, was built out of woven bamboo lattice and clad with earthen walls . To create a strong connection between the home and nature, a spiraling garden that rises from the ground level provides optimal growing conditions for fresh vegetables and herbs that the family can enjoy year-round. Located on the remote island of Awaji, the home was built for a family of four. The architects designed it with an eye to withstandi the temperate climate on the island, but they also drew inspiration from the family’s nature-conscious lifestyle. Their first objective was to create a fertile area that could help feed the family year-round. Secondly, the master plan called for creating a closed-cycle landscape to make the home self-sufficient , enabling the family to live in harmony with the environment for years to come. Related: This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature The architects began by creating a large circular frame out of woven bamboo lattice. They then clad the round form with Sanwa Earth finish. On the interior, they used a technique called Tataki to create a  hard-packed earthen floor  out of dirt, lime and water. The walls were also made out of packed earth . The combination of earthen walls and flooring provides a tight thermal envelope for the home. In winter, the walls and floors absorb heat, which is released at night, keeping the living space warm. In the hot summer months, the home’s stack effect layout (a height difference between the central space and the rest of the home) enables optimal air circulation to cool the interior. Inspired by the family’s eco-conscious lifestyle, the architects wanted to incorporate greenery into the already eco-friendly home design. Accordingly, the roof was turned into a spiral garden whose shape provides optimal growing conditions. Rising up from the ground level, the rooftop garden wraps around the home, providing a perfect blend of sun exposure and humidity to grow a variety of plants and vegetables. Rainwater soaks the top part of the garden, then flows downwards to a series of retaining ponds filled with aquatic plants. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Photography by Kaori Ichikawa via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi

April 18, 2018 by  
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Vo Trong Nghia Architects puts a fresh spin on the ancient art of rammed earth construction in the Dong Anh house, a modern dwelling with fruit trees growing on the roofs. Taking advantage of the property’s secure and isolated location in Hanoi, the architects applied an “open garden design” that embraces nature in, around, and even on top of the home. The thick earth walls have the advantage of high thermal mass and keep the home cool by storing heat during the day and then dissipating that heat at night. Although Vietnam has a history of rammed earth construction, particularly in the country’s northwest region, most of the country’s construction relies primarily on concrete, not earth. In hopes of promoting the advantages of rammed earth walls in a modern context, Vo Trong Nghia Architects crafted the walls of the Dong Anh house out of soils taken from a variety of land mines, all within 20 miles of the site. The soils were then filtered, ground and mixed with cement and other additives before being compacted in formwork. The diversity of soils creates a unique striation on the compacted, nearly 14-inch-thick walls. Related: Trees grow on every balcony of this Hanoi university building Designed for a large family, the spacious 5,382-square-foot home covers two stories in a roughly H-shaped plan. The first floor comprises the main communal spaces as well as the maid room, storage, and three bedrooms. The second level includes two additional bedrooms and an outdoor courtyard . The fruit trees grown in large planters are located on both roofs. “Amount of fruit trees on the roof, along with the open garden around the house is another emphasis that makes a green, cool and friendly environment to the people,” wrote the architects. “And sloping roof is also a reasonable design for tropical monsoon climate in Vietnam.” + Vo Trong Nghia Architects Images by Hiroyuki Oki

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Fruit trees grow on the roofs of this rammed earth home in Hanoi

Lush rooftop oasis flourishes on a renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City

April 18, 2018 by  
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Formerly a derelict Art Deco structure, Casa Verne has been reborn as a contemporary family home with a secluded getaway in the center of a busy Mexico City neighborhood. Zeller & Moye renovated the 1930s townhouse and took care to preserve period features while injecting new modern touches. The crowning achievement can be found on the roof, where the architects created a lush garden and oasis of native plants. Zeller & Moye’s renovation of the townhouse stripped away internal walls to create more spacious living areas. New roof lights pull in natural light to the previously dim interior while whitewashed walls create a bright and airy atmosphere. Dark-stained wood used on the floors of the first level and on the staircase to the rooftop terrace provide a grounding contrast. Related: Green-roofed timber cabin floats above the ground in Mexico City The service spaces are located on the ground floor, while the main living areas on the first floor are accessed via a striking pink marble staircase. The architects also added a new top floor that houses the master bedroom suite and garden that’s surrounded by high walls for privacy. The floors of the extension as well as the garden path are finished in cut marble pebbles, a reference to Mexico City’s lost riverbeds and lakes. + Zeller & Moye Via Dezeen Images © Omar Mun?oz, Juan Carlos Garza

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Lush rooftop oasis flourishes on a renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City

Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

January 26, 2018 by  
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H&P Architects dramatically transformed an informal dumping ground in Mao Khe, Vietnam into a beautiful pavilion built mainly of locally sourced bamboo and earth. Named BE (bamboo & earth) friendly space, the structure comprises a zigzagging rammed-earth wall punctuated with multiple openings and topped with bamboo roofing. The project was created as part of a series of projects to create a “friendly space in suffocating urban areas” increasingly dominated by concrete. Located in the center of the populous Vietnamese town of Mao Khe, BE friendly space is a 220-square-meter pavilion made of local natural materials and constructed by local labor. “The objective of BE friendly space is to help raise social awareness of the need for friendly spaces for community in the context of urbanization and concretization which is gradually suffocating Mao Khe – one of the most populous towns in Vietnam, thereby making contributions to shaping actions of community in the process of creating sustainable spaces for the future immediately from today’s friendliness,” said H&P Architects in a design statement. Related: Plant-covered bamboo structure in Vietnam offers low-cost sanitation and food A 40-centimeter-thick zigzagging rammed-earth wall forms the spine of the project and its short, asymmetric form stands out from the skinny modern apartments that surround it. Randomly placed windows connect the various spaces enclosed by the wall and promote natural ventilation . BE friendly space comprises several multifunctional open areas, while the service room, kitchen, and toilets are located in the fully enclosed rammed-earth building on the east side of the site. + H&P Architects Images by Nguyen Tien Thanh, Doan Thanh Ha

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Dumping ground reborn as beautiful bamboo and rammed-earth community space

Mirrored home in the woods is hidden in plain sight

January 3, 2018 by  
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Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao has hidden part of a holiday home inside a forest by cladding it in mirrored glass . With a footprint of just under 2,200 square feet, Los Terrenos (Spanish for “The Terrains”) comprises three structures, each built with one of three main materials: mirrored glass, earth, or wood. Despite the diversity in construction materials, beautiful and complementary modern interiors are woven throughout the experimental residence. Located on a forested slope in Monterrey, Los Terrenos currently comprises two structures—the third, which will be built of wood and elevated for treetop views, has yet to be built. The larger of the two completed buildings is clad in mirrored glass and houses an open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen in a double-height space. The one-way mirrors gives the building a greenhouse feel with floor-to-ceiling views of the forest. Related: Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 house could help solve Mexico’s social housing shortage The private areas consisting of two bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the L-shaped building built of clay brick and rammed earth placed diagonally opposite of the mirrored structure. A gorgeous chevron-shaped clay-brick wall in the bedrooms stylistically matches the chevron -shaped ceramic divider found in living room and the paver patterns on the paths around the residence. The bedrooms also look out to sweeping views of the forest. + Tatiana Bilbao Via Architectural Record Images by Rory Gardiner

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Post-earthquake home in China wins World Building of the Year 2017

November 20, 2017 by  
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A humanitarian project built with affordable, low-tech materials has won this year’s World Building of the Year at the tenth annual World Architecture Festival . Designed by The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Kunming University of Science and Technology, the award-winning Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Project is a prototype house located in China’s Guangming Village, an area devastated by the 2014 Ludian earthquake. The rammed-earth house was recognized for its innovative reconstruction strategy merging modern strategies with local building materials to create an energy-efficient, earthquake-resistant home that can be affordably built by local residents. The post-earthquake prototype home was built for an elderly couple and as a demonstration project to show villagers how rammed earth construction can be modern, economical, and earthquake resistant. After the 2014 earthquake flattened many traditional rammed-earth buildings, villagers sought brick-concrete construction as a safer alternative but found it cost-prohibitive. The designers and researchers developed an anti-seismic earth building strategy to turn the conversation back to the local building material, while introducing new construction components to reinforce building strength and thermal performance. The walls of the home are built of local materials , such as clay, sand, and grass. Steel bars and concrete belts are embedded into the walls for structural integrity, while double-glazed windows and an insulated roof improve thermal performance. The building’s emphasis on comfort, natural light, and respect for local architecture forms has presumably helped the new building strategy (built to meet local seismic codes) gain acceptance among the community. Related: Poland’s National Museum in Szczecin wins World Building of the Year 2016 “The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF Programme Director Paul Finch commented. “This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.” + World Architecture Festival

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

September 12, 2017 by  
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Mother Nature has reclaimed a former gravel extraction area in Maasvalley Riverpark, a 2,500-hectare nature reserve straddling the Belgium-Netherlands border. To help visitors fully experience the revitalized area, De Gouden Liniaal Architecten designed a small observation tower that blends into the landscape with its rammed earth walls. Built of locally excavated materials, the Observation Tower Negenoord is the first public earthen building in the Benelux region. The 46-square-meter observation tower is located on a small hill in the heart of the former gravel mine, Negenoord. Although the tower features a sandblasted concrete core, it is clad in external walls built of locally sourced ochre-colored earth, clay, and gravel created with rammed earth building techniques and stabilized with mortar made of volcanic rock. Over time, the external walls will slowly erode away to reveal the gravel aggregate; the gravel content is also visible in the sandblasted concrete core. “To guarantee the quality of the construction, the design team was supported by an international team of experts: Cratterre/ Vessières&Cie/ BC Studies,” wrote the architects. “The earth-consultants analyzed different local materials, tried different mixes and evaluated them on compression force, abrasion, color and appearance. The chosen mix consisted of 20% gravel, 40% ochre-colored earth, and 40% clay , stabilized with Trasslime. Through its materialization, the building tells us about the location it’s built. and becomes strongly anchored in its environment.” Related: Giant timber periscope tower offers lakeside views to everyone — even those with disabilities Roughly triangular in plan, the observation tower features three staircases with landings that offer different views of the landscape. The rammed earth construction took seven weeks to complete, with about 20-meters-cubed of rammed earth finished every week. + De Gouden Liniaal Architecten Via ArchDaily Images by Filip Dujardin

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Rammed-earth walls clad an observation tower to blend into a Belgian nature reserve

Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home

December 12, 2016 by  
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Innovative, eco-friendly materials and contemporary design form the basis for Willow Grove, a modern home in the Australian farming community of the same name. Finnis Architects designed the small three-bedroom house for a couple that sought a slower pace of life away from city living. Rammed earth walls made from locally sourced materials serve as the focal point of the design, which comprises two wings that spread out and overlook views of the countryside. The rammed earth walls , which can be seen at the entrance, cut through the home and create a connection between the interior and exterior. The warm-toned and textured look of rammed earth creates a sharp contrast with the dark polished concrete floors, and that dichotomy is enhanced by a minimalist materials and color palette. The facade is clad in corrugated metal sheeting as a reference to the rural area’s corrugated country sheds. Related: 8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford The wedge-shaped entry framed by the angled rammed earth walls open up to two wings on either side. The west wing houses the open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen. The wing to the east contains two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room, and a master suite. Large windows frame hillside views and let in natural light , while large overhanging eaves mitigate solar heat gain and accentuate the roofline’s winged shape. + Finnis Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Finnis Architects , by Nic Granleese

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8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford

October 18, 2016 by  
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1. Dome-shaped earth bag house keeps residents cool in Colombia La Casa Vergara’s uncommon dome shapes may captivate the eye, but what’s underneath is most impressive. The Bogota home, built by architect Jose Andres Vallejo , is made from “ earth bags ,” or tubular bags stuffed with – you guessed it – earth. These bags are stacked atop each other and encased in concrete on both sides, which work together to prevent both earthquake and water damage. Exposed timber beams and plentiful daylighting make everyday living a bit greener and the $28 per square foot price tag puts the home within many buyers’ price range. 2. A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days These charming hobbit-like dwellings are prefabricated by Magic Green Homes and can be constructed in just three days. Sized at 400-square-feet, the green-roofed living spaces are so easy to assemble, practically anyone can do it. They require no heavy equipment to build, instead utilizing perforated flaps that are screwed and sealed together. Magic Green Homes adapt to any topography around the world, making this a dream come true for nearly anyone. 3. Build your own disaster-proof earth home using materials of war For anyone who is interested in building their own earth home, yet doesn’t know where to start, the guidance of Cal-Earth might come in handy. The California-based group teaches others DIY methods for creating your own dwelling using sustainable and disaster-proof materials. The group specializes in reusing materials of war and fortifying homes located in areas at risk of natural disasters. Sandbags packed with earth, barbed wire for tension, and stabilizing materials such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion all come together in a comfortable home that can withstand the elements. 4. Passive solar orphanage constructed with earth bags Orkidstudio , an organization that specializes in humanitarian design, opened up an orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya that is made entirely out of earth bags. The passive solar structure absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, creating a comfortable space for the children and staff inside. The orphanage is clad in recycled timber and features running water sourced from an on-site rainwater collection system. Not only did the project come together to produce an inviting and efficient facility, but it was put together in only eight weeks by a team of UK architecture students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=522&v=U9b-h_cCdO8 5. Earth Home Builder machine “3D prints” entire homes from bags of earth Building low-cost, environmentally friendly homes is a sign of moving in the right direction and the Earth Home Builder makes the process amazingly efficient. Working similarly to a 3D printer , the skid-operated machine can fill bags of earth at a rate of 400 bags per hour. Given that only 30 bags can be filled at the hands of humans, the machine could revolutionize access to affordable and responsible housing. United Earth Builders , who developed the technology, are working to find non-profit partners to help bring earth homes to the masses. 6. Budget-minded rammed Earth home in Mexico One family in Mexico opted to create a multi-colored home on a budget with the help of architect Tatiana Bilbao ’s expertise. The rammed earth dwelling is mesmerizing inside and out, thanks to the clever practice of adding pigment to the material before layering the walls from the ground up. The distinct effect only adds to the temperature control qualities of the home, which is essential during the hot Mexican summers. Ajijic House features floor-to-ceiling windows and two open terraces to take advantage of the breathtaking coastal views. Indoors, the use of locally-sourced pine wood flooring allows the family to enjoy beautiful details in their home without breaking the bank. 7. Luxurious Triksa Villa combines rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood When building using earthen materials, it is possible to create a home that would rival the most luxurious of vacation spots. Chiangmai Life Construction has built the Triksa Villa in northern Thailand, a stunning structure made from part rammed earth, and part mixture of clay and concrete for the foundation. Adobe brick walls keep the space a comfortable temperature while the bamboo roof gives the company sustainable material bragging rights. Recycled hardwood and a lavish outdoor pool setting shatter any preconceived notion that green building materials cannot produce an eye-catching slice of paradise. 8. Rural Ghana home built from rammed earth and recycled plastic In the countryside of Ghana lies this unique home made from rammed earth , recycled plastic, and fortified against the elements using natural materials. The home was constructed from student Anna Webster’s winning design through a Nka Foundation building competition. She states, “We aimed to overcome the negative associations of these materials and move away from the primitive image of building with earth by applying a modern design aesthetic.” Plastic waste is repurposed into window screens and roof materials and the sturdy rammed earth walls are covered in a cassava starch sealant to prevent exterior water damage. The home cost just $7865 to construct and serves as an example of what can be done with found materials and a little creativity. Images via Nka Foundation , Chiangmai Life Construction ,  United Earth Builders ,  Jose Andres Vallejo ,  Cal-Earth ,  Tatiana Bilbao ,  Orkidstudio , Green Magic Homes

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