Using concrete and mud bricks, architects Solanito Benítez, Gloria Cabral, María Rovea y Ricardo Sargiotti have constructed a unique wall by hastening the erosion of the mud by washing it away once the concrete mortar had cured, leaving voids in the places where mud bricks were set.
More information on the project at platforma Arquitectura.
Australian rap star Iggy Azalea grew up in a house that her father built by hand from mud bricks, surrounded by 5 hectares of land. She reminisces about it in her song Work:
You can hate it or love it
Hustle and the struggle is the only thing I’m trusting
Thorough bread in a mud brick before the budget
White chick on that Pac shit
My passion was ironic
And my dreams were uncommon
This Earth-inspired project by Tres Birds Workshop is a 7,000 sf private artist’s residency that uses 100% renewable resources, demonstrating fossil-free potential of the built environment. Four vertical geothermal wells were installed to transfer the Earth’s energy to the building’s heating and cooling system. A solar electric roof on the carport generates energy for interior LED lighting and electricity. To test the energy efficiency of the structure, a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) was performed, ranking it in the 74th percentile and exceeding code requirements by three times.
The structure was built using 200 tons of rammed Earth, a composite of regional dirt and pigments, compressed into 30” thick walls. This adds significant thermal mass to the building’s whole, optimal for temperature regulation. Bearing the structural load, these dense walls allow the space to exist free from obstructions, ideal for a simplified interior and exhibiting artwork.
More information at tresbirds.com/SWOON
Revealing the Potential of Compressed Earth Blocks—A Study in the Materiality of Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB): Lightness, Tactility, and Formability, by Egyptian architect Omar Rabie, documents explorations of the potential of CEB while studying at MIT, The Architectural Association and Auroville.
In these two experimental mock-ups, Rabie explored the different possibilities of bondings using one block—specifically how the shape of the single block influences the block bonding patterns in a stack bond and running bond.
This portion of a wall was built of specially formed interlocking blocks to increase friction to test how high friction masonry wall will highly resist lateral loads in comparison to walls constructed with standard blocks. In this case, the blocks are interlocked in the long direction of the wall. This experiment proved that it is possible to freely form more complex CEBs and build walls with an unusual bonds, like this strong zigzag bond.
[ Download Rabie’s entire report here. ]