RAMMED EARTH

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In Europe, Martin Rauch is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern technical and creative applications for traditional rammed earth construction. His work encompasses residential, hotel, ecclesiastical and industrial buildings, interior design and landscape design in Germany, Britain, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, including projects with Herzog & de Meuron and Schneider + Schumacher. His “Church of Reconciliation” in Berlin was the first load-bearing structure to be built with rammed earth in Germany in the last ninety years. Together with local architects Rauch constructed experimental family homes in Vorarlberg, Austria, and with Kienast Vogt & Partner, he designed a series of garden and park projects. The volume Rammed Earth: Terra Cruda by Martin Rauch and Otto Kapfinger is the definitive introduction to contemporary building with rammed earth.

WPA Earth Buildings

It is often forgotten that when the United States was dealing with the economic depression of the 1930’s, the federal government sponsored adobe home-building project in several locations across the country. One outstanding example was at Bosque Farms, a small farming community a few miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The community was established to help relocate farm families devastated by the droughts that created the “Great Dust Bowl” of northern New Mexico, west Texas and Oklahoma. The government acceptance of earth building techniques during the Great Depression years of the 1930’s was also seen in Gardendale, Alabama, where a homestead program was instituted.

San Felipe Pueblo

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This postcard is captioned PUEBLO OF SAN FELIPE, NEW MEXICO. The back reads, The Pueblo lies on the east bank of the Rio Grande, about three miles from Bernalillo, and may be seen from the car windows en route to Albuquerque. The population is about 600. The church is one of the sights of the pueblo, having two towers and a large yard, the whole being enclosed with a high arched adobe wall. there is also the ever present Estufa or sacred meeting place where the chiefs congregate at times. The pueblo Indian while maintaining the mission churches still preserves many of the tribal customs. Circa 1915-1929

Ziggurat at Ur

One of the most intriguing monuments still standing in Iraq is the Ziggurat at Ur. A ziggurat is a colossal stepped platform; and it is thought that ziggurats supported temples at their tops. These ziggurats were built during the third millennium B.C. Archaeologists don’t know for certain what the purpose of these ziggurats was; however, it is speculated that they had some connection with religion. There are several ziggurats visible throughout Iraq, the most famous of which is the ziggurat at Ur in the south of Iraq. The core of the ziggurat at Ur was constructed using mud bricks which were then covered with baked bricks. The mud bricks were made out of mud and reed; the reed was pressed into moulds that had been left to dry in the sun. Each brick measured around 25 x 16 x 7 centimeters and weighed around 4.5 kilograms.

Ctesiphon Arch

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The Ctesiphon arch is considered as one of the many architectural wonders of Mesopotamia. This arch was built in 400 A.D. by the Parthian Persians to be the largest single-span vault of un-reinforced brickwork in the world. The arch has a span of seventy-five feet and is about 110 feet high.It stands in the ancient city of Ctesiphon. Ctesiphon is a historically significant city that lies on the east bank of the Tigris River just south of Baghdad. The Ctesiphon arch is a pointed ovoid peculiar to Mesopotamian architecture; it was built using unfired, thin mud bricks which were laid on a slant.