Tarrawarra Museum of Art

Intended to emerge powerfully from the landscape this ultra modern gallery displays the talents of Melbourne architect Allan Powell. Almost like an earthworks sculpture that can be read as an artefact, the TarraWarra Musem of Art in Yarra Glen is a monument to modernism. Allan Powell has constructed a simple shape with the effect of a half built or buried building, which confounds the eye and engages the senses. The stunning tan and clay coloured structure rises out of the green vines of the Yarra Valley creating an unexpected vision in the valley. Sensually curved around the site, the building is primarily of dressed stone and rendered walls, coloured rendered concrete walls, and rammed earth walls, and the architect has achieved the feeling that ‘ this building is of the earth’. Visitors to this new gallery are convinced that the complex is of handcrafted natural materials and that each of the columns is different. TarraWarra Museum of Art has been entered into Institutional new category of the architecture awards. [ Download PDF ]

Tecnobarro and Quincha Metálica

Usualmente, cuando se habla de construcción con tierra cruda, se piensa inmediatamente en la construcción con “adobe”, sin embargo ambos términos no son sinónimos: el adobe es una de las tantas técnicas de construcción con tierra. Entre algunas de ellas destacan las tradicionales y más utilizadas en nuestro país, como lo son el tapial y la quincha, y otras técnicas mixtas nuevas, como el denominado tecnobarro y la quincha metálica.

Library and Archive at Douai Abbey

Architect David Richmond & Partners and structural engineer Price & Myers are creating a rammed earth wall using local soil for a new library and archive at Douai Abbey. The proposed 300mm-thick, 2.7m-tall earth walls, which will be built on a 100mm-tall concrete plinth, offer the right amount of thermal mass to ensure a stable internal temperature. When built, it will be the only library in the UK to use rammed earth technology. It is also the first time that either the architect or the structural engineer have worked with rammed earth.

Shiny Mud Balls

At elementary schools, kindergartens, and preschools all across Japan, kids are losing themselves making hikaru dorodango, or balls of mud that shine. Behind this boom is Professor Fumio Kayo of the Kyoto University of Education. Kayo is a psychologist who researches children’s play, and he first came across these glistening dorodango at a nursery school in Kyoto two years ago. He was impressed and devised a method of making dorodango that could be followed even by children. Once Kayo teaches children how to make these mud balls, they become absorbed in forming a sphere, and they put all their energy into polishing the ball until it sparkles. The dorodango soon becomes the child’s greatest treasure. Kayo sees in this phenomenon the essence of children’s play, and he has written academic papers on the subject. The mud balls could also offer fresh insights into how play aids children’s growth.