EarthCo Megablock™

The EarthCo Megablock™ is a construction delivery system that combines onsite manufacturing with a simple and efficient mechanical placement. The system converts local soils into giant modular building blocks—a small block can measure 18” wide by 12” tall is over 14 feet long and weighs more than 1 ton.

Example of an compressed and extruded Megablock™

Earthquake Resistant Housing

Specialist earth builder, President of the Earth Building Association of Australia, and guest researcher in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Peter Hickson, has combined one the world’s most ancient building techniques, “cob” construction, with modern engineering methods to develop a model house as part of an effort to createlow cost earthquake resistant housing for millions of people around the world. Hickson’s house introduces many new technologies, but what makes his system unique structurally is the addition of internalbamboo reinforcing and the use of structural diaphragms. Read more about Hickson’s research.

Earthquake Proofing Traditional Peruvian Houses

Since 1970, Peru has been hit by five powerful and deadly earthquakes. The latest struck Peru’s coast exactly two years ago with a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter scale. It fiercely shook the capital Lima, but its devastating epicentre was about 200km (124 miles) to the south, near the town of Pisco, a small fishing port built largely of adobe – mud bricks which Peruvians have used for thousands of years. For Peruvian engineer Marcial Blondet, it was the devastating quake in 1970 that first motivated him to develop earthquake-resistant buildings, particularly for those who could least afford them. Mr Blondet and his team found a solution in an industrial plastic mesh used by mining companies to hold back earth on slopes. It is strong, cheap and easy to use. Securely enveloping a normal mud-brick home in the mesh can prevent the walls from collapsing in an earthquake. The building wobbles but it does not fall down.

Modern Rammed Chalk

Credit: The White balance

Dan Brill Architects has designed a £50,000 extension to an Edwardian home on the outskirts of Winchester using rammed chalk. The chalk, which makes up the soil of the site was considered as it is a traditional technique in the region and because of the large amount of excavation required to accommodate the addition.

Credit: The White balance

The clients, who wanted something contemporary and innovative, appreciated rammed earth and more so the pristine appearance of the stark, white chalk walls. The material has been used in modern construction in the Pines Calyx project. It was also used in the construction of eight experimental cottages at the Department of Industrial Science and Research at Amesbury between 1919 and 1921. Construction is slated for later this year.

Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts by Mauricio Rocha

The Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts was designed by Taller de Arquitectura—Mauricio Rocha at the request of artist Francisco Toledo, in collaboration with the Benito Juárez University. An important premise incorporated into the project was the presence on the plot of land of a Mixtec ball game, used on weekends by players.

Several campus construction project occurring at the same time made available a tremendous amount of earth, inspiring Rocha to construct several of the buildings within complex out of rammed earth. This enhanced the quality of the exterior courtyards and created a comfortable micro-climate within the building optimal for Oaxaca. Other buildings are made of stone and create a series of inhabitable terraces.

Exterior courtyards suggest a floor layout in the shape of a chessboard, where the alternation between mass and space in the walkways creates a variety of views and paths.

Read more about The Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts.