Further Improved Rammed Earth Stoves, or F.I.R.E.S., are promoted by the East Africa Trust as a way to improve self-sufficiency and sustainability in Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique and beyond.
In a small shed on an industrial park near Pisa is a machine that can print buildings. The machine itself looks like a prototype for the automotive industry. Four columns independently support a frame with a single armature on it. Driven by CAD software installed on a dust-covered computer terminal, the armature moves just millimetres above a pile of sand, expressing a magnesium-based solution from hundreds of nozzles on its lower side. It makes four passes. The layer dries and Enrico Dini recalibrates the armature frame. The system deposits the sand and then inorganic binding ink. The exercise is repeated. The millennia-long process of laying down sedimentary rock is accelerated into a day. A building emerges.
The new material (inorganic binder + sand or mineral dust) has been subjected to traction, compression and bending tests. The results have been extraordinary and the artificial sandstone features excellent resistance properties. Effectively this process returns any type of sand or mineral dust back to its original compact stone state.
The binder transforms any kind of sand or marble dust into a stone-like material (i.e. a mineral with microcrystalline characteristics) with a resistance and traction superior to portland cement, to a point where there is no need to use iron to reinforce the structure. This artificial stone is chemically one hundred percent environmentally friendly.
The process is four times faster than conventional building, costs a third to a half as much as using Portland cement, creates little waste and is better for the environment. But its chief selling point may simply be that it makes creating Gaudiesque, curvy structures simple.
The Musgum, an ethnic group in far north province in Cameroon, create their tall conical dwellings from compressed sun-dried mud. Called Cases Obos, the profile of the structure is that of a catenary arch— the ideal mathematical form to bear a maximum weight ?with minimal material.
The relief pattern on the surface is a built-in scaffolding that can support the body to allow for maintenance of the structure by the re-application of mud to the surface.
research.terra is a multi-language website intended to serve as a tool for the community of both researchers and others interested in the subject of earth construction. It will allow one to follow the research work that has been, or is being carried out, all over the world. The main goal is to create a database that will be updated regularly, containing some basic information regarding the research, such as the title and the direct link for the work (if available online).
The Mud Tub, by Tom Gerhardt, is an experimental organic interface that allows people to control a computer while playing in the mud. By sloshing, squishing, pulling, punching, etc, in a tub of mud (yes, wet dirt), users control games, simulators, and expressive tools; interacting with a computer in a new, completely organic, way. Born out of a motivation to close the gap between our bodies and the digital world, the Mud Tub frees the traditional computer interaction model of it’s rigidity, allowing humans to use their highly developed sense of touch, and creative thinking skills in a more natural way.
The conflict over water and land in Sudan has created political unrest for decades. However, in 2007, scientists from Boston University discovered and underground ?lake in the region of Darfur, Sudan. This lake is tenth biggest lake in the world (31, 000 m2) ?and would have great potential in resolving the conflict if managed correctly. Addressing this water issue, Polish architect Hugon Kowalski from H3AR Architect and Design ?recently proposed a building that allows access to underground waters through the application ?of water pumps. The form of the building was inspired by a water tower and also by the symbol of the African savanna—the baobab. The building houses water pumps, a treatment plant but ?also a hospital, a school and a food storage center. This building is meant to provoke economical development but also stimulate cultural exchange and the coexistence of the three different religions and languages in Sudan.
The building walls are constructed using compressed dry stacked clay bricks, made on site ?using a rough mixture of earth, cement and water. The bricks would be baked in the hot ?sun, thus, requiring no extra energy and limiting the environmental impact of the materials. ?The choice of using this technology represents the desire to introduce alternative and ?sustainable technologies within a context that is tied to standardized though not always ?optimal building practice.
Two water circulation processes would be in place. First set of extracted water is meant ?to heat or cool the building, and is accessible to the users. Second, set of extracted water?is used for the building itself (i.e. kitchen, toilets).