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 ]

Johanna House

The Johanna House, designed by Nicholas Burns, is a 4 bedrooms, 2 bath house with an open kitchen, dining/living room and cellar located on Johanna beach, Victoria, Australia. The site is on a secluded 100 acres of pristine bush land adjoining the national park with extensive views of the ocean, protected wilderness with known endangered flora and fauna. No trees were cleared in the construction of the house.

Materials used were rammed earth, concrete, glass and steel to create a discrete insertion into the landscape, a journey of gradual and layered concealment and opening of the landscape and ocean; contrasting contraction and expansion, heavy and light, opaque and transparent. Pure geometry and detailing to create a stillness, a dematerialising interconnection with nature, landscape and the passing of time, place and present. More pictures of the construction process and the final result available here.


John Novotny, a Melbourne resident, has developed a very simple and innovative method of rammed earth construction that results in houses massively cheaper than conventional ones and with amazing environmental benefits. Mixing the ancient universal simplicity of earth with modern engineering principles, Novotny developed a concrete-jacket rammed-earth wall system (“Novoram”) that is simple to construct and structurally robust. The resulting walls are built mostly of earth but have a thin concrete jacket and concrete posts integrated into the wall.

Earth Architecture and Wine

Many wineries and residences among vineyards employ earth in the construction of buildings. Often, the same earth to grow grapes is ideal for use as a building material.

National Wine Centre

Vineyard Residence

Residence at Meteor Vineyards

Bodega en Los Robles

Margan Tasting Room and Restaurant

The list goes on and on: [ Fetzer Winery Administration Building | Moorooduc Estate | Texas Hills Vineyard | Adinfern Estate | Wing Canyon Vineyard | Home Hill Winery ]

Red Hill Residence


The Red Hill Residence designed by CHRISTOPHERCHRIS PTY LTD ARCHITECTURE was constructed in Mornington Peninsula, Australia. More images of the project can be found at Arkinetia where they write, the house is “constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar panelling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property. The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall.”

Earth Building Research Forum

The Earth Building Research Forum was set up by Dr Kevan Heathcote and Mr Gregory Moor in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building of UTS in December 1999. It was originally envisaged as a forum for disseminating ideas and research into the performance of earth buildings but has since been widened to include a database of earth building projects, information on forthcoming conferences, linkages to other earth building sites and to include more general articles on the subject. The Forum hosted an international earth building conference at UTS in January 2005 (EarthBuild 2005) and this is planned to be a biennial event. The Conference brought together engineers, environmentalists, builders and architects from around the world.