A team of MIT architecture students built a wall behind the MIT Museum of rammed earth using a combination of 30 percent Boston Blue Clay mixed with sand and gravel. Twelve tons of this clay, common at depths of 30 to 60 feet in the metropolitan Boston area, came from the excavation site of a new building at Harvard. “The wall will serve as a long-term test of rammed earth in New England, allowing us to observe the way various soil types used in construction stand up to the climate,” said Joe Dahmen, a graduate student in architecture who is leading the project. [ more at livescience ]
Ginger Krieg, Dharmesh Patel, Paul Puzzello and Juan Torres, Students from the Cranbrook Department of Architecture, are experimenting with Hand formed soil/clay bricks. (non-fired) They built a wall from the bricks utilizing random soil found in the Detroit metro area. The dimensions of the bricks were 3″ x 6″ x 12″ comprised of only sifted soil and water. In the 10-day project approximately 400 bricks were produced. More images 1| 2 | 3
In 1943, Clara Alexander of Salem, Missouri, began constructing her rammed earth home. The overseer of the construction was Guy Eveland, a concrete and masonary expert. He had learned of the feasibility of this type of structure when he observed several of these houses while in France during World War I.
According to the discussion group at www.designcommunity.com, “Frank Lloyd Wright did design a berm house for a small commune who were building their own homes outside of Detroit in 1940 or 1941. Construction was begun on one house when the war intervened. The other oddity about this design was the use of rammed earth for the walls. The unfinished house was abandoned when the residents were drafted.”
The New York Earth Room, 1977, is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by artist Walter de Maria, the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist. The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation and is an interior earth sculpture comprised of 250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters) over 3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters) with a 22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters). The total weight of the sculpture is 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos).
The Temple Block is a ten acre square, encompassed by a solid stone and adobe wall, 12′ high and 3′ thick, with large gates on each of the 4 sides. Within the walls are the Great Mormon Temple Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, Bureau of Information, Museum and the First House built in Utah, which is also constructed of adobe.