Buy The Book–Earth Architecture

Earth Architecture, the best-selling book born from this blog, has received several reviews. Buy Earth Architecture and read what others are talking about:

“…an excellent and thoughtful survey of earthen structures across the world and throughout building history.”—Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG

“…an excellent book that outlines the history and explores in-depth contemporary uses of earth in architecture….a powerful corrective to those commentators that view buildings made of earth, or the matter that constitutes earth buildings (mud, sand, gravel, soils), as primitive, poor, or crude.”—David Gissen, Architectural Historian

“Earth Architecture compellingly underscores the need for us to rethink how we can build sustainably by using old techniques in new ways.”—Azure Magazine

written in “simple, descriptive prose, each project is traced in a way that creates an anthology and motivates the reader to further study and research. The book is rich in content and draws in other authors, architects, historical buildings and periods.”—Building Design

“…a satisfying survey both for the professional “mudder” and for those who want a quick scholarly survey of earthen buildings from all over.”—Architects Newspaper

A “Must Have”—

“…contains a wide range of modern earthen residences from the simple to the stunningly opulent. A beautiful book for earth-based building enthusiasts.”—

“…brings to the fore earth architecture and its positive impact on architectural design….an important addition to any architect’s library for its important subject matter and the quality of projects included.”—A Daily Dose of

Earth Architecture “charts a grand history of architectural beauty crafted from one of the humblest of building materials”.—The Age, Melbourne

Buy Earth Architecture if you live in the following countries::

[ U.S. | Japan | Germany | U.K. | France | Canada | Australia ]

Más es Menos: Construir en Barro—Una Arquitectura de Futuro

“Más es menos”. Construir en barro. Una arquitectura de futuro, que se edita con la colaboración del Ayuntamiento de Benavente y la Obra social de Caja España, consta de 192 páginas con abundancia de ilustraciones a color. En el índice figuran los títulos de las diez conferencias pronunciadas por los expertos invitados (antropólogos, historiadores, arquitectos y promotores), precedidos de una presentación a cargo del coordinador, en la que se detalla el desarrollo de las jornadas.

AZURE reviews Earth Architecture

The May, 2009 issue of AZURE Magazine reviews Earth Architecture.

“Our planet’s oldest building traditions continue to inspire and shelter us despite the complexities of the modern age,” writes Ronald Rael, author of this compact but mighty book of more than 40 contemporary buildings crafted from the most common building material in the world: the ground beneath our feet.

An architect and academic, Rael explores the relationship between industrial and non-industrial modes of production, so it is apt that this book simultaneously discusses the past and present. Carefully selected examples from recent decades share a primal quality, despite being of their time. The Nk’Mip Desert Interpretive Centre in Canada, by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden, and the Chapel of Reconciliation in Germany, by Reitermann and Sassenroth both serve as powerful examples of how earth constructions can create a literal and material connection to the landscape, whether at the base of a mountain in the desert, or out of the ruins of a church.

The featured projects range from resorts in the highland villages of Bhutan to houses in the Arizona desert. Rael connects them through a rich historical and vernacular discussion about mud bricks, compressed earth blocks, and rammed and moulded earth. Ecological sustainability is one benefit of building with earth, but Rael also discusses cultural sustainability, as developing countries with strong earth-building traditions forgo domestic construction knowledge in favour of the growing use of concrete blocks and the Western ideals of “advancement” they represent. One exception is the Aga-Khan Award–winning Handmade School designed by Austrian-German architects Heringer-Roswag, where the structure improves on the durability of Bangledeshi cob culture. Throughout, Earth Architecture compellingly underscores the need for us to rethink how we can build sustainably by using old techniques in new ways.–Nova Tayona

Read the review at:

LEHM Conference Proceedings

The Dachverband Lehm e.V. announces the availability of conference proceedings from the 4th and 5th International Conferences on Building with Earth from 2004 and 2008.

LEHM 2008: Conference proceedings

The conference proceedings were published on the occasion of the 5th international conference on building with earth in Leipzig. The book contains all papers and posters presented at the conference in both English and German languages. Central topics include earth building norms and regulations, education and training in earth building, current research into building with earth, information networks in earth building, current problems in earthen building practice and new projects and exemplary conversions.

Published by: Dachverband Lehm e.V., 288 pages with illustrations
ISBN 978-3-00-025956-2, October 2008, German and English

Price: 50 Euro + P&P

LEHM 2004: Conference proceedings

The conference proceedings were published on the occasion of the 4th international conference on building with earth in Leipzig. The book contains all papers and posters presented at the conference in both English and German languages. Central topics include UNESCO world heritage, earth in building conservation, new projects and reducing the seismic vulnerability of earthen buildings.

Published by : Dachverband Lehm e.V., ISBN 3 00 014864 7, 324 pages with illustrations, October 2004, German and English.

Price: 35 Euro + P&P

The conference proceedings can be ordered directly from the Dachverband Lehm e.V.

Dachverband Lehm e.V.
Postfach 1172
99409 Weimar

A Mudbrick City Wall at Hattuša

Situated in Central Anatolia, Hattuša remained the capital city of the Hittites from 1650/1600 to around 1200 BC. Here, as recently as 2003 to 2005, the German Archaeological Institute has rebuilt one stretch of the mudbrick city wall. The scope of this project in experimental archaeology has been to recreate a part of the wall using the same materials the Hittites had at hand when they built their original walls so long ago. Each step necessary for the construction was fully documented so as to enable us to assess not only the amount of building materials required but also the manpower and time the Hittites must have invested in the various tasks of construction.

This volume presents the results gleaned from this documentation. From the production of the first mudbrick to the dedication of the finished structure, each and every undertaking has been described in detail and is presented here accompanied by 573 illustrations.

For more information visit:

German Institute of Archaeology (In english, german and turkish)

Hattuscha-webpage (in English, German and Turkish)

This book is published also in German and Turkish:

Die Lehmziegel-Stadtmauer von Hattusa
Bericht über eine Rekonstruktion
ISBN 978-975-807-194-7

Hattusa Kerpic Kent Suru
Bir Rekonstrüksiyon Çal??mas?
ISBN 978-975-807-193-9

The Architecture of Yemen

The result of nearly two decades of research, The Architecture of Yemen: From Yafi to Hadramut the first book to offer an in-depth investigation into the characteristic architecture of the southern and eastern towns of Yemen, which until the early 1990s were extremely difficult of access. The author’s first-hand research provides detailed insights into building design, techniques and methods that, though rich in tradition and accomplishment, are little known outside the region.

Refreshingly, the book moves out of the more familiar major cities into the hinterlands and explores areas that could be said to be the last strongholds of vernacular Arab architecture. The author, Salma Samar Damluji, was allowed to visit locations and sites previously closed or unfamiliar to architects and foreigners. As a result of this privileged access, the text and images combine to convey unique insights and viewpoints: those of the master builders and house owners who actually create and inhabit the buildings. In addition to approximately 700 colour images and architectural drawings, a unique glossary of over 900 terms complements the text.

New Orleans Marine Hospital 1867 was Rammed Earth

The all-iron Marine Hospital, innovative in its day, yet doomed by construction costs. Photo / Theodore Lilienthal

A new book of essays, New Orleans 1867: Photographs by Theodore Lilienthal, on rediscovered photographs of New Orleans in 1867, written by the curator of architecture and design at the MIT Museum, shows how the city tried to rebuild its economy and retrieve its prestige in the aftermath of war. One of the photographs is of a vast, domed building under construction at the edge of the city turned out to be the Marine Hospital, New Orleans’ version of Boston’s Big Dig. The iron building, insulated with rammed earth, was thought to be lighter and therefore better suited to swampy local conditions, as well as fireproof. The proposal was innovative but the technology was costly, a sinkhole of federal money. Never completed, eventually demolished, the hospital was one of the most advanced buildings of its time, but it has been forgotten today.