17 dezembro 2012

Rammed Earth House in Maun_Botswana

These  photos are from the construction process of a rammed earth house built in Maun, Botswana, by Arch. Paul Marais, researcher from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in association with the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales on the study of sustainable technology in southern Africa.
Using soil escavated from the site as well as additional soil from aprox. 80km away (to improve structural aspects but also the aesthetics) this is a beatifully simple but significant example of earth construction as a resilient and universal material / technology.
Ramming the earth was done by hand inside plywood forms, which were reused after ramming for the roof structure.
The earth walls turned out fantastic, and the building respond nice and cool specially in the 35+ tough temperatures common in Maun.

" Buildings are energy and they use energy in their daily use. Sustainable Design looks at optimising energy use and harnessing the energy that arrives daily. Buildings have a certain amount of energy used in the process of building them and then they require energy for coolth and warmth, light and dark and suppling water and removing waste.
The energy that goes into building the building, creating it's materials, feeding the artisans and getting it all to the building site, we call the embodied energy.
This is tricky to measure exactly as you can imagine (how much oil and petrol and farmers braai went into that peanut butter that mainly produced a sleepy constructor?) so we use generalised measures and common sense . We know that materials found on site have a low embodied energy so we use natural materials sourced on site where possible. We must also consider the energy use during the buildings lifetime.
This may seem insignificant at first (what's a few heaters compared to ton's of coal used to make concrete) but it can be higher than the embodied energy as it will be over a very long period.
Buildings can be orientated to use the sun's energy for heating and cooling electricity generation and to reduce water and waste energy needs. Another form of energy that we consider in sustainable design is the energy of the occupants of the building.
People have strong cultural and social links to the physical space that they inhabit - sustainable design investigates their needs, wants and desires, creating solutions that fit!"
Paul Marais

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