Yung Ho Chang explains that there are two types of projects; THE project and The Other project. The former is concerned with big, iconic building, the latter addresses small, urban fabric, local projects. Chang presents a perspective to reconsider THE and The Other projects. He shows two THE projects. First, a house in Beijing, which reconfigured the traditional courtyard house plan and made economical use of the landscape. The house is made of laminated wood and rammed earth. Chang discusses the UFIDA software building near Beijing. He calls it more of a “living environment” because the employees spend so much in their offices. The project also has an alternative courtyard design which gets employees out of their offices to exercise, meditate or smoke.
Video Archive | Rammed earth (5)
Bilge Isik demonstrates the ubiquity of earth brick, and rammed earth construction. She describes her development of a new gypsum mixture for stabilized earth construction, and describes construction with this formula. This mixture has several advantages, such as reducing shrinkage, and preventing moisture penetration in walls. It also cures quite a bit faster than traditional rammed earth mixtures, and requires earth with a lower clay content.
David Easton discusses his research into earth walled construction techniques and presents a selection of work by his firm Rammed Earth Works. Graduating with a degree in engineering form Stanford University in 1970, he has been developing and building earth walled structures for eighteen years. Showing several examples of his built work, he argues that earth can be used to achieve a variety of textures, forms, and colors resulting in spaces that are as light, open, and hygienic as any conventional construction type. His system uses the thermal mass of the earth walls in combination with large south facing glazing to passively regulate internal temperatures. Easton’s pis? construction process uses the same equipment used for gunite or shotcrete pneumatically sprayed concrete. Easton uses one sided plywood forms that are recycled to make internal partitions. The concept that drives his work is a desire to promote more responsible use of non-renewable resources and to introduce people to new ways of working that make full use of renewable resources such as wind, water, the sun, and earth.
David Easton’s firm Rammed Earth Works, uses two techniques for their constructions called pis? and rammed earth, with rammed earth making up most of their projects. It is a more participatory process and less frantic than pis?, and achieves a more desirable marble like finish. Originally proposed as a concrete post and beam construction with unreinforced rammed earth infill panels, walls can be made up to eighteen feet tall and is acceptable to most city building inspectors in California. When a client requested 24 inch thick walls, they discovered that they no longer needed the concrete posts as long as they added reinforcement to the walls.
The concept that drives David Easton’s work is a desire to promote more responsible use of non-renewable resources and to introduce people to new ways of working that make full use of renewable resources such as wind, water, the sun, and earth. Following his presentation, Easton takes questions from the audience where he acknowledges using local soil when possible, but always prefers to use the best quality soil with the right mix of sand, gravel, and clay that is so important for durability. He also addresses the insulation ratings of earth walled constructions as well as mold problems, which he says are minimal and temporary due to the eighteen month drying time for the walls.