Rammed Earth is an over 2,000 year-old construction technique. It is used for building walls and floors with raw materials of the earth i.e. clay, gravel and sand. These materials are mixed together and then rammed in a form work. The result, a strong, durable wall that lasts for centuries or longer (see the Great Wall of China) adds character and a warm feeling to any architectural structure.
Rammed earth has a high thermal mass index which essentially means that it absorbs heat well without releasing it into the interior. Hence these walls provide a strong thermal insulation. This evens out daily temperature variations and reduces the need for air conditioning and heating.
The ingredients include gravel, sand, clay and minerals. The stones provide the structure, and clay is the glue that binds the mix together. If done correctly rammed earth walls are load bearing walls. They can carry the load of a roof or other floors above without reinforcement of concrete or steel.
The clay used, comes from the subsoil, leaving the topsoil for agricultural uses. Ideally the soil from the construction site can be used, thus reducing cost and energy of transportation. When the building is demolished, the earth walls return to the soil or can be recycled.
Therefore rammed earth is a prime example for sustainable architecture and sufficiency life style
Chiangmai Life Architecture combines various natural construction materials for a sustainable living environment. Using mainly manual labour instead of machines distributes our money directly to the poorest of our society. It also helps to integrate with the local community and utilize whatever local resources are available.
Rammed earth as load bearing material in combination with bamboo as material with superior tensile strength has proven the material of choice for customers who want to avoid the high carbon footprint of steel and concrete.
Examples of rammed earth wall and floors in combination with adobe brick walls