rammed earth vii

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We arrived on site nice and caffeinated, ready to bust out some wall.  My good friend whom I worked in Americorps with in Seattle, Bridget, was able to help me for the day, as well as Jesse again.  Which I totally appreciated and needed.  We finished the first course and Jesse topped it off with a nice brick patternwork.  In an attempt to slow the weathering process by nature as well as users, we mixed a bag of quikcrete with the top course.  I realize this goes against the idea of making it pure and from the earth, but that is surely a lesson this is teaching me : in order to maximize a building / built object’s usage and durability, some compromises may need to be made.  Later on I had some other suggestions, such as capping it with a nice wood, and I agree, I just didn’t have the time or resources to do that with the project.  This time.

So, we finished the last course, removed the formwork, and look, it stayed together!  We had 33.33(repeating, of course…)% of the wall complete.  Time to move on, and quick!  I wanted to get the whole thing done.  We worked really hard and finished the next course, putting us at 66.67% completion.  I realized that this was more time intensive than I anticipated, as it took, including set up/cleanup time, about 6″/hour with 3 people.  That’d be 2″/hour per person.  This would have been dramatically improved if we had a mixing device such as a concrete mixer or rototiller.

Thanks to Bridget, for the excellent photography.  And to God for the great lighting.

And with a third left to go and no volunteers lined up for the next day, I had decisions to make.  I obviously couldn’t do all 36″ in one day (which is all I had until I needed to pack up to head back east), so design priorities were set.  Just wait.


Author: Meg C

Meghan is a recent Master of Architecture graduate from the University of Cincinnati. She is interested in all aspects of sustainability, finding the most pertinent ways it relates to the built environment including social justice in terms of material choice, implementation, and life-cycle. While pragmatic concerns are ever-present, she constantly explores the inexplicable beauty to be found in the intersection of order and the poetics of space.

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