rammed earth viii

Final day!

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Being the 3rd day in a row of hard manual labor, I was quite ready to finish the project.  This was the last day I was able to work before packing to drive back to Ohio for grad school.  I was less enthusiastic this day because I had no assistance organized, so I had a time limit and anticipated just getting as much completed as possible.

I had to make a design decision regarding the corner’s treatment.  With a dimishing supply of soil, sand, time, and energy, if I wasn’t going to make a complete 6’x1.5’x3′ section, I needed to decide what exactly to do.  I decided on making a full height section about 18″ across, then a lower height for the other 54″.

I was SO thankful to have the help available that day.  So thank you to my volunteers!

We made the 18″ corner easily enough, it went pretty quickly compared to 6′ long.  I should have taken the time to drill holes in the bottom of the formwork so the middle board would stay secure, but I didn’t, and it ended up bulging as we rammed course after course.  This was eventually covered over by the next and final set, which was 24″ high by 54″ long.

Though I had enjoyed more leisurely afternoons on the farm of working, experimenting, and testing soil, this was not a time I wanted to be alone!  I had a goal in mind and wanted to reach it, but my body was only capable of so much work.  I see and appreciate the value of certain tools which, in larger projects with even slightly larger budgets, tools would make such a big difference, such as a rototiller or cement mixer.

But thankfully help came and I was so thankful for it!  We worked hard for another hour or so and completed the 24″ height, removed forms, cleaned up, had a nice chilling beer, PROJECT COMPLETE.  More photos to come.

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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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