An ancient building method made easier by new technology.
Synopsis: Here’s an introduction to making walls from compacted earth taken from the building site. It’s a very old technology that produces handsome, deeply textured walls in fairly short order. Illustrations provide the details on required formwork.
David Easton likes the earth. Enough that he hangs his hat on walls made of it. Also on these earthen walls hangs his reputation for building comfortable, good-looking houses. An engineer, Easton is one of a handful of people in this country building with rammed earth.
Rammed-earth walls are made by compacting soil. Using plywood forms, a front-loading tractor, a pneumatic backfill tamper and moistened, cement-laden dirt from the site, Easton can build these rock-hard walls quickly and efficiently. As a member of Easton’s crew, I build rammed-earth houses, and I think dirt is a superior building material. I also live in a rammed-earth house, and I’ve had a chance to…