For the past few weeks we’ve been sifting through resources, long forgotten stacks of photocopied college notes, hand-me-down books, we reconnected with old professors and mentors, looking for answers and referrals; going back to basics, building constructions 101. We wanted to know what are our options for this mysterious structure we’re conceptualizing, how will it be built? how are we going to build it? so many question, but thankfully A LOT of feedback!
Thus far these are the building systems we’re considering; when talking about green vernacular architecture:
Aka the system behind the wall of Chine! To build a rammed earth structure, a mixture of soils is packed down into a temporary wall mould (usually wood) that shapes the mixture. Ramming can either be done by hand or by machine. Walls are usually 46 cm to 61 cm thick. Rammed earth walls require a mixture of soils, but too much clay will cause cracks, adding a bit of cement is advisable (for internal stability). Walls can be plastered with stucco or left bare.
Mud bricks (wall infills, adobe…)
The most common thus far, we have seen it in Ghor and other places, this is a widely used system that basically uses any type of material that can be utilized as a building block:
- It could be mud bricks (traditional)
- Sand bags alos know as Earthbags (hanna)
- Or even tires (recycled materials), the concept of utilizing recycled materials as building blocks is exciting, but this begs the question of what material is available – in abundance; in Ghor to be utilized as such? are there any?
Hanna mentioned this in our meeting, noting that they are easy to build but are prone to fires, but upon further investigation, it appears that straw bales provide roughly three times the fire resistance of conventional homes, because the bales are so tightly packed, there’s no oxygen and no chance of combustion.
Can this system be applied in Ghor? Is there an abundance of hay/straw like materials in Ghor? What about fire prevention? electrical wiring is a nightmare.. Are there any buildings – or evidence of one in the area (MENA region)?