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How Rammed Earth Walls are Built


夯土用于建筑已有数千年的历史,其最早的使用痕迹可追溯到新石器时代。夯土技术在中国尤为常用,其中既有古代遗迹,也有乡土建筑,万里长城就采用了夯土技术。虽然到了20 世纪,人们对夯土的兴趣有所下降,但如今仍有人提倡使用夯土,理由是与现代的建筑方法相比,夯土具有可持续性。最值得注意的是,夯土结构使用的是当地材料,这意味着能耗更低,产生的废物更少。下面,将详细介绍这种材料的建造方式。

Rammed earth has been used in construction for thousands of years, with evidence of its use dating as far back as the Neolithic Period. Commonly used especially in China, the technique was applied to both ancient monuments and vernacular architecture, with the Great Wall utilizing the technique. Though interest in rammed earth declined in the 20th century, some continue to advocate its use today, citing its sustainability in comparison to more modern construction methods. Most notably, rammed earth structures use local materials, meaning they have low embodied energy and produce little waste. Below, we describe how to build with this material.

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To start, working with rammed earth requires a strong understanding of the climate and location in which the structure is to be built. Typically, the rammed earth technique works best in climates with high humidity and relatively moderate temperatures. In colder climates, rammed earth walls may need additional insulators, while in locations with high rainfall, they need additional protection against rain. Additionally, many countries lack regulations for rammed earth buildings. For these reasons, rammed earth construction may not be feasible for some locations.



Once the location is deemed to be feasible, the framework for the walls may be built. Usually consisting of two parallel plywood panels, the frame is then filled in with a layer of damp earth, which typically includes sand, gravel, clay, and a stabilizer. After this small layer is added, it is compressed into around half its original volume using a pneumatic tamper. This process is repeated iteratively until the frame is filled with compacted earth, allowing the wood to be removed and a free-standing rammed earth wall to remain.

Image © Wikipedia user Moshira

为了改善这种古老技术的一些缺点,也可以采取额外的措施来加强墙体。例如,为了改善夯土的保温性能,建筑师可以在墙体上增加额外的隔热材料。如果是外墙,隔热材料应具有透气性,以利于蒸发水汽;如果是内墙,隔热材料的选择则灵活得多,但隔热材料不应直接贴于墙面上。考虑到可能出现的防水隐患,夯土墙之上应有悬挑的屋檐,并在离地面至少 225毫米高度之下砌筑坚实的基脚。

To improve some of the shortcomings of this ancient technique, additional measures can be taken to enhance the walls. For example, to improve rammed earth’s relatively poor thermal performance, architects may add extra insulation to the walls. If applied externally, the insulation should be vapor-permeable to allow evaporation; if applied internally, insulation options are much more flexible, although the insulation should not be attached directly to the face of the wall. To account for possible water damage, rammed earth walls should be sheltered by long overhanging eaves and lifted on solid raised footings at least 225 mm above ground level.


有时,为了弥补这些缺陷并提高夯土墙的承重能力,需要在原始土壤混合物中加入水泥作为稳定剂。与夯土(RE)不同,这种混合物被称为稳定夯土(SRE),在澳大利亚尤为常见。然而,由于水泥的高能量,这种添加物可能会降低夯土建筑的可持续性。设计师在选择 SRE 和 RE 时,应综合考虑气候、结构要求、耐久性和可持续性。

Sometimes, to remedy these shortcomings as well as increasing the load-bearing capacity of rammed earth walls, cement will be added into the original soil mixture as a stabilizer. This concoction is referred to as Stabilized Rammed Earth (SRE) in contrast to Rammed Earth (RE) and is common particularly in Australia. However, this addition may decrease the lauded sustainability of rammed earth construction due to the high embodied energy of cement. Designers choosing between SRE and RE should consider climate, structural requirements, durability, and sustainability when making their decision.



The rammed earth technique may be one of the oldest known construction methods, but it may be worth investigating updating it for modern times. Being an environmentally-friendly, strong, and even aesthetic material, rammed earth has a lot of potential for the future – just as much as it was a staple of the past.





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