Rammed earth construction at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Posts tagged “rammed earth

It’s not done till everyone can sit down

The MudWorks wall and sail have mellowed to an elephant gray since the forms began coming off on Thursday, but the project isn’t done yet. Lots of finishing details remain. GSD student Nick Rivard, a furniture maker in the Urban Design program, will be in the wood shop fashioning smooth bench seats out of redwood. He and Loeb Fellow Anne-Marie Lubenau took off in a pick-up truck from Zipcar over the weekend to purchase supplies at a nearby lumber yard.

Picking up lumber for seating


In other news, the MudHall blog is starting to see some serious online traffic. The rammed earth project has caught the attention of the Architect’s Newspaper, which is sending a reporter to Harvard today to write about the project.


What does a wall want to say?

Mud is an extremely expressive construction material, and the MudWorks project is already making a strong statement on the busy corner of Quincy and Cambridge Streets. Still, the rammed earth wall can’t say everything that needs to be said about the project. It needs an inscription.

Since construction started on Saturday, we’ve been talking with Loeb Fellow and MudWorks designer Anna Heringer about what to say, how to say it and where to say it. We settled on a s hort, just-the-facts quartet of sentences, and decided that this pretty much sums things up:

Built with EARTH and WATER.
Fashioned by the human HAND.
As RESILIENT as concrete.
This wall can be reclaimed by NATURE.

Then we had to decide where to inscribe the text. So with the help of GSD students we organized a mock-up. Oscar Malaspina and Nick Rivard took time from their hectic scheduls to print out the phrases and try various locations. This one seemed to work:

Mock-up for MudWorks inscription

Mock-up for MudWorks inscription

But after some discussion, we decided that it was actually too prominent, and took away from the main event, the mud wall. Oscar went back to his computer and designed a new version that will wrap around the base in a single, continuous line.

The plan is to engrave the letters into the mud. That means volunteers will have to work fast. Because so many volunteers have come out to help in the last two days, work has gone very fast. The MudWorks crew expects to begin taking off the wooden forms from the main wall today.
Thanks to Loeb Fellow Ian Lockwood for these great photos:

Chris Calott & Jean Lauer working on mud sail

Loeb Fellows Chris Calott and Jean Lauer working on the mud sail

Digging

Nick and Caroline


Half the world lives in mud buildings

While everyone is super busy finishing the MudWorks installation at the GSD, it’s worth remembering that we’re not quite reinventing the wheel. Here’s a good blog on rammed earth construction around the world:

http://www.eartharchitecture.org/index.php?%2Farchives%2F527-Desert-Works.html


Loebs get the dirt. Time to start ramming earth.

Earth artist Martin Rauch (center) and Loeb Fellow Anna Heringer (right) with Loeb affilliate Miriam (shoulder) take delivery of 50 tons of dirt. Ramming starts today at Harvard’s Gund Hall, Cambridge and Quincy Streets. Work will continue through March 23. Come lend a hand and help us demonstrate a more meaningful approach to sustainable construction.