Build, Design, Featured, Our Blog, Photos — December 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Randy Bachman builds with rammed earth on Saltspring

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Guess Who’s building green on Saltspring Island

 

Guess Who lead guitarist Randy Bachman and his wife Denise invite David Suzuki to come along on their voyage of discovery

Building a rammed-earth wall involves compressing a damp mixture of earth that has suitable proportions of sandgravel and clay (sometimes with an added stabilizer) into an externally supported frame or mould, creating either a solid wall of earth or individual blocks.

Historically, such additives as lime or animal blood were used to stabilize the material, whilst modern construction uses lime, cement or asphalt emulsions. Some modern builders also add coloured oxides or other items, such as bottles, tires, or pieces of timber, to add variety to the structure.

The construction of an entire wall begins with a temporary frame (formwork), usually made of wood or plywood, to act as a mould for the desired shape and dimensions of each wall section. The form must be sturdy and well braced, and the two opposing wall faces clamped together, to prevent bulging or deformation from the large compression forces involved.

Damp material is poured in to a depth of 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) and then compacted to around 50% of its original height. The material is compressed iteratively, in batches, gradually building the wall up to the top of the frame. Tamping was historically done by hand with a long ramming pole, and was very labour-intensive; modern construction can be made less labour-intensive by employingpneumatically powered tampers.

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