This winter we helped consult on a Rammed Earth Co-housing project in South Africa with Bryan Bowen Arcthitects. The goal of the housing project will be to bridge traditionally segregated communites with environmentally friendly buildings. How could we say no to getting involved with that? Bryan has taken great care in designing simple, asthetic bulidings that are incorporated into the already existing permacultrure gardens, established by the owner of the project. See more at their Bryan Bowen’s Facebook page.
Rammed Earch is an interesting material to design with. It is not a good choice for large modern buildings with large open areas, but is proving idea for the small buildings that Bryan is designing and building. Convential construction materials are expensive and not readily available in remote South Africa. Rammed earth can be made from the soil on hand with some basic testing and good quality control.
What is also exciting about this project is that it is helping change the concept of a home. Traditonally the homes in this area are built with Masonry or Concrete. There is a perception that a home made from earth is not as good or that it is a progression backward. Bryan is helping to change these perceptions and show people that beautiful homes can be built from earth and what is local. He is also helping to strengthen the sense of community. We are excited to work with him on a project that is making changes on many different levels.