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How Rammed Earth Walls are Built


夯土用于建筑已有數千年的歷史,其最早的使用痕跡可追溯到新石器時代。夯土技術在中國尤為常用,其中既有古代遺跡,也有鄉土建筑,萬里長城就采用了夯土技術。雖然到了20 世紀,人們對夯土的興趣有所下降,但如今仍有人提倡使用夯土,理由是與現代的建筑方法相比,夯土具有可持續性。最值得注意的是,夯土結構使用的是當地材料,這意味著能耗更低,產生的廢物更少。下面,將詳細介紹這種材料的建造方式。

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.

Image © Public Domain


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

為了改善這種古老技術的一些缺點,也可以采取額外的措施來加強墻體。例如,為了改善夯土的保溫性能,建筑師可以在墻體上增加額外的隔熱材料。如果是外墻,隔熱材料應具有透氣性,以利于蒸發水汽;如果是內墻,隔熱材料的選擇則靈活得多,但隔熱材料不應直接貼于墻面上?紤]到可能出現的防水隱患,夯土墻之上應有懸挑的屋檐,并在離地面至少 225毫米高度之下砌筑堅實的基腳。

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.


有時,為了彌補這些缺陷并提高夯土墻的承重能力,需要在原始土壤混合物中加入水泥作為穩定劑。與夯土(RE)不同,這種混合物被稱為穩定夯土(SRE),在澳大利亞尤為常見。然而,由于水泥的高能量,這種添加物可能會降低夯土建筑的可持續性。設計師在選擇 SRE 和 RE 時,應綜合考慮氣候、結構要求、耐久性和可持續性。

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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