Building with earth: a centuries old process
Earth and mud have been used for centuries as natural building materials; long before massive concrete and cement blocks. Traditional homes were built and re-built according to the availability of natural materials (wood, plant fibers, minerals, land …).
Today, nearly a third of the world’s inhabitants live in mud and earth houses. The flexibility of implementation and its omnipresence provides great architectural diversity to building with earth. Some buildings are nearly 900 years old whil others have reached up to 10 floors.
By varying the moisture earth can be used in many ways:
Shaped and compacted or combined with vegetable fibers: cob
Packed or compressed: mud, compressed earth brick
Earth can also be easily applied as plaster or mortar to seal the fitting of stones or bricks.
Earth walls naturally regulate humidity thanks to their natural porosity. (Humidity is important for comfort and safety as well as to regulate temperature). Earth allows for good and natural air circulation in homes, making your home breathe better.
Earth walls, with their large mass and thermal inertia, even out temperature differences.
These qualities make compressed earth brick houses that are comfortable and pleasant to live in. Some areas have even nicknamed them “century-old homes.”
Earth construction is more current than ever. It is perfectly in line with an ethical green building approach.