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Our Search for Genius in Home Design #1 – Why We Love Rammed Earth Masonry

    Here at The Warrior Rising, we will teach or help you design and build natural homes and structures. And whether you are seeking a beautiful, rock-solid home design or you want to go as far as you can to a natural life, we can help you get there! Check out our packages, classes and workshops and get started today!

    Earth is possibly the ultimate Natural Building material. It produces durable, beautiful, comfortable, and safe buildings, while reducing the energy and waste produced by construction. When done correctly, it improves heating and cooling, indoor air quality and the longevity of buildings when done correctly.

    Rammed Earth Exterior

    The genius of this ancient building system can raise the living standards of all human beings when coupled with food production and live/work strategies. In other words, if we aim to maintain the beneficial things our modern world has produced without depleting resources, increased environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity; well, then perhaps we should ride the earth bandwagon. Add to that a real solution against spiraling energy and material costs, food sovereignty, and purity by simply, and truly focusing on Local – and it all starts with the buildings in which we live and work.

    Earth homes and buildings have Affordability, Safety and Energy Efficiency built in from the outset. Whether the low-tech versions or the more modern stabilized system, a 500-year footprint is easily achievable. And the price point is within a few percentage points of modern wasteful construction systems. That is because most of the unnatural systems and engineered products are replaced by natural materials. The toxic odors of synthetics are gone, no strange creaks or bangs from weak connections or mechanical systems will be heard and no groaning or whistling when the winds pick up.

    These beautiful, low-rise, high-thermal mass walls are beefy and built to last. They regulate temperatures, humidity, sound, pests and other dangers. They are fireproof, waterproof, and, in case you care…bulletproof. They are as maintenance-free as you can get – no painting, patching, re-siding or repair. At least not in your lifetime! And that is money in the bank, as opposed to cash into a modern money pit.

    Rammed Earth is an inorganic building material made up of a matrix of subsoils consisting of aggregate stones, distributed clay, coarse sand and silt fines; add between 8-10% cement; throw in some colour pigments if you like; mix it up dry, and finally: add approximately 10% water by volume and mix again. You can now “ram” it into formwork similar to concrete formwork in small lifts which creates a stratified finish that looks as if you cut into the side of a hill or mountain.

    You are essentially creating a type of sandstone that will continue to harden for its entire lifespan as long as it is well-protected by a roof with deep overhangs and a solid, dry foundation. If you want maximum longevity, then the rammed earth and the concrete must be constructed without rebar. While this explains the method somewhat simply and briefly, there are always numerous additional factors to consider when building that include things like: climate zone, geography, and aesthetics.

    One Rammed Earth builder stated: “It is a testimonial to the potential of earth that the medium attracts interest from both the low-cost housing sector and individuals for whom the charm of earth is evinced in spectacular custom-built structures costing a million dollars or more. Clients in this sector generally select earth not on the basis of cost, but more for the totally unique qualities of the medium. Terms such as ‘grounded’, ‘temple-like’ and ‘substantial’ are often used to explain their choice of earth”

    This harkening back to older systems of building also encompasses the failure of many modern building materials to equal the natural materials in just about every aspect. We have an innate affinity for materials that keep us connected to the natural world. The strong, comfortable stone, earth, and log cabin in wooded mountain meadows is a stark and, for most us, preferable choice over the brutal steel, glass, and asphalt dystopia of modern towns and cities. And hey, I still like the internet and coffee too, so let’s figure those out.

    At the end of our day, it always boils down to a choice: What do you actually need? What fulfills your soul and drives your destiny? Maybe it’s big box stores, processed food, and manufactured entertainments; or are you drawn to family homes, wholesome food and joyful relationships? If you are like me, then it’s the latter; and it’s about implementing the features, systems, and lifestyle that are important to you. You don’t have to do everything, or do it all right now; do what makes sense and build on that in the future.

    In other words: Get your project started. As a software developer told me recently, you don’t need the grand plan to get a website up and going. Start small and add as you go. That can be as true for a house, a homestead or even your street front shop. Your journey begins whenever you want it to!

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