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Austin Architect Goes Really Really Old School With Rammed Earth

Posted By G Monkie On February 19, 2009 @ 1:00 am In Architecture / Interior Design,G Living | 6 Comments

So, many of you might already know this, I am a product of the cow poking state of Texas. Yep, I know, it doesn’t seem possible, how could a good looking Twisted Green Juice Guzzling Black Monkie like me be from Texas? Well, I not from there, I was just trapped for a while. Most of my non-Monkie family still lives in Austin Texas, which just happens to be the greenest, most forward thinking city in that entire state. Austin is even the birth place of Whole Foods, how cool is that. So, when I saw this story about a green house made with Rammed Earth, in Austin, I had to post about it, even though it is not the type of place I would go for. It’s a very traditional designed home, and here at G Living we lean towards the sleeker modern side.

This 5000 sq. ft beast of a house is interesting because it uses one of the oldest building techniques know to man, Rammed Earth. Before humans ever figured out how to make concrete, they where using Rammed Earth, to build their cities, temples, and their high protective walls. By pounding a mixture of dirt, grass and clay between forms, ancient societies, build very efficient structures, which can stand for thousands of years. And since the rammed earth walls are so thick, they enable the buildings to maintain a steady temperature all year around.

The owners Brenda and Jeff Hood spent five years planning their rammed-earth house to be comfortable, yet energy-efficient. A tall tower called a thermal chimney ventilates the house. Hot air rises in the tower and is released out of windows at the top. Plus the views of the city are a major bonus.

The house incorporates a wide range of environmentally friendly features. The 2-foot-thick walls are made of compressed decomposed granite and cement. It’s a technique called rammed earth. The insulation is made from recycled blue jeans, and the wetland outside is part of a system for filtering wastewater to use for irrigation.

This home was designed by Architect Lou Kimball.


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