written by:
July 21, 2015
The following homes use terra firma as a basic building block, and demonstrate how earthen houses can be at once green, modern, and naturally cooled.
rammed-earth home in Utah

Architect Hank Louis worked with Navajo tribe elders to secure a 66-year lease on a half-acre lot in the middle of Bluf, Utah, for Rosie Joe and her children. The facade of their off the grid house is made up of exposed wood, red rammed earth, and glass.

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"This was the most complex house I've ever done," says Smith of the residence, which is located on a corner lot in a quiet residential neighborhood in Palo Alto. Though the facade shown here faces the street, it is actually the back of the home. Making al

In this Palo Alto, California, residence constructed from rammed earth, steel, and glass, and finished in white oak, ipe, and American walnut, architect Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture says, "This was the most complex house I've ever done." Though the facade shown here faces the street, it is actually the back of the home. Making all sides appear to be a front was challenging for Smith.

Courtesy of 
Joe Fletcher Photography ©2010
Originally appeared in Packed Naturally
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Exterior rammed earth home

Studio eM Design’s rammed-earth home in Corrales, New Mexico, updates the regional adobe archetype into a hallmark of sustainable design.

Originally appeared in A Sustainable Rammed Earth Home in New Mexico
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Rammed-earth home facade

David Easton, a pioneer in the field of rammed-earth construction, developed sturdy blocks made from recycled and waste material and then used them to build a house for himself and his wife, Cynthia Wright, in collaboration with designer Juliet Hsu.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Ingenious New Building Method Replaces Concrete Block with Rammed Earth
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Khamsa earth brick home in Senegal by Atelier Koe

The Khamsa home in Senegal, built with earth bricks and energy independent due to solar panels and a wind turbine, was actually 15 percent cheaper to build than a traditional home.  The walls, which are thicker than those used in standard concrete construction, help moderate the interior temperature in a region where the climate swings from dry to humid throughout the year, absorbing humidity and cooling the home during warm weather while moderating temperature and improving indoor air quality.

Courtesy of 
Régis L'hostis
Originally appeared in An Earth-Friendly African Retreat That's Actually Made From Earth
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The house clearly displays its Sea Ranch–style touches.

From an ecological perspective, pneumatically impacted stabilized earth (PISE) is a nearly perfect building material. A house, halfway between Carmel and Big Sur, near California’s central coast, showcases PISE’s residential potential.

Originally appeared in PISE Does It
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rammed-earth home in Utah

Architect Hank Louis worked with Navajo tribe elders to secure a 66-year lease on a half-acre lot in the middle of Bluf, Utah, for Rosie Joe and her children. The facade of their off the grid house is made up of exposed wood, red rammed earth, and glass.

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