I provided a small amount of advice for a rammed earth garden wall in Cheltenham – the wall was curvedand stabilised with lime. The wall was instigated by garden designer Rose Lennard and constructed by independent contractors.
Whilst working for Ramboll I was approached by Mr Alasdair Dawson who was developing two Earthship holiday cottages in Kinross. The earthships feature rammed earth wall curving on plan and elevations and straw bale insulation and a tyre bale retaining wall. The roof structure curves on plan and the building features a large glazed façade.
I provided stabilised rammed earth advice to Intentional Engineering about projects in Dubai and Ghana. I provided advice on soil suitability for rammed earth and specifications for rammed earth use in Intentional Engineering projects.
I provided engineering input to a white paper about the preservation of the historic centre of Kashgar in western China, following my leading an open letter on the destruction of the city.
Soil evaluation and mix design
Not all soils are suitable for use as rammed earth. I have expertise in blending the right mix backed up with a technical understanding of the fundamental mechanics. The soil must be compacted at a particular water content to ensure optimum compaction, and this water content should be predetermined before construction begins.
Sample construction and testing
Many projects require samples and walls to be constructed and tested to failure prior to full scale construction.
Structural design of rammed earth buildings is usually relatively straightforward, with walls acting in compression, but detailing is important to ensure the rammed earth is used to its maximum potential.