Rammed Earth

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Rammed earth buildings at Escuela de Artes Visuales de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México.
(A) Picture showing manual ramming of earth in metallic shutters. This technique is quite labor intensive (photo taken in Sinai, Egypt). (B) Pneumatic tamper.


  • Rammed Earth is an ancient building method that has seen a revival in recent years
  • It produces noncombustible, thermally massive, strong, and durable buildings
  • However, walls can be labour-intensive to construct without machinery (powered tampers)
  • Structures are susceptible to water damage if not adequately protected or maintained.
  • Building a rammed-earth wall involves compressing a damp mixture of earth that has suitable proportions of sand, gravel and clay (sometimes with an added stabilizer (like with Stabalized CEBs ) into an externally supported frame or mould. The construction of an entire wall begins with a temporary frame, or formwork, similar to concrete
  • Essentially :
    • CEB is to Bricks/Concrete Blocks as
    • Rammed Earth is to Concrete

Open Source Hardware Needs

  • powered (pneumatic) tamper; this may require an air compressor
  • temporary frame, i.e. formwork (usually wood, plywood, steel)
  • equipment for excavating subsoil, e.g. backhoe

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