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Building with Rammed Earth
Technical Report · December 2014
DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4198.3048
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Marwa Dabaieh
Malmö University
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Building with
Rammed Earth
Marwa Dabaieh
A practical experience with Martin Rauch
Basehabitat summer school
1
July 2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission
,except in the case of brief quotations embodied in non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Author: Marwa Dabaieh
Cover design and layout: Marwa Dabaieh
Photos by the authors unless otherwise stated
Back cover photo: Philipp Steiner
Copyright © 2014
ISBN 978-91-628-9221-0
2
About
This booklet is a documentation for
one week hands on workshop
experience with Martin Rauch and
his team. More information was
added to this booklet for a complete
overview on rammed earth
construction from historical
background to contemporary
practice.
3
Table of content
Building with rammed earth
5
History and background
6
Advantages of Rammed Earth
8
Disadvantages of Rammed Earth
9
Building methods and techniques
10
Soil identification and preliminary soil tests
11
Soil mixing
12
Foundations
14
Formwork
15
Ramming
18
Plastering, rendering and re-touch
19
Rainfall erosion lines- Shrinkage- Color lines
21
Openings- Roof support- Quality Control
22
Fire Safety -Codes of practice-Cement stabilization-Costs and feasibility 23
Maintenance & Repairs- Productivity
24
Thermal properties of rammed earth walls
25
4
Building with rammed earth
What is rammed earth?
Rammed Earth (pise) is a natural building method that is thousands of
years old, and has been used in all of earth’s continents. Rammed Earth
buildings have many favorable qualities. They are low-tech construction
process and economical to build. They need low maintenance and they
are suitable for the cold and hot climate.
5
History and background
Rammed earth is an ancient construction
technique that utilizes only the earth to
create thick, durable walls, which can be
load bearing, low-cost, heat-storing and
recyclable. It was developed independently
in many parts of the world, and is also
commonly known by its French name “Pise”.
The technique of rammed earth is simply
based on compacting soil between vertical
formwork boards, which are then removed
leaving a mass soil wall. Usually this
technique is used in regions whose soil