Rammed earth is a technique of building using earthen construction which has been in use for thousands of years. As it is unbaked, does not use cementitious binders and is typically locally sourced it can be very low in embodied carbon. The large mass of the walls can act as a thermal store providing stability to internal temperatures, reducing heating/cooling requirements and therefore operational carbon.
With much of the skill being lost, the challenge was to incorporate this ancient technique into modern buildings. Working with and building on the work by Professor Pete Walker at the University of Bath we developed the design of The Gillyflower venue incorporating load bearing rammed earth walls. The material was sourced from the estate and working with the contractor, established an optimum mix and moisture content. Sample cubes were crushed throughout the build to ensure quality. The environmental credentials and sound deadening effect of the walls were key to gaining planning permission in the grounds of an historic estate and close to a village.
We have also incorporated rammed earth into the Field House project.