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Sustainable rammed earth home sinks into the hillside

House at Cunho rammed earth
Man sitting on verandah of rammed earth home
Lounge room rammed earth house timber ceiling

This gorgeous terracotta-hued sustainable rammed earth home in Brazil is has which provide both thermal insulation and structure. House in Cunha was was designed by architectural practice Arquipelago Arquitetos and is built in an area known for its ceramics.

Woman in kitchen of rammed earth house
Close up of rammed earth kitchen

The region is commonly blasted by cold winds so to protect the house it was dug 1 meter into the ground. The earth removed in this process was then used in the construction of the rammed earth walls.

To provide an additional buffer from the harsh winds, more rammed earth protective walls were built away from the house.

The rammed earth construction is wet mix of earth, sand and clay which was sandwiched between flat panels to harden. This technique was a very affordable, easy and efficient construction method.

With the main structural walls built from rammed earth, the rest of the walls are made of straw colored bricks, burned earth, by a local pottery that removes clay rich in aluminum from the floodplain regions of a stream.
To match the tone of the walls, the ceilings and doors are made from timber and the dark grey floor tiles soak up the sun from the northern facing rooms to passively heat the house.

Related story: If you like rammed earth homes, check out Edgar’s Creek House

Lounge room in rammed earth home
Bedroom in rammed earth home brick wall timber lined ceiling
Close up view of rammed earth, bricks and timber

Sustainability specs:
– Rammed earth home
– Rammed earth walls using soil excated onsite
– Living spaces face north to maximise solar gain in winter
– Deep awning to protect the home from harsh summer sun
– Heated by a wood stove
– Timber roof structure
– Timber ceiling panelling, window and door frames
– Bricks were produced locally
– The house was dug 1 meter into the hill to protect the house from harsh prevailing winds

Brick walls in bathroom with timber lined ceiling
Brick walls in shower
Brick walls in hallway with timber wall panelling
Distant view of front of rammed earth home
Close up view of rammed earth wall and timber window frame
From the architect:

This constructive technique provided us with interdisciplinary encounters: physics, chemistry, geology and geography broadened our understanding of the landscape where we proposed the house.

All the characteristics of hardness, thermal inertia, colour, brightness, tactile quality are factors due to the physical and chemical characteristics of that specific soil.

Images courtesy of Arquipelago Arquitetos. Photography by Federico Cairoli
Via www.dezeen.com

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