Unfired sundried earthen masonry
In it's simplest form this is rekindling our mud pies which children discover instinctively.
In its most complex, it is the world best construction material being overlooked.
The Benefits of Building with earth.
Structural: It is suitable for building structural load-bearing walls and therefore needs no wooden, steel or concrete framework.
Durable: Houses built this way centuries ago continue to be lived in today. The longest continuously inhabited dwellings on Earth are built this way, including the 2,000 year old city of Djenne in Mali and the 1,000 year old Pueblo Native American village of New Mexico. And there are equivalents in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. Such durability makes the savings in materials and fossil fuels ongoing in an exponential way.
Works with nature:
With a passive solar design and correct positioning, it can maintain ambient air temperature year round to reduce heating and
cooling expenses. The thermal mass can store the winter sun's warmth in the walls and slowly release that warmth during the night and visa-versa - the coolness of the night releases during the day during summer to maintain year round comfortable ambient air temperature. Again saving fossil fuel consumption in an ongoing way.
It is non flammable and fire proof.
Earthen walls "breathe" producing a superior indoor air quality -emitting healthy ions, preventing damp, mold, dust and humidity.
Subsoil is also very plentiful, everywhere on the planet, right under the topsoil, so it doesn’t need to be transported long distances. Y
Mixtures are dried in the sun without processing, so you don't need to burn fossil fuels and create pollution to make this stuff.
Earthen masonry is safe to touch during construction- child friendly and very conducive to transforming work into fun entertainment for all ages. Establishing the bond between man and clay-earth-mud provides a foundation from which artistic, creative self-expression flows. One can set up a large community-mud-pit filled with local sand and clay, which becomes a place for everyone to interact with each other. Clay is a an intriguing fun-enhancing social lubricant and healing agent that excites the pleasure-receptors on our largest organ, the skin. Interacting with clay through our skin in social gatherings, creates instant joy, strengthens community and connects us to the basic elements of the earth itself. It grounds us or earth's us which makes feel comfortable and "at home" here on Earth as Earthlings. Clay has the capacity to stimulate all of our senses simultaneously and nourish our body with essential minerals. It is appealing to the sense of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. It can satisfy some of our most primordial needs at the deepest level, like no other material. The clay in subsoil has healing, therapeutic qualities and so it is not only safe but also healthy to work with. Mud was made for touching. The pleasure receptors on our skin send signals to the brain such as "this feels good". The pleasurable feeling of mud has us uttering sounds that aren’t even words. Or are they? I’m talking about...."Icky, Ooey, Gooey, Sloppy, Slimy, slippery, goopy and gloppy." Also "ewwww, ahhh, ohhhh and eeeeee.. It’s a very simple, low-tech, building system which allows anyone, young or old, to become actively involved in the construction process. This is great because young people have the capacity to bring joy and fun to a workplace through play. It is very conducive to fun, friendly, community participation.
Sculptural and architectural features can be made into whatever shape one wishes. This allows for interesting, natural, aesthetically pleasing, rounded shapes to be created. Unfired earth is such a highly versatile material: different mixes can be utilized to create walls, furniture, appliances, plasters, paints, polished floors and beautiful looking wall features. One material fits all.
The Cons: Downside of building with earth: Building with earth can be slow, especially if you include the time for excavating and soaking the earth. You have to wait a day for each layer to dry before the next layer is added. If you don’t make it into a fun, community activity involving lots of willing participants who value it as a desirable activity, then it's considered a very labor intensive process, Building is seasonal: it's more suitable to build during warm weather.