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The Rammed Earth House: Rediscovering the Most Ancient Building Material (Real Goods Independent Living Book) Paperback – April, 1996

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Paperback, April, 1996
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The beauty and grace of rammed earth construction is described in fascinating detail by David Easton. The photographs of different structures, both modern and ancient, by Cynthia Wright, create a breathtaking glimpse into a building technique that is as old as human history, but exactly suitable for today's resource-conscious and environmentally friendly building needs. Trees may be getting a bit scarce these days, but there's no current shortage of dirt, the main component of rammed earth homes. From such a prosaic material, gold has been spun in these timeless, graceful, and nearly indestructible homes and buildings.

Review

"David has always been a pioneer, and I'm particularly excited about his work bringing rammed earth as an appropriate technology to areas of the developing world. Guided by David's team, rural communities build structures far more permanent and energy efficient than any they had before."--Mike Korchinsky, Founder and CEO, Wildlife Works, Inc.



"I find great hope in David Easton's description of ways to meld the environmentally friendly with the aesthetically satisfying. And I find inspiration in his very practical advice on making these beautiful blends of earth and air a part of our lives. Architecture defines us, and helps us to find meaning in the very structures we call our homes. This book is a must read for all interested in blending spirituality with practicality."--J. Kalani English, Hawaii State Senator



"David Easton is an essential figure in the world of earthen architecture, both in the field and on paper. Through his work and books, Easton brings a practical answer to the Brundtland statement on sustainable development. He has proven beyond doubt that earthen architecture is a viable option for Our Common Future."--Hugo Houben, International Centre for Earth Construction, Grenoble, France



"David Easton's book is a definitive account of the art and technology of rammed earth construction. Architects, builders, and home-owners interested in earth construction methods should start here." -John Ochsendorf, PhD Associate Professor of Building Technology MIT Department of Architecture

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Real Goods Independent Living Book
  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company (April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930031792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930031794
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
In Venezuela, South America, there is some interest in reviving an old method of cobnstruction, called "tapial" in spanish (rammed earth).
Many old building remain in South America from the time of the spaniards. The book illustrates how a modern enginee, David Easton, in California, has taken over the problem of building with rammed earth in country where there is very little "tradition", hence know how, on building with rammed earth.
The book lacks detail on the rammed earth system employed by the authors. More drawings and pictures would be very useful to translate modern technology to underdevelopped countries.
Best regards,
Miguel A. Megias, Professor of Engineering
Universidad de Carabobo
Valencia, Venezuela
e-mail mmegias@telcel.net.v
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By JOHN K KURTZ on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book in order to find an optimistic source on the subject of rammed earth. David Easton does have a positive attitude about the subject. I enjoyed his enthusiasm. I enjoyed the 10 or so pages of color pictures and the many black and white pictures through the book. Like another reviewer, I felt the book lacked some good engineering sketches and some good pictoral illustrations of the forming systems. I was encouraged enough by his book to want to build a rammed earth house somewhere in the coming years. johnkurtz@comcast.net.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book, as other books by Real Goods, to be very informative and easy for the layperson to comprehend. David presents the information in a reader friendly style, and the photos greatly enhance the script.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne M. Fleming on March 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book, which expanded my respect and knowledge of earth construction. I was formally most familiar with rammed earth tire construction (Earthships, by Michael Reynolds), but this more accessible and palatable version of rammed earth has wider appeal. The book lacks good construction and engineering specs. There are plenty of photos of rammed earth forms, but no technical drawings to help in their construction. I assume that Easton thinks that the subject of form building in concrete construction has been thoroughly covered elsewhere. His discussion of soil testing is impressive (as is the soil testing appendix), but at the same time discouraging. It seems that the likelihood of having proper soil at one's site is slim to nill, though most soil types can be amended with portland cement. I admire his reserve in not advising readers to just dig up their site and use whatever is there, without regard for the future durability and function of the structure. Overall, a good book, but it is absolutely not a step by step construction guide for the novice who is unfamiliar with homebuilding.
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Format: Paperback
Any owner/builder who would study up on rammed earth construction, both theory and applied concepts, must have The Rammed Earth House: this edition has been completely revised and pairs color photos by Cynthia Wright with discussions of the art and technology of rammed earth housing. Chapters come from an architect and discuss everything from field testing soil to understanding layout, design, and soil compaction. A 'must' for any studying alternative housing, and sure to be a popular, repeat lend for any public lending library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am going to develop a cottage for very cheap! Sand is free where I want to build. Will have to bring in clay and straw. Cheap to build a frame so I get 'perfect' lines, take down the frames and re-utilize frames on the next portion of wall creation. A bit of cement on the outside and plaster on the inside and all is well. This is already insulated to draw in and accept heat, and radiate heat. In summer, it will be cool (like a basement or garage), same principle. All I will need to do is add wiring, plumbing, solar/wind turbines, well/pump and septic. I am off-grid! I have already designed the house, interior will have modular furniture that hangs from the walls so as to have open floor plan, have sofa beds to utilize space for visitors without having extra bedrooms, having a loft on a second floor for office space, plenty of windows facing east and west, solar facing south, turbines having a wind tunner facing both NW and SE as that is the direction the wind comes from here. Can't wait to perfect talents in developing rammed earth (aka cob) house in modeling a dog house for sample. Will have beams across top with sloping roof and steel roof so snow will slide off. Of course, will need spray-in insulation topside and seal the roof structure on inside. Ready to play! Cheaply too. Can even put solar pump in pond so pond won't freeze, for animals to utilize all year, pump wonderful attraction at back window. All free of monthly bills. Upfront solar and wind costs will be far less than new house purchase. Best of all the worlds! Love this book. I am so excited.

I would recommend to anyone.
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Format: Paperback
I was disappointed in this book. There are lots of colour photos but not one single diagram in the whole book. The explanations are not very detailed and dont go with any diagrams so you are left to image how most of the processes work.

I bought this book because it was recommended as having good information on soil cement and soil cement tiles by another reviewer. The total amount of information on this in the book is two pages and the gist of it is "try to see what mix works for you and then put it in a mould made of plywood of x dimensions".

You get more information on soil cement tiles in the 5 minute video he made on youtube.

That being said it is a "nice" book because of the photos but isnt really anything more than a general overview of rammed earth. It lacks detail.

If you are looking into rammed earth as a "self build" possibility I think that straw bale, cob, super adobe would be a better solution. This looks like you would need someone with a lot of experience both in building the frames and reading the soil to get it right.
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