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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:38 PM, ,

Earthen Architecture

Earthen buildings come in a vast variety of shapes and sizes, made from materials like fired clay, compressed dirt and a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water. People have been using various forms of earth to build structures for centuries, from the traditional thatched cottages in Devon, England to the pueblo villages of the American west. The ancient ‘rammed earth’ building technique has been used in Neolithic architecture sites and modern cathedrals alike.Here are 10 diverse examples of structures made from earthen materials.

See 10 Mud and Dirt Buildings here!


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:45 AM, ,

Caught Mud Handed

English volunteer Hattie Miall shows her hands after preparing a mud floor in a school that Italian architect Valerio Marazzi is constructing out of old tyres and mud for children of the Jahalin Palestinian Bedouin tribe on July 12, 2009 in the Judean Desert near the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:31 AM, ,

Earth Architecture

Currently it is estimated that one half of the world’s population—approximately three billion people on six continents—lives or works in buildings constructed of earth. And while the vast legacy of traditional and vernacular earthen construction has been widely discussed, little attention has been paid to the contemporary tradition of earth architecture. Author Ronald Rael, founder of provides a history of building with earth in the modern era, focusing particularly on projects constructed in the last few decades that use rammed earth, mud brick, compressed earth, cob, and several other interesting techniques. EARTH ARCHITECTURE presents a selection of more than 40 projects that exemplify new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet. {Via }


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:09 AM, ,

Traditional Yemen Architecture

A builder took a break from restoring a building in the Old City of Sana, one of the world's architectural gems. Traditional building arts continue to thrive in Yemen.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:08 AM, ,

Saudi Mud Fort

Of course, if it’s the history of the country which interests you, you simply cannot miss the Musmak Fortress (pictured above). This is where the official history of Saudi Arabia starts from – the stronghold that Abdul Aziz captured in January 1902 leading to the eventual foundation of the Kingdom 30 years later. The fort is a wonderful example of mud and brick architecture with crenellated towers, triangular windows and traditionally decorated doors and ceilings. It can be found in the Qasr al Hokum area right by the headquarters of the Muttawah (religious police). Read more here...


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:58 PM, ,

Construction Material

Some of the samples of mud being used as construction material. 

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:06 AM, ,

How Sustainable is Your Architecture

Himanshu Burte

Sustainability is the buzzword. Every manner of building makes a claim to “greenness” today. While there are various ways of judging how green a building is, we often assume its look also offers a clue.

This seems reasonable. If a building is made largely of a material that consumes less energy and produces fewer emissions, the building is likely to be greener than others. Buildings that expose stone, brick or a wood skeleton consume less cement because they are not plastered. Also, if this material is local, little energy is consumed in transportation. So can there actually be a green look for a building?

That depends on how the question is phrased. We may ask, “Can we judge how sustainable a building is from its looks?” Or “Are there some aesthetic values that lead to more sustainable architecture?”

Let’s take the first question first. From the late eco-architect Laurie Baker’s buildings in Kerala, we may conclude that using natural materials and showing them off will lead to a greener building. Such strategies reduce the use of energy-guzzling materials such as cement, steel, aluminium and glass. Yet as Surya Kakani, an Ahmedabad-based architect who has built several eco-sensitive institutional and industrial facilities, says, “A building in mud may not be truly green in its impact if the mud is transported from a faraway location, using up a lot of fuel.”

Waste material locally available may be the best. Some years ago, Kakani used earthquake rubble to build load-bearing walls for a school in Rajkot, which he then plastered and painted—a conventional look with deep green veins. At a recently completed garment factory in Ahmedabad (which is day-lit and naturally ventilated), he exposed the mix of fly-ash bricks (75%) and burnt bricks (25%) in a distinctive look that flaunts environment-friendly underpinnings.

Size matters too. An air-conditioned, 5,000 sq. ft bachelor’s pad, even if built with local mud, would not be the best illustration of sustainable architecture. In this case, size alone would negate the low-energy consumption of the building material, even before power-guzzling appliances come into play. The natural look of mud construction can hide a very unnatural attitude to consumption.

Perhaps there is no green look then. Or maybe looks have nothing to do with sustainability.

A less sustainable look?

Consider the other side of the coin—is there an aesthetic that is inherently non-green?


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:08 AM, ,

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