College of Architecture Texas A&M University


Previous Issue  

Next Issue

College Home

College Calendar

Aggie Daily

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 Media contact:  
 Phillip Rollfing  

Earth Shack

‘Earth Shack’ showcases
rammed-earth technology



Last semester, Texas A&M construction science students used rammed earth technology to construct an experimental shed at the College of Architecture’s new Riverside Campus Prototype Research Facility, also known as the Architecture Ranch.

Dubbed the “Earth Shack,” the experimental structure sits on a 13’-8” x 8’ foot print and includes 6’- 6” tall rammed earth walls topped by a sloping metal roof, which is supported by wood frames. The shack has two windows and a door and is spanned by bond beams with 15” bearing on the walls, which are protected by 4’-wide roof overhangs.

Rammed earth is a method of building walls whereby a mixture of earth is compacted in layers between forms. Each layer of earth is approximately four inches deep. As each form is filled and the earth hardens, the formwork is removed and placed for the next lift. The process continues until the desired wall height is achieved.

The soil mix, Burt explained, needs to be carefully balanced between clay, sand and aggregate. The clay and moisture content of rammed earth, he said, is relatively low compared to that used for mud brick or other earth building methods.

For details on the Earth Shack experiment and the students’ discoveries, read Burt’s project report:

- The End -

^ Back to top

The Architecture Ranch's new 'Earth Shack'

Computer pre-visualization and design drawing

Construction Science professor Richard Burt inspects another layer of rammed earth during the construction of the Architecture Ranch's new Earth Shack

Montage of photos from construction

Larger Images>>