rammed earth house
The Vaulted Earth House
Finding the best possible position
Both spatially and constructively, the small house finds itself in a diverse environment. The farm buildings form diverse spaces and mostly derive their shape from their particular construction methods.
The competition area is slightly removed from the context of the farm cluster and is mainly characterised by the small forest.
Still, the chosen site keeps a relation and turns its entrance façade towards the farmyard’s access. It is distant from the road and allows views out of the grove towards the adjacent fields in the south and west.
Utilising rammed earth to the full extent
An architecture that, as in this case, decidedly refers to a construction method is particularly strong when it recognises its design potential.
As you would expect from an experimental building, the Vaulted Earth House makes maximum use of the chosen material, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Openings are spanned with load-bearing arches, rooms with vaulted constructions. Furnishings or stairs are also largely made of rammed earth.
Selected surfaces are enhanced with ceramics and clay paint.
Making full use of the sculptural potential
From an architectural point of view, the sculptural potential of rammed earth construction is extremely appealing. Elements can be constructed monolithically in vivid forms and intersect sculpturally. The distinctive surface texture is additionally enlivened by the incident light. The spaces are held together by the materiality and thus convey a high degree of protection.
From the outside, on the other hand, the house seems to literally grow out of the ground. The slender, towering volumes show the layered structure and relate to the trunks of the thick deciduous trees all around.
Simplifying the construction method
Despite its spatial diversity, the house should be economical to build. Its prismatic outer form contributes to this above all. A single, upward-moving formwork is sufficient to pour and compact the material in layers of 20 to 40 centimeters. Inside, simple timbers can be used for the molds of the vaults and openings. The roofs are protected with parapets and waterproofing and divert rainwater in a controlled manner. A roof overhang is not necessary as erosion brakes are rammed in at regular intervals.
Offering a maximum of situations in a small house
The house covers only 22 square metres of ground but provides a rich interior. The residents experience the surroundings from different levels: the living room rises slightly off the ground. It is characterised by a large opening that looks south through the forest to the wide fields. A raised lounging area is set back a little and warmed-up by a fireplace. From an alcove, a spiral staircase leads past the bathroom to the vaulted sleeping area. A large panoramic window looks out from the bed and through the western edge of the forest. Finally, a sheltered roof terrace is reached via the spiral staircase to spend some time amidst the light treetops.