Rammed Earth Architecture: How Traditional Technology Continues to Influence Modern Homes

It may not look like it, but this stylish and modern home is created using one of the oldest building methods: Rammed Earth building. Rammed earth building has been used for centuries as a natural and sustainable way to create durable homes. This method takes dirt and mixes it with other natural materials to create a clay mixture that works as a building medium. This ancient building technology has been shown to have significant benefits beyond being durable and natural. It also offers great insulation and helps the home regulate it's temperature no matter what the weather is outdoors. So bringing this ancient technique into the 21st century is a very smart idea that could revolutionize the way we build our homes creating more sustainable and more affordable ways to build them. This house in the treetops was designed by Architect Andrew Simpson of WireDog Architecture and is called the Island Bay House. He took design ideas from Japanese architecture to make the home feel spacious while keeping the footprint more compact. The home is outside of Wellington in New Zealand perched above the sea in a picturesque scene surrounded by trees and lush foliage. The home is a total of 3,390 square feet and features an energy-efficient envelope and many other great eco-friendly surprises.

One of the first things you'll notice about this home are all of the floor to ceiling windows and doors which is part of the passive house concepts that are integrated into the design. The home actually belongs to Andrew and his fiancée, Krysty who wanted to build their very own home and wanted it to be something very different from the rest. They bought a small piece of land that would prove to have some building obstacles, but the views were too incredible to pass us. As they were designing the home, Andrew was inspired by the work of architect Makoto Masuzawa and Japanese architecture in general, which takes smaller spaces and makes the best out of them. Much like Makoto's home designs, the Island Bay House features an open floor plan and makes good use of vertical space by building up instead of out. For this home, instead of a full second floor, they added a loft bedroom which is made private by a balustrade made out of custom space-saving wooden shelving. This is a great way to create different spaces without having to build actual walls which close the space off entirely. At least with this shelving, the room still feels somewhat open to the rest of the house, but it still has privacy.

The open living area features a living room, office, kitchen and dining area which are all sharing the same space. This open concept floor plan helps to keep the home feeling spacious and large, plus the floor to ceiling glass doors open up to amazing views and bring in natural light, and ocean breezes. The home makes use of passive solar technology for all of the heating. The west windows capture the maximum amount of the sun's heat in the winter, and then the heavily insulated walls help to keep the heat inside. The kitchen has rammed-earth walls as well as plywood and bamboo cabinets, and stainless steel counters. There are also artistic touches throughout the home like the little shelves placed throughout the homes built into the walls for displaying different items and art. The couple also had an oak and yew dining table made especially for the home and reclaimed rimu wood was used on the ceilings and the floors. Overall, this home is very , but it's a work of art that has so many aspects to appreciate and inspire.

More about this story can be found at: WireDog Architecture

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