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  • Writer's pictureJoia Preciosa

Techniques for working the raw earth

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

In recent years, raw earth constructions have resurfaced in #Africa (#Mali, #Cameroon, #Nubia, #Rwanda, #Senegal and many others... )

More ecological material and adapted to the environment of these countries , this material has long been assimilated to the house of the poor against the concrete houses which have often been assimilated to a sign of social advancement.

Now more modernized, raw earth constructions are becoming increasingly popular. Raw earth is one of the very first building materials used by humans.

This all-natural material is obtained by sifting mainly very slightly damp earth, sand, clay and water. It will then be left to dry out of direct sunlight to allow it to harden.

There are various techniques for working the raw earth.

The #Nubian vault technique, a technique coming from #Egypt which allows the construction of dwellings with vaulted roofs without formwork, with local materials and simple tools.

Traditional techniques improved.

  • Such as adobe brick, which is a mixture of clay, water and sometimes plants, wood chips, sawdust, hemp or even animal hair.

  • Rammed earth, which is a process of building raw earth walls, compacted in a formwork in successive layers of earth.

  • The slab which consists of the construction of massive walls, often load-bearing, with a mixture of earth, water, plants and fibers or animal hair put by stacking in the plastic state without the aid of formwork .

  • Banco bricks: Bricks of raw earth dried in the sun.

  • Laterite, a soft rock of red color, which is extracted in the form of blocks, and which hardens on exposure to air. More recent variants also exist: compressed earth bricks, projected earth etc ..

There are many techniques for working raw earth.

When properly protected from the elements, raw earth is highly resistant to wear, requires little maintenance and has a long lifespan.

Can stay for generations and generations. It is perfectly resistant to fire and remains financially very economical.

Finally, by observing more closely the construction in raw earth has nothing to envy to the concrete constructions!

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