Lattice-reinforced, rammed earth wall, Wyoming home

This energetic and committed client had fallen for a modern design home, done in prefabricated stick-built modules. With some more research, he found a local builder who was prepared to build the rather complex, albeit reasonably sized, home using rammed earth for the walls. Again, schedules were pressing in all parties, and from both ends. We borrowed a fairly new, European, version of this ancient method that uses simple timbers buried in the walls, to resist gravity loads. We overlaid a light trellis, under the exterior siding, to provide the lateral load resistance. Much of what we designed is “off any known design chart” and not to be found in any building codes. In close cooperation with the client (and his father, who expects to lift much of the clay for ramming), we revised and refined the details to be both sturdy and buildable. We invested a lot of our own time in this learning curve project. We came away from it even more convinced that this old technique has real appeal in our building market, future, and culture. We would love to amortize some of our investment in the system by helping you to design and detail your own rammed earth home for high seismic and wind loads.

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