In Praise of Situated Experimentalism
Experimental spaces are simultaneously spaces of possibility, experience, and action. In them openness prevails and boundaries, substances, and processes are constantly re-negotiated and realigned with changing goals. This article reports on the experimental construction of a rammed earth pavilion in the garden of the ancient Hoogcruts Abbey (NL). Two construction phases, undertaken more than a year apart, resulted in the construction of earthen walls and a bamboo roof. The conceptual and material aspects of the process were also worked out through a system of documentation and graphic notation.
Traditional and Modern Techniques for Building Vaults and Domes from Earth
Techniques for building vaults and domes from adobes have been known for thousands of years. In the last few years some of these techniques have been improved and adopted for modern building by reducing material and labor costs and optimizing their structural behavior.
This essay presents the Nubian vault technique, which was optimized and applied to modern projects in India, South America, and Germany. It further presents dome building techniques, historically used in Persia and Afghanistan, that have since been applied to modern housing in Germany, and a new technique for building domes with a span of up to thirteen meters diameter and a wall thickness of only thirty centimeters without formwork utilizing a special rotational guide. More than forty domes of this type have been built so far in Germany, Slovakia, Greece, India, Egypt, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.