Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rammed Earth Column

Alright, pop quiz, so what can you make with steel pipes, and some scraps of plastic corrugated roofing?

okay, okay, and a bunch of duct tape?

Answer: A fluted column form for a site-based, rammed earth experiment!

After reading all the books I could find on the subject and doing small batch tests with the local soil, I design the mix to be 16 : 3 : 1 (site soil, mason's sand, cement) for the optimal compressive strength and a finish that I won't have to plaster yet still withstand the elements.

We weren't entirely sure if the whole thing wasn't just going to collapse actually when we took of the form the following day. But it worked great!

I even threw in a couple layers of varying colors and textures

and sculpt a cob cornice at the top

A huge light reflector serves as the roof and gives a 3" overhang around the whole thing.

It's located at the entry of the Garden of Earthly Delights,
at the BRING Planet Improvement Center

and supports the beautiful reclaimed metal gate built by local metal sculptor, Jud Turner


  1. all very cool stuff...***

  2. I love this! I'm curious how it has held up over time. No problems with the corrugated design? Such an awesome idea!