One of the most beautiful and ancient wall types used in construction is made from “rammed earth“. These walls are constructed using forms much like a concrete wall is constructed, but are instead filled with multiple layers of soil combined with a small amount of cement. The walls are structural, and the results are stunning. The most unique aspect of rammed earth walls, aside from their texture, is the horizontal layering of the different soils that are tamped (rammed) into place within the forms.
At TLCD Architecture’s 120,000 sf, 3-story American AgCredit Headquarters Building in Santa Rosa a rammed earth wall is being used as a backdrop for the main reception area. Because of the difficultly of constructing a wall within the building’s steel frame, the wall was completed last week, prior to the steel frame being erected. The forms will remain in place during construction in order to protect the wall; the wall won’t be unveiled until sometime next year!
Of particular note, soils were collected from various geographic areas from across the western United States serviced by American AgCredit. The colors of these soil samples were then matched to soils of the particular consistency necessary to provide the structural integrity required. This prominent wall will reflect the diverse geography serviced by the company, which makes loans for agriculture. It also reflects the fact that soil, along with sun and water, is one of the key components of agriculture.
We all look forward to seeing the results; waiting until next year is going to require patience!