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Hands-On Earth Building: A Journey Through Our Rammed Earth Workshop

Updated: Mar 9




A few weeks ago we had a rammed earth workshop at our studio space in Ghana. It was our first rammed earth workshop that we had hosted ourselves. We had 22 participants attend from all over the world, it was amazing to see how far our company has reached. 


Our recent rammed earth workshop in Ghana highlighted the significance of this construction method in sustainable building practices. 

We get a lot of demand for rammed earth services and workshops, so we wanted to put this workshop together as a fun and interactive way of learning this building technique and hopefully get some people started on their earth build journey.

Through workshops like these, we not only demonstrate the beauty and resilience of rammed earth but also foster a community of passionate advocates for sustainable construction. 






Workshop Overview


We had participants coming in from the States, Canada, Ghana, Benin, UK, Mali, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and even Sao Tome. 

Our workshop was held over 2 days and we had a mixture of theory and practical.



Day 1


On the first day of our workshop, our primary objective was to provide participants with a comprehensive introduction to rammed earth construction. 

We had a diverse mix of attendees ranging from self-builders to architects, designers, and building contractors.

The day began with an engaging overview of rammed earth techniques and its significance in sustainable building practices. The session sparked discussions and questions, setting a nice tone for the workshop. 

Following the introductory session, we took participants to see some of the rammed earth and poured earth samples that we had prepared beforehand. 

This hands-on experience allowed participants to examine the materials up close, gaining a deeper understanding of their composition and properties. By the end the morning session, participants were not only equipped with theoretical knowledge but also had the opportunity to engage with tangible examples of rammed earth construction, laying a solid foundation for the practical sessions ahead.








After the morning session, we had a buffet spread which was provided by Essie’s. The original plan was to start doing the formwork before lunch, but we had so much questions we were a little behind schedule, plus we thought it be best to fill up on food before the practical work began. 


After lunch, the rammed earth workshop continued with a hands-on session focused on building formwork, a crucial step in the rammed earth construction process. Participants were guided through the intricacies of constructing formwork, learning the importance of precision and durability in creating a sturdy mold for the earth walls. 

Following this demonstration, the group was split into two teams, each tasked with independently assembling their own formwork. Once the teams had successfully put together their formworks, we delved into the intricacies of mix design and soil selection, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right materials for optimal results. After a thorough explanation of the mix components, participants began compacting their wall samples, putting their newfound knowledge into practice as they created their own rammed earth walls.









Day 2

On the second day of the workshop, participants returned to unveil the results of their previous day's efforts. With anticipation, we proceeded to remove the formwork from both walls, revealing two rammed earth walls. 

While both walls turned out great overall, there were some inconsistencies observed. 

In Wall 1, the mix was slightly too wet, resulting in minor imperfections, while Wall 2 suffered from a lack of tightness in the formwork, causing slight deviations from straightness. 

However, despite these challenges, the experience provided invaluable lessons for participants, highlighting the importance of precise mix consistency and formwork tightness in achieving optimal results. 

Following the formwork removal, we enjoyed a well-deserved brunch before delving into a session on integrating electrical and plumbing components into rammed earth structures. This comprehensive learning experience equipped participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to overcome challenges and ensure the success of their future rammed earth projects.



Highlights


The hands-on experience gained during the workshop provided participants with invaluable insights into the world of rammed earth construction. As they grappled with challenges such as ensuring a proper mix of consistency and formwork tightness, participants also celebrated successes in successfully creating sturdy and resilient earth walls. Throughout the workshop, participants learned a multitude of techniques and best practices, from mastering the art of formwork construction to understanding the intricacies of mix design and soil selection. 







The workshop emphasized the collaborative nature of sustainable construction, fostering an environment of community and collaboration among participants. Throughout the sessions, there was a strong emphasis on networking and knowledge-sharing, with participants exchanging ideas, experiences, and insights into rammed earth construction. The importance of collaboration was underscored as participants worked together to overcome challenges and celebrate successes, reinforcing the notion that sustainable building is a collective effort. 


Moving forward, the workshop sparked discussions about future opportunities for collaboration and community-building in sustainable construction. Participants expressed enthusiasm for continued networking and partnerships, recognizing the value of collective action in advancing sustainable building practices and creating a greener, more resilient future for all.







In conclusion

The workshop was a great success, leaving a lasting impact on participants and underscoring the significance of rammed earth construction in sustainable building practices. 


Reflecting on the significance of rammed earth construction, it becomes clear that this ancient technique holds immense potential in addressing contemporary environmental challenges and promoting sustainable development. 


We extend our gratitude to all the participants who attended and for their invaluable contributions. We look forward to continued collaboration and collective efforts in advancing sustainable building practices and creating a more resilient future for generations to come.


If you're looking to get started on learning about rammed earth sign up to our next workshop here


Download our rammed earth E-Book here


Watch our rammed earth step by step online course here


Subscribe to our newsletter here to be notified of the next workshop dates and all things green building.



















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