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Building with Earth

Biophilic Design / 14 Patterns 

Dachverband Lehm e.V.

Earth, one of the oldest building materials known to humankind, has sustained civilizations for millennia. Despite its ancient roots, its significance waned with the rise of industrialized construction methods. However, in recent decades, a resurgence of interest in sustainable and eco-conscious building practices has brought Earth back into the spotlight.
Historically, earth construction flourished, with nearly a third of the world’s population residing in earth-built homes. Yet, as industrialization advanced, traditional methods gave way to mass-produced materials like concrete and steel. Brief resurgences occurred post-war when resources were scarce, but Earth ultimately fell out of favour. The late 20th century saw a shift in priorities towards environmental sustainability. With a growing awareness of the ecological footprint of construction, architects and builders began reevaluating traditional materials.

Earth, with its renewable qualities and low energy requirements, emerged as a frontrunner in the quest for eco-friendly building solutions. Building with earth offers plenty of advantages. Its hardening and softening with moisture allow for infinite recycling, minimizing waste and energy consumption. Moreover, the earth’s natural sorption properties regulate indoor humidity, fostering a healthier living environment. Additionally, capillary conductivity makes it an excellent choice for insulating and protecting against moisture in timber-frame structures.

Contemporary research has unveiled new dimensions of Earth’s versatility. Notably, its ability to shield against electromagnetic radiation positions it as a compelling choice for modern living spaces inundated with wireless technology. Furthermore, earth’s aesthetic appeal, with its warm, natural hues, adds a timeless charm to architectural designs.

As we navigate sustainability challenges in the built environment, the timeless wisdom of earth construction offers a beacon of hope. By embracing traditional techniques alongside innovative technologies, we can create buildings that endure and nurture the planet and its inhabitants. “Building with Earth” serves as a testament to the enduring legacy and boundless potential of this age-old material in shaping a greener, more resilient future.

Explore the properties and construction techniques of building with Earth with the informative booklet “Building with Earth.” by Dachverband Lehm e.V.

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