Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods
From adobe to straw bales, traditional building materials are being adapted to meet code-required standards for health and safety in contemporary buildings around the world. Not only are they cost effective and environmentally friendly, but, when used correctly, these natural alternatives match the strength and durability of many mainstream construction materials.
This book examines a broad range of traditional and modern natural construction methods, including straw-bale, light-clay, cob, adobe, rammed earth and pise, earthbag, earth-sheltered, bamboo, and hybrid systems. It also covers key ecological design principles, as well as current engineering and building code requirements.
Experts on each building system have contributed core chapters that explore the history, development, climatic appropriateness, environmental benefits, performance characteristics, construction techniques, and structural design principles for each method. More than 200 visuals depict both construction processes and completed structures. An extensive resource guide shows where to go for further information, training, and research.
In an increasingly resource-conscious era, alternative construction is truly an idea whose time has come. Whether you're an architect, designer, student, or homeowner, this book will help you to combine indigenous building materials with modern construction systems and design standards to create low-impact, high-quality buildings that meet the highest levels of comfort, health, and safety.
Part I. DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The Natural Building Movement 3
The Realities of Specifying Environmental Building Materials 9
2. A New Context for Building Codes and Regulation 19
3. Natural Conditioning of Buildings 37
Ken Haggard, Polly Cooper, and Jennifer Rennick with assistance from Phil Niles
4. Structural Properties of Alternative Building Materials 71
Bruce King, P.E.
PART II. SYSTEMS AND MATERIALS
5. Adobe 87
6. Cob 117
7. Rammed Earth 151
8. Modular Contained Earth
Joseph Kennedy and Paulina Wojciechowska with special acknowledgment of the work of Nader Khalili
9. Light Clay 195
Robert Laporte and Frank Andresen with special acknowledgment of the work of Franz Volhard
10. Straw-Bale 209
Kelly Lerner, Bob Theis, and Dan Smith
11. Bamboo 235
Darrel DeBoer and Karl Bareis
12. Earthen Finishes
Earth Plasters 255
Earth Floors 264
Bill and Athena Steen
Part III. APPLICATIONS
13. Integrated Systems with Rammed Earth
Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona Campus,
New South Wales, Australia 273
14. Straw, Clay, and Carrizo
Obregon Project, Northern Mexico 283
Bill and Athena Steen
15. Light-Clay House Additions
School/Residence in Wisconsin 297
Lou Host-Jablonski, AIA
16. Variations on Earthbag
The HoneyHouseMoab, Utah 309
Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer
Residences in Arizona and Wisconsin 313
Sandbag House, RumCay Island, Bahamas 315
Steve Kemble and Carol Escott
17. The Value of Indigenous Ways
Habitat for Humanity International 323
C. Wayne Nelson
18. Building Technology Transfer
Raising Straw-BaleHousing for Farmworkers in California 333
Kelly Lerner, Dan Smith, and Bob Theis
Introduction of Straw-Bale Construction to Mongolia and China 339
Finding the Soul of Natural Building 357
Recommended References 365
Alternative Construction Resource Centers 375
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS 381
CASSANDRA ADAMS is an architect and consultant in construction management and ecological design. She has taught architecture, construction, and environmental courses at the University of Washington and the University of California–Berkeley.
- Chapters written by expert contributors on the building methods and materials covered, such as straw bale, light clay, cob, adobe, rammed earth and pisé, earthbag, earth-sheltered, bamboo, and hybrid systems.
- Includes over 100 photographs of construction processes and completed buildings.
- Contains 70 line illustrations featuring a variety of wall assemblies.