Rammed earth is great stuff. The material is literally dirt cheap, formed like concrete but without the use of CO2 producing cement. It has great thermal mass and acoustics- when your wall is up to two feet thick, nothing gets through it.
Black and white photographs from Boltshauser Architekten
Earth buildings are costly in terms of labor. The silt and earthen mixture is compressed periodically in horizontal layers and compressed with air compression beaters and vibration rolls. In case of "House Rauch" 41% of the house's volume is under earth, which results in some subterranean cave-like spaces. The building's foundation is made of 60cm trass cement - the traditional roman cement, the ceilings are "Dippelbaumdecken" (beam ceilings) and the interior thermal insulation is made from rush mats, which is also a perfect underground for the finishing coat.
Martin Rauch's website describes it:
The house which was finished 2008 reacts in its position and in its character directly to the topographic gradient of the slim plot and its genuine landscape context: A monolithic structure becomes a sculptural bloc, an abstract and artificial nature pressed upward from the underlying earth. Through this process the technique of solid rammed earth walls becomes the result of the wish to build a house exclusively with ecological materials. The construction shows, because of the planning cooperation with Roger Boltshauser and the resulting construction of the house through the constructor and earthen structure craftsman Martin Rauch, a consistently experimental approach.
More at 100 % Earth House. "House Rauch".
Learn more at Rammed Earth is For Everyone
More on rammed earth:
The Dirt on Rammed Earth
Rammed Earth House from AR Awards
Rammed Earth Goes to the Chickens
Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre: Rammed Earth Wonder