The Architectural Review's Awards for Emerging Architecture has US$ 30,000 in prizes for young architects. We liked a few of the winners and runners-up, including this demonstration by Tokyo's Loco Architects of the possibilities of rammed earth construction. Its been around for thousands of years and usually pretty clunky, (Inhabitat covers a modern version here) but this winner of a Japanese competition is spectacular. It is a "concept house which aims to impinge as little as possible on the environment. When the house becomes redundant, its rammed earth walls can simply be demolished and returned to the ground. " ::AR Awards for Emerging Architecture
"The material to construct the house is generated by site excavation and preparation. A series of tightly packed earth walls define and enclose a loose arrangement of interconnected spaces. The tapering profiles of the walls form a new topography, as if the land has been cut and fashioned by forces of nature. In reality, an array of rollers, rammers and concrete mixers were used to make and shape the walls. Raw steel sheets, more commonly used for providing grip for trucks on construction sites, were employed as a roofing material.
The outcome is delightfully primitive, like an archaeological excavation revealing ancient burial mounds, and it would take some effort for it to be properly habitable. "