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  • The University of Utah

    College of Architecture + Planning

    375 S. 1530 E., Rm. 332 Arch

    SLC, UT 84112

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    Ramming It Up!

    Yesterday we got to start the rammed earth walls for the kitchen. We started the day with putting the final touches on some of our formwork. It’s important that the forms stay completely rigid as the pneumatic tamper uses a lot of force and won’t have as nice of a finish if the forms aren’t properly supported.

    PC: Jordan DeJarnett

    Checking the form – PC: Jordan DeJarnett

    Brad and Rodger from Earth Wall Builders have been staying with us this week to help us make sure everything runs smoothly. We are so grateful to them for all the time they’ve spent with us. Before we could get started we had to run some soil tests to find the right ratio that worked well both to give the rammed earth wall strength but also to give is a smooth finish that looks beautiful.

    PC: Natalie Chipman

    Soil Test – PC: Natalie Chipman

    Brad and Rodger also gave us a tutorial on how to properly and safely use the pneumatic rammers as they pack quite a punch. Once everyone got a hang of that we started mixing dirt, gravel, cement, and our color pigment to pack into place. We mixed the earth with shovels on OSB on the ground so we could maintain good quality. When the mixture was done we lifted 5 gallon buckets full of the mix to someone above feeding the material into the form work to be rammed by the poor soul that got volunteered to climb in that small hole to ram the loose dirt into place.

    Mixing the earth about to be rammed - PC: Natalie Chipman

    Mixing the earth about to be rammed – PC: Natalie Chipman

    Although the learning process for rammed earth was quite intensive and took some time, as we had never done anything with rammed earth before, we are very confident that we are going to find our groove in the coming weeks for the rest of the rammed earth sections and we are sure it will all be done before we know it.

    Natalie & Jordan