Rumoer 78 Earth

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Building Technologist Technology periodical forA(BouT) the Building

featuring

Herzog De Meuron, IAAC, WASP, LEVS Architects, Masons Ink, Dhruv Bhaskar,Thanat Prathnadi, Yask Kulshreshtha, Athanasios Rodiftsis, Scarlett Lee, Max Mandat, Lizzie Wynn, Juan Sebastian Cruz

78. Earth


https://www.3dwasp.com/en/3d-printed-house-tecla/

@3dwasp

Cover page description 3D Printed House TECLA's supporting structure is the first and unique fully 3D printed construction based on natural materials and made with multiple 3D printers operating at the same time. The innovative habitat model engineered by WASP and designed by MC A – Mario Cucinella Architects took form, a new circular model of housing entirely created with reusable and recyclable materials, sourced from local soil, carbon-neutral and adaptable to any climate and context.

About Wasp 3D printing is WASP’s heart since a small and fast printer that materialises objects made of bio-plastic, clay, silicone and biocompatible materials, which mills wood and aluminium, makes it easy to start mini-productions and to create what you need by yourself. The revenue from the sale of solid printers is invested in the research and development of integrated projects aiming at a production revolution that could result in widespread prosperity. Research that advances hand in hand with eco-friendly, sustainable and functional materials and innovative systems. The projects so far realised by the group are 100% self-financed. The aim of WASP is to build ‘zero-mile’ homes, using materials found on the surrounding area. A similar project requires that the machine be portable and features low energy consumption, since in large areas of the planet, there is no electricity at all. It must therefore be able to use renewable energies such as sun, wind and water.


RUMOER 78 - EARTH 4th Quarter 2021 27th year of publication Praktijkvereniging BouT Room 02.West.090 Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft Julianalaan 134 2628 BL Delft The Netherlands tel: +31 (0)15 278 1292 fax: +31 (0)15 278 4178 www.praktijkverenigingbout.nl rumoer@praktijkverenigingbout.nl instagram: @bout_tud Printing www.druktanheck.nl ISSN number 1567-7699 Editorial Committee Aditya Soman Christopher Bierach Daphne de Bruin Eren Gozde Anil (Editor-in-Chief) Fawzi Bata Thomas Lindemann Tim Schumann

Membership Amounts per academic year (subject to change): € 10,- Students € 30,- PhD Students and alumni € 30,- Academic Staff Single copies: Available at Bouw Shop (BK) for : € 5,- Students €10,- Academic Staff , PhD Students and alumni Sponsors Praktijkvereniging BouT is looking for sponsors. Sponsors make activities possible such as study trips, symposia, case studies, advertisements on Rumoer, lectures and much more. For more info contact BouT: info@praktijkverenigingbout.nl If you are interested in BouT’s sponsor packages, send an e-mail to: finances@praktijkverenigingBouT.nl Disclaimer The editors do not take any responsibility for the photos and texts that are displayed in the magazine. Images may not be used in other media without permission of the original owner. The editors reserve the right to shorten or refuse publication without prior notification.

Cover Page 3D Printed House TECLA by WAsp RUMOER is the official periodical of Praktijkvereniging BouT, student and practice association for Building Technology (AE+T), at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft (Delft University of Technology). This magazine is spread among members and relations. Circulation: The RUMOER appears 3 times a year, with more than 150 printed copies and digital copies made available to members through online distribution.

Interested to join? The Rumoer Committee is open to all students. Are you a creative student that wants to learn first about the latest achievements of TU Delft and Building Technology industry? Come join us at our weekly meeting or email us @ rumoer@praktijkverenigingbout.nl


CONTENT 07

3D Printing Earth Architecture -WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) (company)

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Flexible formwork rammed earth: Advantages of a low-tech technology -Scarlett Lee, PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh (academic)

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Fancy making a house from cow-dung and mud? -Yask Kulshreshtha, PhD candidate TU Delft (academic)

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Parvus Syrtis -Levent Ozruh , Behice Özer , Thanat Prathnadi, AA Visiting School (graduate) Ricola Kräuterzentrum -HERZOG & DE MEURON (project)

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Open Thesis Fabrication postgraduate research program in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA) -Institution for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) (graduate)

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Earthen additive manufacturing with customized nozzles to create a gradient material for on-demand performance. -Maximilian Mandat, TU Delft. (graduate)

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Mud Matters -Rosie Paul and Sridevi Changali, Masons Ink (company) From the Ground Up -Athanasios Rodiftsis ,TU Delft (graduate)

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The Future Is Compressed -Jurriaan van Stigt, LEVS architecten talk with Fawzi Bata and Tim Schumann (interview)

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A state of cohesion -Dhruv Bhasker, Founder of Samangal Studio, Auroville (company)

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Earth and Waste -Lizzie Wynn, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University (academic).

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The Photoceramics - an alternative to solve overheating photovoltaic cells -Juan Sebastian Cruz (student).

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Debut 2021 Energy Transition -Jun Wen Loo (interviewee), Aneesha Madabhushi (interviewer) (BouT).


Editorial

EDITORIAL Dear Reader, To start with, we are beyond excited to share the second topic of the Material Trilogy which started with 77th issue: Wood. With the previous issue we explored the wonders of wood as a building material with high and low construction techniques.

Aneesha

Christopher

Eren

Fawzi

Menandros

Pranay

Thomas

Tim

Developing on the previous issue we are featuring another material which has been used for many years and can be the subject to technological innovations. Secondly, I would like to welcome the new members of Rumoer

Rumoer committee 2021-2022

committee for the upcoming year and thank the outstanding commitee of Rumoer for their hard work to make this issue

earth remains the same feature appearing continuously.

come strong during the last couple of months. Lastly, Rumoer

This being the main reason for our curiosity and eagerness to

started to feature Student Articles in addition to Academic,

highlight an ancient material, we are aiming to approach the

Company, Project, Interview, Graduate.

theme from a high tech perspective as well as from a traditional point of view.

With this issue, our focus is to explore a theme which is simple but interesting which can be approached from many

In the 78th issue of RuMoer, we will be exploring new

perspectives. Early in the academic year we conducted a public

ways of working with earth as a material including robotic

survey to feature a topic that you are interested to read about.

fabrication and 3D printing in order to highlight the fact that

This theme happened to be earth. Earth has already been used

even though earth has been used for many years in traditional

for construction for many years and yet with the technological

ways earth as a material comes with many wonders. In addition

advancements, earth as a material put back to shelves after

to the high tech. application, traditional building techniques as

years of developing local and traditional building techniques.

well as newer techniques with simpler design solutions will be

This material can be used in many ways: it can be cast into

featured.

bricks, rammed to create walls with layered appearances, used

I hope you enjoy reading the issue!

as seasonal waterproofing, shaped into adobe bricks and so on.

Eren Gozde Anil

The list of traditional techniques vary from region to region but

Editor-in-chief | Rumoer 2021-2022

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3D Printing Earth Architecture WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) Inspired by the Potter Wasp, which builds its own nest with material recovered from the surrounding environment, since 2012 WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) have been developing viable construction processes based on the principles of circular economy and digital fabrication. WASP- World’s Advanced Saving Project is a company born in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna- Italy) that designs, produces and sells 3D printers Made in Italy all over the world. The wide range of WASP 3D printers has been developed to answer human needs: food, housing, health, energy, work, art and culture. WASP was born with the aim of developing large-scale 3D printers, to build houses with natural materials and available on the territory. The main company target is to provide effective benefits to humans through technological innovation and research. The research of WASP is divided in three separate fields: material providing, 3D printing technology and architectural design. Fig. 1: 3D printed Pop-up store Maison DIOR, Dubai

© Mohamed Somji // Christian Dior


78 | Earth Fig. 2: 3D printed earth habitat: GAIA, Massa Lombarda. © WASP

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Company Fig. 3: Printing process of GAIA using the WASP CRANE, 2018 © WASP

The first 3D printed house with earth, GAIA Gaia, whose name is due to the use of raw soil as the main binder of the constituent mixture, can be considered a new eco-sustainable architectural model with particular attention to the use of natural waste materials, coming from the rice production chain and oriented to the construction of particularly efficient masonry from a bioclimatic and healthy point of view. Gaia is a highly performing module both in terms of energy and indoor health, with an almost zero environmental impact. Printed in a few weeks with a new 3D printing technology CRANE WASP, thanks to its masonry,

it does not need heating or an air conditioning system, as it maintains a mild and comfortable temperature inside both in winter and in summer. Gaia represents an important milestone, also in light of all the researches conducted in the 3d printing field, in the design and materials study. Crane WASP Surface: 20 sq. Printed building envelope: 30 sq.m. Materials: Raw soil, straw, rice husk, lime. Construction time: 10 days

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78 | Earth Fig. 4: Eco sustainable dome-shaped house: TECLA, Massa Lombarda. © Iago Corazza // MC A Architects

3D printed global habitat for sustainable living, TECLA Since 2016, WASP has been working on the WASP Crane system in order to produce 3D-printed houses in the shortest possible time and in the most sustainable way. Crane WASP is the world’s first modular and multilevel 3D printer designed to collaboratively build singular and even more extensive architectural works. The system is configured according to project needs and defines the structure of a safe and extremely efficient construction site. Each printer unit has a printing area of 50 square meters and therefore makes it possible to build independent living modules with consistent shaping freedom. For the first time, multiple printing arms have been synchronized inside a construction site like in an industrial production line. Thanks to a software synthesis of years of research in WASP, the system is capable of optimizing movements, avoiding collisions and ensuring simultaneous operation.

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The redundancy of the system allows a consistent reduction of the printing time and the possibility of operating ordinary maintenance during the printing. Tecla is a prototype of sustainable habitat developed by WASP and Mario Cucinella Architects to show the potential of the 3D printing technology applied on the earthen based architecture. It is the demonstration that 3D technology is able to create buildings by optimizing the construction process and minimizing the use of human and energy resources. The double dome solution made it possible to cover at the same time the roles of structure, roof and external cladding, making the house highperformance on all aspects.

Printing time: 200 hours Machine codes (G-code): 7000 Layers: 350 of 12 mm Extrusion: 150 km Natural materials: 60 cubic meters for an average consumption of less than 6 kW.


Company Fig. 5: Printing process of TECLA using the WASP CRANE, 2020. © Iago Corazza // MC A Architects

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78 | Earth Fig. 6: Printing process Maison Dior using the WASP CRANE, 2021. © WASP

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Company

This hi-tech feat pushes the boundaries of savoir-faire for WASP which for the first time, like a digital tailor, has designed a habitable structure in proportions never seen before. In a fascinating architectural interplay, the cannage motif, a key House code, is revealed on the walls of this ephemeral boutique, 3d printed by WASP. The innovative spaces of the Dior pop-up store were crafted from natural materials, combining clay, sand and raw fibers. Using an exceptional 3D printing system, the collaborative printing system CRANE WASP.

Inauguration: 25 October 2021, open until 22 March 2022 Location: Nammos Beach, Jumeirah, Dubai Fig. 7: Two circular modules with cannage motifs for DIOR concept 3D printer: 2 simultaneous Crane WASP store, Dubai. © Mohamed Somji // Christian Dior Surface: 80 sq.m. Construction time: 120 hours Maison Dior concept store in Dubai On Dubai’s Jumeirah beach stands a unique Dior installation composed of two circular modules crafted from natural materials, using an exceptional 3D printing system designed by WASP.

Massimo Visonà joined the WASP team four years ago, focusing on architectural 3d printing, mechanical design and machine prototyping. He’s the main designer of the Crane WASP, a collaborative 3D printing system capable of printing houses. He actively participated in the Gaia, Tecla and Dior pop-up store design and printing and is currently working on future developments of additive technologies for the architectural field.

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Flexibly formed rammed earth: Advantages of a low-tech technology Scarlett Lee, PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh Rammed earth is one of the most widely-used earthen construction methods in the world, but its use has been limited by the availability of timber, which has traditionally been used as rigid formwork. Despite its long history, the construction technology of rammed earth has not significantly progressed. Although flexible formwork is a new technology for the construction of rammed earth, it has been used in some modern concrete buildings as its advantages over rigid formwork. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to show why flexibly formed rammed earth technology is more advantageous based on tests and the author’s experience of model fabrication.

Fig. 1: Fabric formwork construction that potentially reduces erosion. credit: Scarlett Lee


78 | Earth

Rediscovery of the intrinsic and aesthetic qualities of earthen materials through fabric formwork Fabric is a flexible, lightweight and flaccid material, which is close to nature in the sense that it drapes in response to gravity, stretches by being pulled or bulges under pressure. It is not self-standing, but its flexible quality enables it to be wrapped around 3 dimensional and curved bodies such as ours, and it lends its quality to earthen materials in the same way. Fabric is tailored to fit tightly or loosely around the body, as the same manner, it also holds earthen materials expressing honestly its inherent quality, being obedient to gravity, pressure and tension. At first glance, the fabric of flexible formwork looks flaccid, but its form gradually changes while it is filled with earthen mixture

in the ramming course (Fig.2). The fabric stretches under compaction given by builders and this morphological change is clearly embedded in the shapes of the rammed earth (Fig. 3). The intrinsic quality of the material plays an active role in generating the design, which is also related to the aesthetic quality of fabric-formed rammed earth. The undulated and fabric-like form is more appealing with a haptic texture (Fig 1). This approach is very different from rigid formwork, which forces materials to fit into rigid shapes. Since the shape of rigid formwork is pre-defined by designers, there is much less scope for the performance of earthen materials.

Fig. 2: Fabric formwork shows a change of its form being filled with earthen mixtures. credit: Scarlett Lee

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Academic Fig. 3: The morphological change of fabric is embedded on the surface of the rammed earth during the ramming course. credit: Scarlett Lee

Fabric formwork also produces a smoother finish than timber formwork. According to a test the author conducted, when fabric-formed rammed earth (FR) and timber formed rammed earth (TR) were made of the same unstabilised earthen mixtures, FR had a finer and smoother finish because the fabric was easily removable. On the other hand, TR had a patchy finish because a larger amount of soil was attached to the surface of the wooden panel, despite the application of oil on the panel before the ramming (Fig 4). This shows that the level of moisture content of earthen mixture is not problematic for fabric formwork due to the extraction of excessive moisture through the permeable fabric, whereas a high level of moisture content could cause a defective finish on timber-formed rammed earth.

Fig. 4: Fabric formed rammed earth has a finer and smoother surface than timber formed rammed earth. credit: Scarlett Lee

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78 | Earth

Fabric-formed rammed earth is potentially more resilient to rainfall and floods

Rammed earth is more durable than any other earthen construction methods because a dense form of the structure is created by high compaction that reduces the voids of soil particles that rainfall could penetrate. Rammed earth becomes denser when it is built with fabric formwork compared to timber formwork. The author built specimens with the same earthen mixture and height to test and compare the density of unstabilised fabric formed rammed earth (FR) and timber formed rammed earth (TR) (Fig.5). The change of density of each model was examined by weighing each model periodically for 28 days with the formula (Density = Weight/Volume). The density of each model was found to be nearly identical with less than 0.8% in the final difference, although more earthen mixture was used for the FR as the fabric bulged during the ramming course, interfering with the proper compaction at the edges. (Fig.6) Furthermore, there was a loss of weight of 11.41% in the fabric-formed sample and 10.83% in the rigid formwork, which means that more air and moisture was extracted through a permeable fabric during the ramming course in the fabric formwork model, which enhanced the density.

Fig. 5: Fabric formed rammed earth and timber formed rammed earth specimens were created, and their weights were scaled periodically to examine any change of the density (From top to bottom, the change of colours of the specimens shows that they became dry, losing weight after moisture evaporates). credit: Scarlett Lee

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Academic Furthermore, the flexible quality of fabric helps to create rounded corners of rammed earth, which is expected to be beneficial for reducing the impact of rainfall and wind. On the other hand, for timber-formed rammed earth, additional timber strips need to be added around the corners of the timber formwork as the sharp corners of rammed earth are fragile and break easily (Fig.7). The performance of the curved shapes of rammed earth against rainfall and floods will be further examined in an upcoming test.

Fig. 6-1: The weight of each specimen was scaled periodically to see the change of density. credit: Scarlett Lee

Fig. 6-2: Density of fabric formed rammed earth and timber formed rammed earth models. credit: Scarlett Lee

Fig. 7: The rounded corner of fabric formed rammed earth is expected to be more beneficial for reducing the impact of rainfall than timber formed rammed earth. credit: Scarlett Lee

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78 | Earth Fig. 8: The project Weave proposes using fabric formed rammed earth technology for building a school in Senegal considering of the great benefits of using local available materials, simple construction, and water-resistant structure. credit: Scarlett Lee

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Rediscovering the value of technology through fabric formwork

Fabric formwork not only helps to create a dense form of rammed earth structure that is resilient to rainfall, but it is also a low-cost and simple technology that people with low incomes can afford and build easily. Most people in the southern parts of Pakistan are severely affected by annual floods as their mud houses collapse or are seriously damaged by the impact of floods (UN Habitat, 2010*). The problem with mud houses is that they are built with low compaction, which makes them susceptible to floods. In view of the scarcity of wood and the abundance of fabric, which is the source of a strong local economy in the flood plains, fabric-formed rammed earth technology is expected to be of great benefit for building sustainable houses for these vulnerable communities. It could also expand the scope of engagement to women, who excel at fabric-related tasks. Therefore, the low-cost, simple construction, and water-resistant features of fabricformed rammed earth technology could potentially make a huge contribution to unprivileged communities’ access to sustainable housing (Fig.8).

Rigid formwork is still more widely used in building construction, which raises the question of why it is more popular than fabric formwork, despite the latter’s great advantages. The answer may be related to the standardisation of construction materials. The timber or steel used for rigid formwork has a standardised size, which helps to plan a unified design and construction; hence, it is likely to be more about a design and efficiency-driven approach rather than a material-driven one. On the other hand, any kind of form and shape can be created using fabric formwork which opens up a whole spectrum of design and construction. Because of the inherent quality of the material, the exact outcome of the cast is difficult to estimate as the extent of the bulging of fabric and the compaction given by builders could vary, so that fabric formwork is not for a uniform shape, but for the innate, heterogeneous beauty of the material. Fabric formwork technology is simple to build, but it requires an in-depth understanding of the materials, therefore, this raises the pedagogical question of how to deliver a handson experience to unskilled workers. It also raises a question of what the true value and purpose of technology is, and how it contributes to the sustainable lives of vulnerable people who live in precarious circumstances.

* UN Habitat, 2010. Rapid Technical Assessment of Damage and Needs for Reconstruction in Housing Sector

Academic

Fabric-formed rammed earth technology could be a sustainable housing solution for vulnerable communities in flood-prone areas.

Scarlett Lee is currently conducting her PhD research at the University of Edinburgh. Her practice-driven research entails the use of both architectural and anthropological approaches by designing, building and testing prototypes with an in-depth understanding of the local context. Scarlett has been awarded a Master’s degree in Architectural Design by the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, and has gained practical experience as a Part 2 architectural assistant in Manchester. As a graduate of UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture, she has also participated in an overseas volunteer programme in the Philippines, which entailed delivering earthen workshops to local people and organising daycare centre renovation projects. 21



Academic

Fancy making a house from cowdung and mud? Yask Kulshreshtha, PhD candidate at Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Delft University of Technology Building and Construction industry is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists throughout the world are looking for solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of construction on our planet. At TU Delft, we have turned our attention toward an ancient, wide spread and rather unconventional building material- ‘Cow-dung’.

Fig. 1: Moobricks test samples

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78 | Earth

Analysis of cow-dung collected from Hoeve Biesland (a biological farm located just a few kilometres from the campus) reveal that it is composed of digested fibers and microbial biomass (carcase of gut bacteria). Until now, everyone believed that the fibers are responsible for water resistance of cow-dung. But, it turned out to be false! Instead, the tiniest fraction of microbial biomass are responsible for the water resistance of cow-dung. They are also responsible for the pungent smell. What makes this microbial biomass so special? Experiments show that it is composed of fatty acids that make it highly waterrepellent. Fatty acids are also commonly present in oil and butter used in cooking. Fig. 2: A full scale Moobrick that will be used in a demonstration structure

Adding a small quantity of fresh cow-dung into soil results in a mixture that can be moulded into any shape. A high pressure is applied during the moulding process that results in a dense brick, which we now call ‘Moobrick’. Unlike fired bricks, Moo bricks dry at room temperature and become stronger upon drying. These bricks can then be used in the construction of ‘mud houses’ or ‘earthen houses’. Mud houses are eco-friendly and known to keep the indoor temperature cool during summer and warm during winter. The use of cow-dung in building mud houses in is not unique. It was (and is) used quite extensively in many regions of Africa and India. Its widespread use is attributed to its water-resistant behaviour. But, there is hardly any scientific understanding of this property. We investigated the science behind the water-resistant properties of cow-dung by isolating the components of cow-dung responsible for water resistance. By investigating these components, we now have a better understanding of the interaction between cow-dung and soil. This has led us to re-invent cow-dung and soil bricks.

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The presence of fatty acids in cow-dung makes it waterresistant. In the lab study, Moobricks resisted over 20 times more water than the unfired soil bricks. The Moobricks are not only long-lasting, they are also strong enough to build 2 storey building. When a building from this material is demolished, the waste can be crushed and used as a fertiliser. As no chemicals are used in production, these bricks are 100% natural and could even be thrown in the “green waste” bin. A fascinating finding of the study was that these bricks only perform well when fresh cow-dung is used. With dry cow-dung, the properties are not that great. Surprisingly, the mix of fresh cow-dung and soil could be stored for as long as 1 year without fungus growth. Furthermore, we have solved a major problem that is a barrier to its acceptance, the smell! It is possible to eliminate the smell by storing the mix of cow-dung and soil in a closed container for atleast two days. The benefits of Moobrick make it an interesting alternative to energy intensive building materials that we use today. Originally, the research on Moobrick was conducted in context of India with an aim of improving the quality of mud houses in rural areas. In India, over 200 million people live in mud houses. That is about 11 times the population of


Academic Fig. 3: Collection of fresh cow-dung from biological farm Hoeve Biesland, Delfgauw.

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78 | Earth Fig. 4: Demonstration walls at The Green Village

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The production of moobricks requires just a manual or hydraulic (electricity dependent) compaction machine. These machines are available both in India and Netherlands. Anyone with access to a compaction machine, a piece of land, soil and cow-dung can make these bricks. These ecological bricks can perhaps be a solution to our concern over climate change.

Buildings and the construction sector together account for 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy and processrelated carbon dioxide emissions. The high impact of a building is partly due to its operational need (example, cooling and heating) and partly due to the production of building materials. With growing concern over CO2 emissions during the production of Portland cement coupled with rising cost of building materials, scarcity of sand and excessive-water use, building with cow-dung and soil is relevant now, more than ever.

Academic

Netherlands! However, we also realised the huge potential of these bricks in the Netherlands, where excess cow-dung generated in farms is a common issue. Therefore, we have upscale the production and build demonstration walls at The Green Village. Part of the research work is to measure the erosion of the demonstration walls over time.

Yask Kulshreshtha is a Delft global Fellow and PhD candidate at Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Netherlands. He is conducting research on building affordable, durable and desirable homes using locally available mud and biological resources (including cow-dung). Yask is carrying out multidisciplinary research at the intersection of Materials sciences, Civil Engineering, Geosciences, Architecture, Biotechnology and Industrial design. After pursuing his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from India, he completed MSc in Civil Engineering (with honours) from TU Delft. Yask believes that one of the best decisions he took after finishing masters was to spent one year backpacking in India. During this time, he explored building with mud for the first time and learned about the practice of using cow-dung for plastering mud walls. In his PhD , Yask is exploring the water resistance behaviour of earth block and have used the science of cow-dung to re-invented the cow-dung mud bricks to suit the modern requirements and desire of people in both India and the Netherlands. Yask is passionate about science communication and in process of converting parts of his research work into simple, short and fun videos.

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Graduate

Parvus Syrtis Levent Ozruh , Behice Özer , Thanat Prathnadi, AA Visiting School “Parvus Syrtis” is a product of a three-day workshop organised by AA Visiting School Los Angeles in 2021.The workshop was divided into three separate units, with the project being part of Unit I: Procedures for the Martian Vernacular, led by Levent Ozruh. The unit investigated the notion of vernacular architecture for the future of human settlements on Mars at the village scale. Using Houdini FX as the main design tool, the participants tested the limits of formal differentiation for the foundations of Martian vernacular architecture that responds to local materiality as well as the extremity of the planet’s environment. As the final outcome of the workshop, “Parvus Syrtis” is a Martian crater village that speculates on a future vernacular architecture on Mars through procedural design and rule-based systems that respond to specific site conditions. The use of earth, or in this case regolith, is a key component in the construction of the settlements. In addition to

Fig.1: Martian vernacular habitation

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76 78 | Earth

providing structural integrity, protection from radiation and textural identity to the design, it more importantly highlights the possibility of utilising local materials to resourcefully constitute a new architectural language, be it on Mars or Earth. The result is a system of intelligence that offers spatial complexities from autonomous, agent-based robotic construction remotely overseen by future Martian architects. Such a procedural, systematic approach allows for the architecture to expand and adapt to future needs based on the specific conditions of the site, provoking a new formula in which future architects will engage with

Fig. 2 Living Parvus Syrtis

design problems. VERNACULAR LANGUAGE & ROBOTS

SITE

Looking into the factors that feed into the making of the Martian vernacular our question was; what will be the new cultural domain created by this architecture represent on a planet where human culture only exists in the forms of expedition devices? With current limitations on construction and material available on Mars in mind, which characteristics could be systemized as a Martian Vernacular to test maximum design differentiation whilst responding to the harsh realities of the planet?

The design process begins with selecting a potential location on the Martian surface with conditions suitable for the construction of the village. Based on its proximity to the landing sites of previous Mars missions by NASA and esa, the region of Syrtis Major is selected as an area of interest for the future crater village. The region represents an area where more scientific studies have been conducted compared to neighbouring areas, allowing the settlements to be more equipped with logistical support for future manned missions. Within Syrtis Major, a specific region with low abundance of dust distribution is selected. As dust storms present potential danger to human health and damage to future architecture and outdoor scientific equipment, the chosen area is considered an ideal location for a crater village.

Due to the communication delay between Earth and Mars, it is often proposed that the swarm of construction robots to be sent before human arrival will need to be intelligent enough so that they can achieve goals in construction rather than following specific instructions remotely sent from Earth. Through a self-replicating machine strategy they would evolve, perform a variety of new tasks and ultimately become capable of reproducing themselves autonomously.

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Graduate Fig. 3: Landing site based on previous Mars missions by NASA & ESA

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76 78 | Earth Fig. 4: Settlement Aggregation

DESIGN PROCESS To constitute a set of buildable areas within the surface of an example crater of Parvus Syrtis, procedural tools are used to specify and eliminate certain characteristics within the site. For instance, areas with slopes lower than 45 degrees and those with altitude below 500 metres are intersected and specified as primary buildable areas within the crater. Within the specified buildable areas, a set of shortest paths is then generated between the lowest and highest points of the areas. The paths that lie on the northern side and outside of the crater are eliminated, leaving a final set of settlement areas protected from radiation by the terrain. Finally, multiple points within the shortest path lines are populated with unique settlement clusters which are connected to complete the Parvus Syrtis village masterplan. After the locations of the clusters are allocated along the

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generated paths on the terrain of the crater, the organization and construction of the village are executed via autonomous assembly by self-aware 3d printing drones, starting from the top of the village to the bottom of the crater. The regoliths used in the construction process are extracted from a nearby site.

TYPOLOGIES & STRUCTURE The variations of clusters are made up of three individual typologies essential for life on Mars: Living, Farming/ Lab and Communal. The size and programmatic property of each cluster adapts to the function and needs of the inhabitants’ activities within each region of Parvus Syrtis. The floor plan illustrates an emerging architectural language for the Martian village that utilises the combination of the single modules’ simple forms to inform the spaces within.


Graduate Fig. 5: Floor plan, cluster 6

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76 78 | Earth Fig. 6: Section, cluster 6

The general organisation of the floor plans is designed such that the communal areas are located in the central zone of the cluster, connected by the farm, laboratories and living areas on the outer edges. The terrains of the crater allow for unique vertical connections to be made between various activities within the cluster. The seemingly vast change in height difference between each room is compensated by the property of the Martian gravity which is 3.721 m/s2 or approximately 38% of that on Earth.

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The structure of the settlement consists of two layers of 3D printed regolith shells and a pressurized inflatable shell suitable for life on Mars. The first layer protects the settlement from radiation and dust storms, while the second layer provides structural integrity and openings for views towards the crater. Due to the toxicity of perchlorates present in the Martian regolith, the interior surfaces of the settlement are constructed with protective pressurised inflatable shells. These shells physically connect the interior spaces in each settlement together, as well as the overall system of underground tunnels beneath the village.


Graduate

Fig. 7: Structure of settlement

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76 78 | Earth Fig. 9: Proposed design & construction martian system

CONCLUSION

Building upon the systematic nature of the early Martian architecture on the horizon, we speculated on the new ways in which architects could engage in designing the future of human presence on Mars through procedural design and rule-based systems that respond to specific sites on the planet. In doing so, we developed systems of intelligence that will offer spatial complexities which will be organized rather than fully controlled. If humanity were to expand its presence on Mars, designing new habitats can benefit from a systematic approach as architects' traditional engagement with high precision and control in the design process could not be as adaptive as needed for the Martian realities of construction. This could gradually transform the role of the Martian architect into an organizer of complex systems who oversees autonomous choreographies of construction that happen with agent-based robots.

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Using procedural design tools, we tested the limits of formal differentiation for the foundations of Martian vernacular architecture that responds to local materiality as well as the extremity of the planet’s environment. We focused on a specific site and developed a set of procedures that will offer the reutilisation of the in-situ material. The proposed procedural design system is constructed to be adaptive enough to offer a generous design divergence. The solutions are a family of design possibilities for the given site, each of which can evolve and expand over time, rather than a fixed, singular proposal. Parvus Syrtis demonstrates one of the multiple possibilities of how future Martians may adapt to the unique conditions of the red planet and construct a rule-based architectural system aided by future technologies such as advanced 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and procedural design. The use of such technologies alongside local materials also provides a precedent for how the processes can be adopted on present-day Earth in order to minimise the overall use of concrete and other polluting construction materials.


Graduate

Levent Ozruh is trained as an architectural designer in the UK, Levent was educated at the University of Edinburgh and UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture (RIBA Part 1 and Part 2 degrees respectively). Between his studies he was a researcher at MIT's Senseable City Lab. Previously, he also worked for Carlo Ratti Associati and Coop Himmelb(l)au. Currently, he is part of the Space Architecture team at Hassell Studio in London; working on Lunar projects for the European Space Agency. Levent's work oscillates between Space Architecture, Advanced Architectural Design and Procedural Design. Previously, Levent taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture, co-leading undergraduate and graduate design studios as well as teaching specialist computational design skills to a wide range of studios and programmes

Behice Özer is an architectural designer, runner, chronic researcher. Interested in new ways of engaging and inhabiting the physical world, she continues her studies at the AA Design Research Laboratory MArch program. Previously, she took part in the IPL research project for the 12th Sao Paulo Architecture Biennial, designed the Architecture as Dialogue project for the Architectural Festival of Istanbul 2020, and competed in the Hult Prize Program with Roof Co-living. Currently, she is involved in small-scale spatial explorations with Studio Niche.

Thanat Prathnadi is a Junior Architectural Designer currently working at UNStudio in Amsterdam. He completed his Bachelor degree at the University of Manchester and Master of Science in Architecture at TU Delft in 2021. During his academic years, he has developed interests in Space Architecture, rule-based procedural design, and the relationships between big data and architecture. Outside of his academic works, Thanat’s competition entries and projects received multiple awards and have been published on leading online platforms such as Archdaily and designboom.

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Project

Ricola Kräuterzentrum Laufen, Switzerland HERZOG & DE MEURON

The new Kräuterzentrum (herb center) is situated like an erratic block in the midst of a landscape dotted with conventional industrial buildings. Its elongated shape echoes the pathways and the hedges that have long been a distinctive feature of this area. The length of the building also reflects the steps involved in the industrial processing of herbs, from drying and cutting to blending and storing. The new processing plant enables Ricola to integrate these important steps in the company's own in-house production.

Fig. 1: Ricola Kräuterzentrum © Iwan Baan

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78 | Earth Fig. 2: Ricola Kräuterzentrum © Iwan Baan

Architecture as Landscape The Kräuterzentrum is built largely out of locally sourced earth; it is like a geometrical segment of landscape with its dimensions and archaic impact heightened by the radical choice of material. Herbs and earth define the purpose-built, distinctive character of the center, following in the footsteps of Ricola‘s other buildings: the fully automated storage building of 1987, the production and storage building of 1993 in Mulhouse-Brunstatt with its screenprint façade and the glazed marketing headquarters of 1999 in Laufen. These buildings not only embody Ricola's exceptional philosophy and commitment to the environment, they each make a striking contribution to their locations. Fig. 3: Site Plan

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The delivery entrance and warehouse sections of the herb center’s façade are monolithic, with the loam walls visible in the interior as well. The prefabricated earth elements are manufactured in a nearby factory out of ingredients extracted from local quarries and mines. Clay, marl and material excavated on site are mixed and compacted in

Fig. 6: Ricola Kräuterzentrum © Iwan Baan

Fig. 7: Ricola Kräuterzentrum © Iwan Baan

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Fig. 8: Facade Detail Section


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78 | Earth

a formwork and then layered in blocks to build the walls. Thanks to the plasticity of the loam, the seams can be retouched giving the overall structure a homogeneous appearance. To arrest erosion caused by wind and rain, a trass mortar achieved mixing volcanic tuff (trass) with lime, is compacted every 8 layers of earth directly in the formwork. Large round windows illuminate the rooms. The façade is self-supporting and simply linked to the concrete loadbearing structure of the interior. Energy and Sustainability Energy and sustainability are not simply treated as technical auxiliaries; they are built into the architecture and essential features of the project as a whole. Earth as a material that regulates humidity has a positive, sustainable effect on the use of energy and overall climate control. Photovoltaic modules on the roof and the use of waste heat from the production center nearby also contribute to improving the

ecological balance of the Kräuterzentrum. Visitors will be able to watch the processing and blending of the herbs in a special visitor center on the top floor. Building Data Site Area: 15,354sqm / 165'269sqft Building Footprint: 3,218 sqm / 34'660 sqft Building Dimensions: Length 111m ; Width 29m ; Height 11m Gross Floor Area (GF): 4,800sqm / 51'667 sqft Number of Levels: 3 Herzog & de Meuron Team Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach (Partner in Charge) Project Team: Michael Fischer (Associate, Project Director), Nina Andrea Renner (Project Manager) Zdenek Chmel, Wolfgang Hardt (Partner), Harald Schmidt, Hendrik Steinigeweg, Luca Ugolini, Freya Winkelmann

Established in Basel in 1978, Herzog & de Meuron is a partnership led by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron together with Senior Partners Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler, Stefan Marbach, Esther Zumsteg, and Jason Frantzen. An international team of nearly 500 collaborators including the two Founders, five Senior Partners, ten Partners, and 41 Associates work on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. The main office is in Basel with additional offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, Berlin and Copenhagen. The practice has designed a wide range of projects from the small scale of a private home to the large scale of urban design. Many projects are highly recognized public facilities, such as museums, stadiums, and hospitals, and they have completed distinguished private projects including offices, laboratories and apartment buildings. Awards received include the Pritzker Architecture Prize (USA) in 2001, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (UK), the Praemium Imperiale (Japan), both in 2007, and the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (USA) in 2014.

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Fig. 1: Windcatchers of Yazd, Iran, 3000 BC


Graduate

Open Thesis Fabrication postgraduate research program in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA) Institution for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) Given the discourse of the global housing crisis, mass globalization, the impact of the construction sector on the climate crisis, as well as waste materials and obsolete design; additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology becomes an interesting proposition for localized production and a means to mobilize or empower developing communities or places in need of rapid housing construction solutions such as temporary settlements. By maximising the use of local materials, onsite 3D printing lowers the overall environmental impact of construction and reduces its extractive footprint. A special example of localized construction materials globally can be seen of earth architecture throughout history. 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) in combination with localized building materials pushes the scope of ethically sourced construction that is sustainability driven. By learning from historical construction methods, material mixes and labour skills, this technology and material combination lends the possibility of sustainable affordable and rapid housing solutions. With such a winning formula, the only question may be, how do we relate to earth construction in our era? The Open Thesis Fabrication postgraduate research program in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA) at the Institution for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) is developed in collaboration with over 30 researchers and experts in bioclimatic architecture, material science, structural engineering, energy efficiency, computational design, robotics, social innovation and bio-construction, envisioning together the future habitat of our society and building it in the present.

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Fig. 2: 3D printed earth wall with embedded staircase


Graduate

The research at 3DPA aims to develop realistic architectural solutions that use 3D printing to provide sustainable, affordable and community-based processes of housing construction. The research initiates with the goal to bring academic research in real case scenarios and have set-up a unique multidisciplinary approach between architects, researchers, industrial partners and members of humanitarian associations to answer the current needs and challenges of our habitat, and in particular the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) : 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient

Fig. 3: Clay wall regulating indoor air quality and evaporation

and sustainable'. MATERIAL The research investigates the potential of earth as a material, which has been a widely used construction material since the beginning of the built environment. Earth (or adobe) holds a very low ecological footprint due to the nature of locality, availability and accessibility. At all stages of production the material requires relatively little embodied energy. And in the context of historical references, has a longevity spanning thousands of years. Today's technological context permits us to work with the material in novel ways. Can we 3D print houses made from earth? Can these houses be fully recyclable, 0km, low energy consumption, adaptable to local contexts and empower local communities? What will this new architecture look like and how will we live in it? Adobe construction is an ancestral technique based on local materials found in extreme climates globally, both warm and cold, and are viable alternatives to meet the world’s challenges in construction manufacturing. Earth

construction allows substantial savings in winter heating as well as summer cooling due to thermal inertia. Ancestral vernacular dwellings showcase passive and smart housing solutions; such as the trombe wall, and the invention of air conditioning as we know it, existing in desert climates, originating with the wind catchers of Iran. Clay walls also regulate indoor air quality due clay’s absorption and evaporation of humidity. PERFORMANCE DRIVEN DESIGN The research at IAAC challenges how designing for passive, climactic performance in architectural design can inform the architecture itself. Incorporating such systems is made possible by the high customization aided from 3D printing fabrication technologies. In the world, more than 70% of the residential sector consumes energy for heating in an unsustainable manner. Our advanced 3D printing methodology of integrating cavities inside the wall helps to channel heat through walls as well as radiate heat while it passes through.

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78 | Earth Fig. 4: Robotic construction in extreme cold temperatures

The implementation of trombe walls and inspiration from ancient windcatchers into the wall section to allow for optimized airflow and passive ventilation systems. In the program, researchers investigate airflow, heating, structure and other performance based logics using both digital simulations as well as physical prototyping and testing to prove concepts and further inform their digital designs in a feedback loop. Our research encompasses a holistic approach of learning from historical clay architecture to incorporate systems into new construction challenges, with aid from advanced technologies, with hopes for a smarter architecture of tomorrow that encompasses accuracy, customization, low impact solutions that case our growing population quickly.

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ROBOTICS After 8 years of research, with numerous full-scale building prototypes, IAAC, together with its partners such as Tecnalia and WASP have worked with at the architectural scale the include gantry, cable or crane robots with lightweight onsite scaffolding or the exploration of modular design off site and transported for assembly. 3D printing also allows for capabilities such as the integration of custom composite materials and architectural elements into the overall design such as staircases, arches, or multi-level construction. Furthermore , the use of robotic technologies as deployment of robotic construction infrastructure, can prove to be a vector of community enhancement by passing knowledge and training voluntary group of local workers that can participate in the different phases of construction, ensuring cultural inputs and local traditions while establishing a new construction paradigm where technology adapts to and enhances cultural expression.


Graduate Fig. 5: Robotic fabrication, On-Site Printing with Clay at IAAC, Barcelona

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78 | Earth Fig. 6: Construction process on site using robotic arms,

The research at 3DPA is being developed based on the engagement of the population in the construction process (education and knowledge sharing in open source), as well as on the possibility to develop answers to complex humanitarian situations (the generation of new social, economic and environmental capital). The 3D Printing Architecture (3dPA) postgraduate program at the Institution for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) puts a heavy emphasis on the research and design of passive performance in architecture. Simultaneously examining the relationship between raw earth as a material, the logics and parameters of 3D printing, and the science of designing for extreme climates, while considering the architectural design of structures, building logics, social occupancy etc.

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Additive manufacturing imposes a brand new aesthetic based on the logics of a printable contour. Rather than 3D printing an architecture, how do we design architecture by 3D printing? And can 3D printing and advanced robotics lend an opportunity to reestablish a new relationship to earthen architecture?


Graduate

Lili Tayefi, founder of LYT Studio, is an multidisciplinary artist, architect, researcher and academic. She designs 3D printed, handmade and wheel thrown ceramic objects that are made with high artisanal craft. With an educational background in Visual Studies (BFA) and a Minor in Environmental Design (EVDS) from the University of Calgary, she went on to obtain two degrees from IAAC: the Master's in Advanced Architecture, as well as the Postgraduate Open Thesis Fabrication in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA), the program she now coordinates. With a specialization in Material Science and Robotic Fabrication, Lili works between design, research and product development. Lili is currently working on the development of innovative clay and glaze material products.

Edouard Cabay graduated from the Architectural Association in 2005 to work for Foreign Office Architects in London, Anorak in Brussels and finally for Cloud 9 in Barcelona, where he occupied the position of head-office. His completed projects for Cloud 9 include the Thirst Pavilion for the Expo Zaragoza 2008 and the Cúpula del Milenio, a concert hall in Valladolid. Currently, he teaches at the Diploma School of the Architectural Association as a unit master for Diploma 18, dealing with large-scale architectural strategies targeting consequences of global warming. Alongside his academic work, he is establishing Appareil, an architectural practice, which aims to employ digital techniques of both design and fabrication to craft our environment.

Alexandre Dubor is an architect and researcher combining new technologies to investigate how new advances in material, digital fabrication and computational design could lead to a better construction ecosystem, towards a more efficient, affordable, sustainable and personalised built environment. He holds a Master degree of Architecture & Engineering from EAVT & ENPC (France) and a Master Degree in Advanced Architecture from IAAC (Spain), with a specialization in robotic fabrication and large-scale additive manufacturing (FabBot 3.0). Since 2012, he has been working at IAAC as an expert in digital and robotic fabrication. He is now leading the Open Thesis Fabrication programme as well as the Master in Robotic and Advanced Construction at IAAC.

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Fig. 1: self developed large scale clay extruder designed in collaboration with Athanasios Rodiftsis


Graduate

Robotic 3DPrinting Earth (R3DPE)

Earthen additive manufacturing with customized nozzles to create a gradient material for on-demand performance. Maximilian Mandat , Department of Architecture, TU Delft. Earth as a construction material has been used for millennia and offers a great potential to reduce the emissions of the construction sector. The combination of clay and timber could be part of a environmentally friendly, bio based and regional architecture and construction culture. Translating traditional vernacular construction techniques within the framework of the fourth industrial revolution allows us to move forward, while acknowledging our historically developed building culture. There are many traditional applications such as rammed earth, or adobe that are currently witnessing a revival after unrighteously being ignored for several decades.

However, these construction methods are limited by their buildable height. Clay-Hybrid construction allow multi-level buildings in urban settings. Clay functions no more as heavy, massive structural material but as a non-structural and light infill that can increase the thermal mass, regulate the humidity and increase the insulation properties of an exterior wall.

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78 | Earth

Digitisation offers new strategies Traditional hybrid constructions offer a broad variety of possible implementations for future construction methods. However, the fabrication of these hybrid building components is labour intensive and therefore expensive in industrialized countries. Digital fabrication such as 3D printing could be a solution for this problem. 3D printing earth combines a rural material with state-of-the-art digital fabrication. At first glance, these fields do not appear to be compatible, whereas additive manufacturing offers new strategies of how to build with earth. 3D printing-like methods enables the gradual reduction of the density compared to traditional, solid walls such as adobe or rammed earth - creating a gradient material. Robotic fabrication enables the automation of certain production steps and will reduce costs in the long run. This leads to the development of a serial construction system with all its benefits, that allows to be mass customized and performance based. Likely resulting in an individual, sustainable and circular built environment for a lower price. Not only the building component itself can be customized, but also the tools for its production. This leads to the question how a gradient 3d printed clay wall can be produced by customizing the nozzles within the limitations of the production process and the material? Aim/goals The aim was to create a functionally gradient material by 3D-printing earth with customized nozzles. This gradient material is due to its low strength designed to be a non-structural, insulating infill for a timber frame façade. This timber frame protects the clay element and allows conventional timber joining methods on the construction site. Together, the frame and the clay infill form the prefabricated building component. To perform 1:1 scale extrusion experiments a large-scale clay extruder was necessary. This extruder was developed together with Athanasios Rodiftsis. Exploring material mixtures, production techniques and building components results

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in a computational, informative workflow for customized nozzles and the building component. This allows to coordinate and customise the nozzle design according to the limitations of the material properties, the building component and the 3D printing process. The building component The designed component can be applied on any desired structural, load-bearing skeleton. A timber skeleton is recommended to allow mono-material joining details between the façade panels and the structure, speed up the assembly process while reducing the carbon footprint. This construction method enables the usage of clay for multi storey buildings since the earthen infill is not load bearing. The high weight of the façade panel can be used to pretension the floor slabs and reduce the necessary amount of material. 3DPE infill The 3DPE infill is dense on the inside and increasingly light towards the outside. It functions as a thermal mass that helps regulating the indoor climate and humidity. This helps to reduce heat and cold peaks. In addition, its reduced density increases the insulation properties compared to a solid clay wall. This principle is known from vertically perforated bricks, although these usually do not have a density shift along their cross section and are baked during production. To achieve the density decrease, air voids were embedded within the extrusion by the customized nozzles. The U-shaped nozzles were computationally designed based on the desired density shift and material limitations. In addition, several other nozzle concepts were designed to evaluate other possible strategies for density decreased 3DPE. The nozzles were tested along different tool-paths to measure the density shift of the specimens. Customized nozzles and a simple toolpath By customizing the nozzle, the extrusion geometry can be manipulated into shapes that enclose air when placed adjacently or stacked. The stability or plasticity of the extruded material mixture is largely dependent on the


Graduate Fig. 2: Overview and possible cross section design

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water content and clay to sand ratio. The specimens of the experiments show a density decrease between 11% and 52% of their mass. However, a high density decrease is causing a fragile 3DPE element and the specimens are prone to damage. When applied to a building component, the infill must be stable enough to not crumble during production, transportation, the mounting process or its usage. If the clay-sand mixture is plastic and dry enough, the necessary extrusion pressure increases drastically. A water content of about 15% with a clay-sand ratio of 50% resulted in a mixture that was plastic enough to entrap air voids without too much compression under self-weight. For future development the mixture should be as dry as possible. The printing set up Most of the encountered problems during the 3DPE process and the prototype production could be solved by having an industrial-grade printing set-up. The set-up would be able to handle higher pressure and to extrude dryer material mixtures – this would reduce the compression under selfweight, the shrinkage and the necessary drying time. In addition an industrial high pressure printing line would allow to apply a complete layer with a single extrusion, increasing the productions speed drastically.

Fig. 3: Gradient material

Density decrease: All tested nozzles (U-shapes, triangular, “Spaghetti” and “Tagliatelle”) showed a density decrease of the extruded samples, compared with a solid, rectangular nozzle extrusion, or a casted clay cube. It is possible to decrease the density even more by further developing these nozzles and their toolpaths and material mixtures. The usage of an high pressure set up would decrease the material limitation further and probably result in a higher density decrease. Findings The implementation of the 3DPE element into the building component frame would be easier if the 3DPE elements are smaller than about 1m² . This reduces the shrinking and drying stresses. The subdivision of the 3DPE could be

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Fig. 4: Wooden year ring


Graduate Fig. 5: Low-tech recycling process

done with specially designed nozzles or material mixtures. Smaller infill dimensions and a dryer material mixture applied by a high pressure extruder might not require a space consuming drying process. The drying process of the infill is crucial for the feasibility, not only because of the costs, but as well for the stability of the 3DPE element. Without a manageable drying time, the production of the 3DPE element will not be possible at an industrial scale. The focus of this research was on the customized nozzle design. The toolpaths were purposely kept simple to gain clear results about the nozzles’ influence. A simple toolpath (parallel, crossed or chaotic) allows a better investigation of the nozzles’ influence on the cross-section geometry and its density decrease. Developing more complex toolpaths and combining multiple nozzles could possibly increase the production efficiency of the 3DPE component, such as

reducing the printing time and density, while increasing its stability. A customized nozzle allows complex crosssections with simple toolpaths. Future research possibilities To develop a functional and market-ready product multiple 1:1 scale wall panels must be built and tested to evaluate their fire safety, acoustic and thermal insulation properties, structural behaviour, tolerances, mounting processes, impact resistance and other parameters. The automation of several production steps would be an interesting field of research on its own. The component needs to be adapted to fulfil the building regulations of the building site’s location. In addition, cost calculation and production optimization need to be done and should lead to the development of a building component that can

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78 | Earth Fig. 6: 1:1 prototype

Fig. 7: Nozzle Design

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Reflection and outlook The proposed method of fabrication would be more related to to the production of vertically perforated bricks than to conventional single nozzle 3d-printing. However it would be a serial production system instead of a conventional extrusion. With a high pressure extrusion set up, a whole layer could be applied with a single step. The project does not intend to subsidise conventional earthen building methods, such as adobe or rammed earth. It is specifically developed to enable earth as a building material for multi story buildings in dense urban areas of industrialised countries.

stay within the community. Rather than being spent on industrial building materials with a high carbon footprint, local and cheep materials such as earth can be used. I personally think, that we, as designers and engineers, should start looking back into clay/timber hybrids as one solution architecture can offer as an answer to the climate crisis. In the last 30 years we saw the rediscovery of timber constructions. I hope that in the following 30 years we will see clay/earth being rediscovered as the eco-friendly, regional, circular and indoor climate regulating material that it always was. We somehow, unfortunately, somehow forgot how to design and work with it. New technologies and methods of fabrication can de-stigmatize this material.

Graduate

be established on the market. Non-structural, 3d-printed gradient infill could help to mainstream earth as a construction material.

Conventional, low tech, earthen construction methods have a better social-cultural impact. Since the money spend on the construction of a building will be spend on wages and

After graduating in timber technology and carpentry, Maximilian Mandat obtained a Bachelor degree in Architecture at the TU Vienna. During his studies he worked as a research Assistent at the department for Building construction and design and within the design team of MalekHerbst Architects. After that he did a Master in Building Technology at the TU Delft, with a focus on Facades and digital manufacturing while working as a student assistant for the course “design informatics”. His graduation thesis was about 3D Printing earth with customized nozzles. After graduation he continued developing the large-scale clay extruder and explored possibilities of high flow polymer 3d printing. He is currently working as a facade sales engineer at Octatube in Delft.

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Company

Mud Matters Rosie Paul and Sridevi Changali from Masons Ink “Build your architecture from what is beneath your feet.” -Hassan Fathy Masons Ink as a practice resonates very strongly with this thought by Hassan Fathy. Earth as a material has grounded us as practitioners of architecture in more ways than one. Working with a material that is so true to itself, so modest at first look, but versatile and complex in its own right, makes us as architects think a little deeper about the practice. When working with a material as local as mud, it forces us to look beyond the physicality of architecture to the positive impacts this industry could have on the community around which it is built. It encourages us to engage local communities and create opportunity for knowledge sharing. This material just makes sense to us in every way – be it through the lens of sustainability or economics, it offers contextually that no other material could even come close to (figure 1).

Fig. 1: Building materials and context

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Our journey with earth as a material has evolved over the years. From not offering a second glance to the millions of small local vernacular in almost every village(figure 2), to being introduced to it as students of architecture to understanding it in depth for the first time at the Auroville Earth Institute where we started our professional journey. These experiences either knowingly or unknowingly has shaped us to develop a practice that is centered around this beautiful material. A question that often finds its way into our discussions - is it us that moulds earth into architectural edifices or does earth mould us to being more sensible and sensitive architects. There is so much we owe to this material. Our quest to delve deeper into the historic origins of this material has helped us reconnect with our own roots. Our recent research in the study of natural additives used in traditional earthen architecture helps us not only to develop innovations to address future challenges but has led us to find interesting inter-disciplinary dependencies between architecture, ayurveda (traditional medicine practiced in the southern Indian state of Kerala) and mural art (figure 3). A lot of the existing built fabric especially in the vernacular informal architecture realm has fallen victim to rapid urbanization. Although the physical fabric is lost, the soul continues to live through oral histories that we are trying to capture and reinvent through various experiments. We strongly believe that in this traditional knowledge lies answers to some of the imminent problems of today like climate change and global warming.

Fig. 2: Local vernacular buildings

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We as an organization are very aware of the fact that the construction industry is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. We also realize that as key stakeholders in this industry we have a responsibility in steering the conversation and decisions in the right direction when it comes to how a project must be approached. For this reason, Masons Ink works in three main verticals – Sustainability, Heritage conservation and Capacity Building. All three verticals contribute in their own way towards a greener, more sustainable industry. Sustainable approaches positively impact the construction sector in


What we also as a practice strive to do is to change the notion of mud as a primitive, irrelevant material to a versatile material with infinite possibilities. One such example is our project the CO-urtyard. The vision the client had for this parcel of land nestled in the urban fabric of the city of Cochin, a city in the southern state of Kerala, India, was a built space that would facilitate collaboration and encourage people to come together. The aspect of the brief that was most complex was the fact that the space had to house three diverse functions –a management consultant’s office, an artist’s studio and an architectural practice. It comes away from the unwritten rules of office

Company

new build both in passive techniques of layout, climatology and materiality and also in active methods of integrating renewables. Heritage conservation does it’s bit by extending the life of heritage assets, making them relevant in the present and future contexts as well as reducing the carbon impacts of demolition and the carbon intensity of using new materials. The capacity building vertical is essential without which the first two verticals cannot attain its full potential. Very often the buildings we design and build lends themselves beautifully as places of skilling and awareness creation. On-site workshops with students, professionals and the masons/artisans themselves breaks barriers and brings everyone to a common platform where ideas can be discussed and exchanged (figure 4). One of the projects where the marriage of capacity building and architecture happened beautifully was a vocational training center we built in Bangalore, India. The project was built for and commissioned by the Sneha Charitable Trust which imparts training and mentoring for people living with HIV (PLHIV) (figure 5). The use of Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB) as the main walling material gave an opportunity to the users of the building itself to be a part of the construction of their center. They not only learnt a new skill of making these mud bricks on site but it gave them a sense of ownership towards the building that is otherwise hard to bring about.

Fig. 3 : Study of natural additives used in traditional earthen architecture. Inter-disciplinary dependencies between architecture, ayurveda and mural art . Sketch Credits: Noorain Ahmed

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or public spaces that stress on artificial light & ventilation, and boldly makes a statement through its openness and proximity to nature. The building is honest to its cause, both in use of material and planning of spaces. It seamlessly moves from outside to inside interspersed with courtyards and water bodies. Honesty was the driving theme behind the entire design process – be it in the use of the space to its maximum potential – or exposing each material for its true form or even in the approach to sustainability the project has taken. The entire structure has been designed to be sustainable, whilst also demonstrating the versatility of mud as a building material, the walls of the structure exhibit two different methods of using mud – Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB) and rammed earth. Stone and reclaimed wood are the other major materials used, thus, minimizing the carbon footprint of the building. Alternative roofing systems have been used, such as sloping roofs, the vaulted roof in the seminar hall deploys a vaulted roof of mud blocks, which borrows the Nubian technique (does not involve the use of scaffolding) and the filler slab with clay highlights, which limits the usage of steel and concrete (figure 6). The possibilities with earth are limitless – you can use it to build a small pizza oven in your backyard at the same time you can also use the same material to build neighborhoods, museums, schools.. the list is endless. Although it is one of the oldest building materials known to mankind, earth still has relevance in new age technological advancements. Innovations like prefabricated rammed earth panels to 3D printed earth homes are paving the way for earth to be the material of the future as well.

Fig. 4 : On-site workshops with students, professionals and the masons/artisans themselves.

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Company Fig. 5: Vocational training center we built in Bangalore, India.

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78 | Earth Fig. 6: Vaulted roof of mud blocks that borrows the Nubian technique.

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We are called Masons Ink - a tribute to the hands that make our designs a reality. A people-oriented design and construction firm specialised along 3 verticals – sustainability, heritage conservation and humanitarian architecture. We are a team of likeminded individuals striving to make a difference in the construction sector.

innovation of natural materials in construction. The firm has been recognised internationally for our efforts in research and has represented India at various international scientific conferences. Knowledge transfer being an important part of our agenda we conduct several awareness and training programmes on both sustainability and heritage.

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About Masons Ink:

The firm believes that sustainability should no longer be a choice but the norm and is striving to make it more accessible to the common man. Determined to reach a zero-carbon footprint in our projects, we focus on R&D in the use and

Before setting up her own practice Rosie Paul was the Head Architect at the Auroville Earth Institute. She has a postmaster degree in Earthen Architecture, Local Building Cultures and Sustainable Habitat from CRA terre, France - The UNESCO Chair for Earthen Architecture. She has been involved with several projects executed using earth technologies both locally and internationally including Egypt, Morocco and France. Along with managing projects at Mason’s Ink, she is an earth consultant to select international Non-Profit Organisations. With a passion for Heritage conservation, Sridevi Changali has graduated from the University of York, UK with a masters in Historic Building Conservation. She worked with INTACH, Pondicherry chapter and played a key role in the revision of the Listing and Grading of Heritage Buildings Pondicherry. She is also a consultant to the Indian Heritage Cities Network and Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Center under the smart city initiative.

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Fig. 1: Robotic Additive Manufacturing


Graduate

From the ground up

Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) of a structurally optimized earthen shell through computational design Athanasios Rodiftsis , Department of Architecture, TU Delft. This thesis develops both a physical and digital pipeline for a robotic additive manufacturing process that utilizes earth. Behind a user-friendly interface, the programming and simulation platform employs a computational structural optimization workflow for the generation of a stable shell structure and its translation to G-code data, making it ready for 3D printing. The script takes the fabrication constraints and potentials of the physical setup into account to facilitate a seamless operation. The environmental impact of the construction is also integrated providing a real-time lifecycle assessment, in order to assist in decision making.

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Earth in Construction

Structural concept

Circularity in construction and concepts like cradleto-cradle design are gaining significant importance universally, as a new strategy to address the environmental impact of the construction sector. One of the pillars of circular strategies is the promotion of recyclable biobased materials, as they do not contribute to the planet’s resource depletion and have low embodied energy. Earth is a ubiquitous material that can be part of a more circular way of construction in a global context.

A funicular shell is the investigated structural form, as shells are forms that produce low tensile and bending forces. This allows the utilization of weaker materials such as earth for load-bearing purposes, as they are strong enough in compression. Moreover, they require less material and can employ the full extent of the potentials of additive manufacturing. This form was chosen due to its easily extendable area, its openings that allow it to function both as roofing area and usable space, as well as its compatibility with “Nubian inspired” printing to avoid substructure. However, open shells are not as rigid as closed shells and thus are prone to inextensional deformation. Essentially, they may experience bending without strain, while the surface length remains unchanged as they are more flexible. More specifically, as the force trajectories run through the arch, they push outward horizontally at the base. For this reason, an additional provision is required in the supports, due to these so-called kicking forces requiring a significant surplus of material to achieve structural safety. This phenomenon can be limited through the increase of bending stiffness by ensuring sufficient boundary conditions.

The main advantages of earth as a construction material are its global availability, recyclability, sufficient mechanical strength with high thermal mass, and its compatibility with Additive Manufacturing. On the other hand, its main disadvantages are its water resistance, its limited mechanical strength, its lack of standardization and its insulating properties.

Structures that rely on stiffness are sensitive to defects. As loads cause deflections, the structural efficiency of the ideal form is compromised, leading to buckling failure and collapse. This means that in this case the structural design is governed by the stresses and not the displacements. (Flügge, 1972). Therefore, the approach followed in this thesis for the structural validation is the permissible stress design that focuses on ensuring that the exhibited stresses do not exceed the elastic limit and the buckling load does not exceed the critical load.

Fig. 2: Life cycle of earth as a building material. Adapted from “Sustainable Building with Earth” by H. Schroeder, 2015

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Considering strength as the investigated criterion there are some guidelines that should be followed. To begin with, the moisture content should be close to the Plastic Limit of the clay-based mixture, while allowing sufficient flowability and extrudability. Regarding the dry elements, a higher


The digital setup is programmed fully in Grasshopper3D. In order to produce a fully parametric model the geometry is defined directly in Grasshopper3D, utilizing Rhino3D only for visual representation. The digital pipeline records all the required steps, from the form-finding to the structural and lifecycle analysis, the slicing and the generation of the G-code, as well as the design of a user-friendly interface that allows the user to define the geometric properties of the structure.

Workflow development

Results & Next steps

Part of the research consisted of the development of the required tools for the physical setup, namely the end effector of the extrusion system. The development was done in collaboration with Maximillian Mandat. The end effector is based on a barrel and die principle driven by an Arduino controlled stepper motor, in order to ensure a laminar flow. For the prototype extruder, both commercial and 3D printed parts were incorporated with the end goal of mounting it into a robotic arm.

The focus of my thesis was on developing an integrated workflow for designing and fabricating a structurally optimized shell using computational methods for formfinding, structural and lifecycle analysis, as well as fabrication, with the end goal of facilitating an automated additive manufacturing production. Typically, a Nubian vault is a solid structure with a cross section of 60cm. Through the proposed workflow, a theoretical material reduction of 56% is possible, as shown in fig.5.

Graduate

clay content improves cohesion and surface bonding, increasing shear strength, plasticity and surface finish. At the same time, it enlarges the effects of drying shrinkage. On the other hand, higher aggregate content, such as sand, improves compressive strength and shrinkage behavior. However, even more important than the aggregate content for the mechanical strength is the accomplishment of mixture homogeneity that assures proper coating of the aggregate particles with clay.

Fig. 3: Extruder development, from Mandat, M & Rodiftsis, A. 2020

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As for the environmental impact of the proposed construction, it is difficult to assess, since this research focused only on the structural performance of construction. Therefore, it cannot reliably be compared to an actual building envelope, as the operational energy of the structure is not considered. Available indicators such as Primary Energy Intensity and production costs can only offer comparative information on the impact of the construction with a system boundary “from cradle to gate”. The workflow calculates and compares both the impact of the earthen construction and a typical concrete one using data extracted from literature. In order to estimate

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whether the overall impact of a construction is larger, the expected lifetime of the building needs to be specified by the user. Then, according to their needs the best option as well as its projected impact is highlighted. For example, the investigated structure has a floorplan of 3m x 6m and the location is northern Greece. For a house function, if the lifetime of the construction is above 9 years, a typical insulated concrete construction has less impact in terms of overall [kWhs]. This is illustrated in Fig.4. In this view the energy & cost reduction potential of the construction is high enough to offer a promising alternative to concrete due to earth’s high recyclability, local availability and compatibility with RAM. However, provisions targeting the operational


Graduate Fig. 5: Material optimization result

Fig. 6: Energy comparison

energy, such as the thermal performance of the structure should be made in parallel with the structural requirements.

References

Essentially, the development of a functioning workflow was just the first step in introducing this field of research. A starting point on which future research can build upon by reducing the steps, optimizing the workflow or by developing a step further, increasing the depth of the research and validity.

Flügge W. (1972) Theory of Shells. In: Tensor Analysis and Continuum Mechanics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-88382-8_9 Schroeder, H. (2009). Konstruktion und Ausführung von Mauerwerk aus Lehmsteinen. In: Mauerwerkkalender, pp. 271–290. W. Ernst & Sohn, Berlin

Athanasios Rodiftsis is a recent master’s graduate of the Building Technology Track. Ever since he started studying architecture, he has been interested in the application of digital fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing and performance-driven design in service of sustainable development in the built environment. Through his thesis in TU Delft, he was given the opportunity to combine these interests with earth as a structural material in the context of circular economy. After graduating, he finished hisx military service in Greece and he is currently searching for a relevant position within practice to further his knowledge and contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of the construction industry.

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Interview

The future is compressed Jurriaan van Stigt, architect and founding partner at LEVS architecten talks with Fawzi Bata and Tim Schumann from Rumoer

Rumoer: What are the goals and vision of your office LEVS architecten? van Stigt: Our work aims to improve the quality of life in cities, in the Netherlands and abroad. Urban densification, sustainability and creating affordable living environments are key themes for us. We specialize in complex urban assignments, where creative and technical innovation is required at all levels. We always take the historical and social conditions of a site into account in order to connect with and improve urban spaces. In the Netherlands, our designs vary from city to city, from neighborhood to neighborhood. For our projects in Russia, we try to see what the tradition there already is, and what we can add to it. Typically, they do not have apartments on the ground floor for example, where green and urban spaces are mostly in gated communities. Within the last 6-7 years of our projects there we try to convince our clients to include urban planning, street lighting, and greenery in the designs in order to make people feel at home. The same for our projects in Africa. We always try to connect with where we are building and what is special about certain locations. I have a picture here on my desk here that says “Africa is not a country”. We try to

Fig. 1: Technical Training College Sangha

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connect to what is very local, so for example, the approach in Mali is not the same as in Rwanda, or in Tanzania, or Kenya, or Ghana, and it really differs with the place. Existing building traditions and vernacular methods of building too are starting points for our approach. Rumoer: What is your role at LEVS? van Stigt: My partner Marianne Loof and I started the office around 32 years ago, and today we have a team of 40+ talented designers and engineers and 5 partners. I would say that teamwork lies at the heart of our office. As partner I am involved in all stages of a project, but I would say that my personal focus is technological innovation and sustainability. Rumoer: What are the ongoing projects you are currently involved in? van Stigt: We currently have around 35 ongoing projects, with in total around 6,000 apartments in the Netherlands. So it's a rather big portfolio. A project in the Netherlands takes five to seven years from start to finish. Throughout the day I'm busy with around four to six projects, with some projects in the execution phase and some in the starting phase. But to name one specific project that I am very excited about: Echte-Stein , a residential tower in Amsterdam in which we use left-over bricks to reduce emissions.

FORUM were looking at social impact and how society is organized. Haan’s story was published in the magazine in 1968. It became an important story in the 60s in universities and in the Academy in Amsterdam. It sparked interest in different approaches to building cities and preserving heritage. It greatly influenced Dutch architecture. Over the years, I kept going back with my father Joop van Stigt, also an architect and good friend of Herman Haan. In 1995 we started the foundation as a family, building schools first in the traditional way with mud and then concrete bricks. We also found that the most sustainable way would be to build with local materials, such as red earth. Rumoer: How much does vernacular architecture inspire your designs in Mali? van Stigt: I would say our designs are routed in vernacular architecture, but we evolve them based on contemporary requirements, technologies and, importantly, possibilities. One of the difficulties in west Africa is that most of the students have had their architectural training in France, or sometimes China or the US. When they come back the idea

Rumoer: What motivated you to work on your projects specifically in Mali? van Stigt: It started during my studies in Delft around 1980. In the second year I had the opportunity to go with architect ant anthropologist Herman Haan to Mali to visit the “Pays Dogon,” a region predominantly inhabited by the Dogon people. Haan went to Mali just after the war to study Tellem remains along the cliff of Bandiagara. During this period Aldo van Eyck and his group around the magazine

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Fig. 2: A traditional dogon village


Rumoer: At what point in the project do you consider the use of materials and sustainability?

Fig. 3: Traditianal mudbricks for Mosque Djenne

is that modern architecture is based on the international style hardly related to their roots. So most of the buildings are made of concrete, glass, and steel. Although there is a rich local architectural tradition there is not yet a clear vision for what a new architecture that connects the new era to the past should look like. So the question becomes: as a Dutch architect, how can I relate to this architectural tradition and how can I make an interpretation that really works? The answer is collaboration. With local entrepreneurs and masons. And by starting from what's already there in terms of styles, materials and techniques, I hope that in small steps there will be a new connection with the architecture and what they make locally. Wolf Schijns (an architect and professor from the university of Eindhoven) did a thorough investigation with students in the 1980s and ‘90s . They produced an enormous amount of drawings of all kinds of Dogon buildings. This helps to understand local building traditions. Now the task is to connect them to contemporary programs and requirements. For example, school buildings have to be large spaces, while traditionally Dogon architecture is quite small, based on wood connections and spans. Also, traditional mud buildings have to be maintained every year, adding new plaster to the facade. So the next question became: how do

Interview

we build more sustainably, with a focus on the durability of materials and a minimum of maintenance.

van Stigt: Since my studies in Delft sustainability was always important. Also, in our daily life as an office, it has always played an important role, but not in an exuberant way as it is in the balance of everything. In Mali we needed a school with the possibility of using mud. Then we found out that the government was opposed to paying teachers that work in schools made with mud, and they preferred the use of concrete. We then started making schools out of concrete bricks because the purpose was education. Then they said it could also be a natural stone, so we started to build in natural stone. Step by step they became more convinced and we have now made around 35 schools in Mali. An important moment was when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. A special program at the

Fig. 4: Air vents in Tanouan Ibi primary school

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Rumoer: What is the relationship between craftsmanship and technology in realizing your earth designs, and how much does each one play a role? van Stigt: When talking about sub-Saharan Africa, everyone knows the famous mud city of Djenne, with the big mosque made with special hand-shaped earth blocks. The French introduced building with earth blocks around 1900. They then started to develop this new system of making bigger blocks that are made with molds instead of being hand shaped. Bricklaying became a tradition and knowledge that developed. Around 1960-1970 they became concrete blocks. We introduced compressed earth blocks along with vocational training schools. There are now two machines in Mali but it’s not only bringing a machine or selling it, it’s really important that you connect this by training people.

it possible to make it with a vault?” Well, I didn't had any calculation, I just looked at the roman vaults and domes for what can be possible. The first domes we build with a span of 180 cm, then 350 cm and so on. If there were no cracks, we continued. Now I have the calculation but ten years ago there was nothing, we did it all by experimenting. You just start doing stuff and see what happens: learning by doing. It is also learning by doing when it comes to training students. We collaborate with the foundation Partners Pays Dogon who train a new generation of masons. For two years now it has not been possible to go to Mali. Still, it was possible to build with nine students in Mali a training center, in the town of Wadouba. It has been built with a hand press designed by other students of the HVA Amsterdam. We were not able to go there, so we communicated through Zoom, WhatsApp, pictures, etc. The building was designed by our office with all kinds of difficulties in it like domes, vaults, masonry patterns. We thought of it as a kind of training project there. Now, we have 10 students that are building onion houses for the women, a new office and they're going to build something for the hospital. Sometimes, we see them change details, they ask: “Can we also do the blocks like this now? “Then I say: “OK, you're going to be your own architect!” It started because certain blocks were not available or some molds were not available, so they changed certain details. Ok, as an architect it is not always

Interview

university of Delft investigated the design for a new town ‘mamalodi’, and asked the question: how can we build in South Africa in a sustainable, different, and quick manner. This led to developing a machine with OSKAM to build with load-bearing hydraulic compressed earth. The work in South Africa didn't start, but finally we brought the first mobile machine in 2005 to the technical school we build in Mali (Mopti) to train students, and started making schools in the Dogon area. Later people from ministries came and were amazed by the climate inside, the quality and modern look. Today its seems that earth is becoming more and more popular internationally and more people are convinced that earth is not a poor material.

Rumoer: How did you start your work with earth? van Stigt: In the beginning in Mali, we built in the rural area of Pays Dogon, difficult to access. We built a lot of schools, beginning with adobe, then with natural stone or with concrete hollow blocks with mud plaster. Mainly with steel roofs. Later we made the first school with HCEB but still with steel roofs and then there was always the question: “Is

Fig. 6: ETSJ prix de joop training center for HCEB

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completely what I would have liked, but yeah, let it go. That's also difficult, but I hope someday the best students of them will become architects. Like the old days in the Netherlands, the Mason and the Carpenter started to make drawings and build a house. Rumoer: How do these compressed earth blocks work in load bearing structures, and what are the advancements being made using them? van Stigt: It’s already better when you don't build with concrete blocks and build with earth, even as an infill in a concrete framework. The problem is that in the connection between the concrete and the infill of earth blocks you can always see the cracks as they stabilize differently. Most of these buildings degrade quickly and need rendering and painting, which is a lot of material use. However, climatewise it's still better than concrete blocks. You can make the walls load-bearing with buttresses or double walls without the need for concrete. The rough building is final so you don't need mud-plaster whatsoever. It's rainproof, you need less cement, and the climate quality inside is much better. We try to go with the machine and

Fig. 7: HCEB production on site

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Fig. 8: Through learning by doing, we now make large domes

make the blocks on location, because around 30% of the cost is transportation since in Africa the distances are enormous. For cement we'd have to transport from around 900 kilometers away. This means a bag of cement in Senegal costs 5,000 CFA and in Sangha where we build it costs double the amount because of transportation costs. It is therefore not only economical, but also better for the CO2 footprint of the building, meaning sustainability is linked directly to the product and how it is produced. Rumoer: What are some of the lessons learned from your experience in Mali that can be transferred to building with earth in the Netherlands and Europe? van Stigt: Currently with TNO and OSKAM we are developing a machine to make local, compressed, rainproof, and cement-less earth blocks. The next step would be introducing this in Europe and the Netherlands. Regulations, regulations, regulations! We need to get it in the National Material Database (NMD) so we can really start using it. OSKAM is also developing a machine to create bigger blocks for interior walls. This can be combined with wood buildings that lack mass, benefiting from both materials. We can also introduce electricity in the earth block walls, which adapt quickly to the temperature creating heated walls that are difficult to achieve in wooden construction.


Interview

in for concrete, then I’m sure the very next day building with earth will be much cheaper. Regulations can help us change that. I focus more on investigating what is possible to do, what steps we have to take, what regulations exist already and where we can make the connection. With that I hope that we are able to build with this material in a few years in the Netherlands. Rumoer: Next to regulatory issues, are there also technical problems you are facing while building with earth in the Netherlands? van Stigt: One of the main problems is of course labour. We lack trained people who can make and work with the blocks. Also, there are health and safety regulations that need to be met. For example, the blocks we use in Mali weigh 8.2

Fig. 9: Latest edition of the press developed by OSKAM. Large blocks for interior walls

We should think out of the box to get new products. We are also busy with the Technical University Delft with calculations for rules in the Dutch market. We aim to have new regulations for load bearing construction as we have already proven this in Africa where even with a wall thickness of 15cm and buttresses every 1.8m we can build 3 stories with no problem. We have demonstrated in Mali that it is technically possible, now let’s make it happen here! Of course we have a different climate, but you can still use it for the construction of interior walls, we don’t have to copy everything. It's a little bit more expensive to build with earth currently, however the externalized cost of CO2 is not included in market prices of common materials. Suppose we put that

Fig. 10: HCEB interiorwall ellements

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but we should invest, we are a rich country. So I hope that with new regulations in the nearby future, we can introduce earth products, earth separation walls and earth plaster in the Netherlands. It is already possible in Belgium. Rumoer: What advice do you have for students who aspire to innovate and create positive change in the architecture and building technology field as you have done?

Fig. 11: Joop van Stigt always explains with books and pictures

kg. In the Netherlands bricks weighing a maximum of 2.2 kg are allowed. This makes it more complex, so we have to develop equipment and new machinery to place the walls. Another thing is the guarantee. When people buy a house or when people buy an apartment they want to have a guarantee. They ask: “Can you show us that this is holding for 20 years?” We can't say, we are just developing it now. Rumoer: Do you have any plans for projects in the near future in Europe or the Netherlands that use Earth? van Stigt: In the Netherlands, I hope that we take steps in establishing these new products, for example inside walls. The current MPG norm for residential buildings is 0,8. That is a regulation that limits the amount of CO2 impact that the building can have. I hope they will drive that norm down quickly. Of course building with earth is more expensive,

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van Stigt: My advice would be to keep on dreaming! It sounds a little bit holistic, but I think it's important to keep a kind of dream, to be a little bit naive. It also sounds not nice, but I mean it positively. When you start working in an office you have a lot of projects, it is a daily business. I am happy with what we are doing, but as a student, you should explore. You should explore materials and explore in a very serious way: Why is something not possible? Why do we do thinks this way and not another? A lot of times it comes down to regulations. Ok, you cannot change the regulations immediately, but you can show what is necessary to convince people to change them. By making products and then showing how we apply them, we too try to convince the industry and the policymakers. Another thing I would advise is to look more at the basics. I support always a lot of students in making projects in African countries, and they are always busy with developing new ways of living together and similar topics. But actually, making a new design is not really the difficulty, I think. It is experimenting with materials. How can we make biodegradable materials meeting the standards for fireproofing, noise, humidity or sustainability? That's going to be the challenge. I mean, you can make a beautiful render out of a lot of projects, but performing a deep investigation of the product should be the next step for a lot of students. And I think also that's the difficulty within the study, to find the support from the professors or from the teachers who have also that kind of knowledge. I mean, you should also challenge them and push them a little bit. Most of the teachers teach you what


More about LEVS: LEVS architecten: LEVS architecten Recent column (in Dutch): Dingen die we niet nodig hebben niet maken - Cobouw.nl

Sustainability award-winning projects (non-residential): St. Ignatiusgymnasium | LEVS architecten Kolleksjesintrum Fryslân | LEVS architecten Sustainability in recent residential projects: Echte-Stein | LEVS architecten (re-used bricks), ROOT | LEVS architecten (wood), Cruquius - The Harbour Club | LEVS architecten (circular materials)

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they learned 30 years ago. They teach you the past, but they should teach you the future.

Book-Tip: Raw Earth! Building with earth still has enormous potential in so many places around the world. It can be an integral solution to the combined challenges of climate change, urban expansion and affordable housing. LEVS architecten has brought it all together in one systematic overview: from design to production phase and from sampling soils to layering fault roofs, Raw Earth as A Construction Material carefully explains how to do it. Richly illustrated with examples from our projects in Mali and Mauritania. Useful both as a handbook for higher practical education and as a state of the art manual for professional designers and builders.

Jurriaan van Stigt graduated with honours from the TU Delft in 1989. In that same year, he founded Loof & van Stigt Architecten in Amsterdam with Marianne Loof, which in 2005 continued as LEVS architecten together with Adriaan Mout. The office works with an international team on large, urban residential projects on three continents. From 2011 to 2017, Jurriaan was editor-in-chief of the AetA’s FORUM magazine, placing emphasis on the interplay between architecture and current debates in society. He is a regular guest-lecturer at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and jury member for various professional awards. Jurriaan has been chairman of the Partners Pays-Dogon foundation since 2009. The foundation works in western Mali and in collaboration with the Dogon on projects in the fields of education, desert greening, clean drinkingwater, empowerment of women, health and culture. 87



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A state of cohesion Dhruv Bhasker, Founder of Samangal Studio, Auroville I define Earth as a planet, as the solid state of Life itself as we know it. It is the cohesion of materials, minerals and matter, both living and nonliving. To see earth as a building material, one first needs to understand it as a planet, and seesit as an essential aspect of life. To me, soil as a building material, is like poetry. It has its basis in language, yet free from its rules and boundaries, setting its own frame of reference to express a new form of art and communication.

Fig. 1: Residential Project

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The very fact that earth (hereby referring to soil) has been placed at the last stage of the elements of nature, depicts that it embodies stability and thus sustainability, especially when used as an option in the midst of alternatives viz. Cement blocks, Industrial building blocks, prefabricated panel systems, or even Fired bricks. Numerous studies illustrate its scientific low embodied energy, but here I highlight its own stage of existence in the cycle of evolution.

Fig. 2: Rammed Earth walls for a Residence

As a great Indian philosopher and spiritual leader, has written:

As human beings proceed towards a highly industrial existence, where our energy spots slowly get converted to mechanised and urbanised platforms for further consumption of energy, there is a need to recognise that natural purity and minimum modification of natural resources, is a way forward to sustain growth of human habitat. Frugality has a very important role to play in the process. In stead of availing more resources, we need to simplify. Instead of wanting more, we have to realise that we need less.

(Conscious Force Chapter 10, The Life Divine) All forms of Matter, for the Sankhyas, are built up by the combination of five elements which are self-modification of the primitive Force: - a condition of pure material extension in Space of which the peculiar property is vibration typified to us by the phenomenon of sound; - an interplay of vibrations, called in the old language the aerial, of which the special property is contact between force and force; - a principle of light, electricity, fire and heat; - a state of diffusion and a first medium of permanent attraction and repulsion, termed picturesquely water or the liquid state; - a state of cohesion, termed earth or the solid state.… continued By Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Pondicherry, India

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Historically we have witnessed that we humans have adopted the use of natural materials for our habitat for millennia, gradually shifting towards the easier and convenient means, which are now hazardous to nature and to humankind itself. A shift back to the roots is in fact the need of the hour. Earth as a building material, offers us a solution to bridge this gap that we have created ourselves. Earth as a building material has offered this for a long time, visible in areas with seemingly less or inadequate resources. That itself explains that it is a way forward. In my practice of work, I draw from this understanding and apply resources towards balancing the need with the available resource, thus giving an expression that is more in tune with nature.


Company 91 Fig. 3: Facade of a brick and mud walled residence


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Through our work, we explore such frugality of architecture and adoption of appropriately modified technologies. Earth is used in various elements of architecture and construction. We often make foundations and load-bearing walls built with stabilised rammed earth, with soil excavated from the site itself. The stabilization factor is arrived at after understanding the composition of the soil to be used, its clay and silt and sand content, as well as its bearing capacity. All of this is achievable with the partnership of heavily skilled workers. Fig. 4: Couryard with skylight

To compete with the industrialisation and with the lack of available time and skill for the upkeep of native/pure earth construction, Earth in its basic form, may need to be stabilised or treated or converted to terracotta via firing. Although this would have a minor impact on its embodied energy, it would be able to answer several concerns raised about its pure form. After centuries of urbanisation, a reversal of some sort is witnessed. I call this a ‘Ruralisation’ of Urban areas. We see this happening galore in India. The affluent few, moving towards the countryside, farming, horticulture, living closer to tradition. The resourceful population consciously adopting tools of a sustainable lifestyle. I often indulge in my thoughts in an interesting aspect of the success of the monumental architecture of the past. the fact that historically successful and standing architecture is also an expression of ages of aristocracy, or imperialism, of an imbalance of wealth and power. The very fact that a handful could impose an architectural statement with the involvement of slavery and bonded labour, puts the sustainability of using these traditional techniques in the present era, where we know better. Social equality and fair trade with full rights for all, is at the forefront of present aspiration of humankind.

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Fig. 5: Rammed Earth


Company 93 Fig. 3: Office room


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Another aspect of enhancing the expression of earth as a building material is incorporating traditional motifs within the ramming of walls and using textures with lime and earth plasters. Various roofing techniques that are done using terracotta (fired clay) elements such as pots, tubes, filler slab blocks, made as Vaults, Domes and Jack-arches. Overall, incorporating earth in building spaces, is a very holistic and almost a therapeutic gesture towards an acceptance of its enormous potential energy, both metaphorically and literally.

Fig. 6: Tube Vault Construction

Fig. 7: Tube Vault

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Sustainability is a holistic phenomenon, not to be understood in isolation. Similarly, earth as an element, or as a planet, or as a building material, is not sustainable in isolation. Just as planet earth needs sun, the gravity between all other entities in the universe and its own natural satellites, similarly the element Earth needs the other four elements to be in balance and the same way, using earth as a building material also needs relationship with other building materials, and the context and the environment.

Fig. 7: Jack Arch Slab Construction


An inspiration from the “The greatness of the ideals a promise of greater ideals

Indian seer: of the past is of the future.” -Sri Aurobindo

Company

The practice is based in Auroville, India and is aimed at achieving a habitat as Frugal and spaces as natural as possible. This is done through a highly engaging process involving a study of the context, the users and the site location. At Samangal, we try to reduce the gap between the user(s), the design, and the artisans and the team of creators to bring harmony in the process as well as the outcome. We take joy in this transformative process of designing and creating spaces in harmony with nature, just as a worm morphs into its destiny of being a butterfly, flapping its wings in joy.

Dhruv Bhasker lives in Auroville since 2002 and has been working on a wide variety of roles from Design, to Technology transfer and innovations and Research in Social housing and restoration and conservation works pan India. He was a cofounder of Dustudio in Auroville. He now runs his studio practice called Samangal. Besides his passion for the revival of traditional knowledge systems, he has also engaged over the years deeply with the dynamics of the Auroville experiment and its evolution through administration and events. A journey that started in Bombay, passing through Indore, Nagpur and finally brought him to this experiment in Human Unity in South India, continues with exploratory travels to various old cultures of the world. With works ranging from earth-friendly architecture, interior design, furniture design and alternative building technology practices, he believes in the spread of knowledge, old and new. Dhruv believes strongly in this quote from Sri Aurobindo“The greatness of the ideals of the past is a promise of greater ideals for the future.”

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Fig. 1: The Hwb/shed, the first case study; to research construction with earth and waste materials


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Earth and Waste Lizzie Wynn, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University A radical earth building, in Wales, is nearing completion and is the result of research into indefinite re-use of locally found, waste materials. This research began in 2018, with Lizzie Wynn’s MSc dissertation at The Centre of Alternative Technology, Machynlleth and is now part of her PhD thesis at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. The research is examining the potential of reusing plastic and tyres as building materials, with earth.

The research looks at practical issues of constructing with these materials, the performance of the resulting constructions and public perceptions. The main materials being examined are PET bottles filled with clean, dry, single use plastic. These are widely know as ‘ecobricks’, which are solidly packed bottles, over 333g/litre. Current academic literature in building with PET bottles and earth is limited and has differing results which makes it difficult to gauge potential and compliance (buildings are usually constructed using cement as a binder). This research focuses on load bearing structures that can be deconstructed.

Material/s used will be tested for compliance. Datasets on materials are being collected during the construction process, such as weight and quantity of materials. The research buildings will aim to comply with building standards and be climate appropriate. The research is also broadly examining waste, disposal and recycling of resources on a global level. It looks at cradle to cradle/circular economy methods in various contexts to ascertain how they will apply in the case studies. Local opinions are being recorded as the case studies progress, as well as perceptions from further afield; ecobrick makers and building professionals. The research is scheduled to continue until 2024

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Earth is not widely used as a construction material in Wales, though this was not always the case; it was the vernacular where stone was not available, before materials were transported by sea and roads. Earth was chosen as a binder for the ecobricks, as it has the following advantages over other materials, such as cement: •Low carbon material as it can often be sourced from the building site. •Can be re-used when the building is adapted. •Materials bound with earth do not usually become damaged, when the wall is broken up for re-use •Moderates humidity/has hygroscopicity •Earth is approachable and enjoyable to work with Disadvantages: •Needs protecting from rain (roof overhang and perhaps lime render/paint) •Training needed as skills are no longer common knowledge Walls and foundations can be made from tyres rammed with subsoil, like ‘earthship’ structures. The compressive strength is similar to a rammed earth monolithic structure (0.6-4 N/mm² or MPa). PET bottles are usually a waste material (few are recycled), therefore a building created with them will not impact the environmental detrimentally, but the viability of the bottle as a wall module material needs to be firmly established. Bottles can cope with heat and freeze cycles, are water resistant and have undergone compressive tests that find them suitable for construction of single storey buildings, though 2 storeys have been successfully achieved recently, using a cement mortar and concrete. The PET bottle compressive strength ranges from less than 1 to 38 N/mm² but single bottle compressive strength range (without a binder) is 0.22 to 17.4 N/mm². It is useful to establish how this compares to other wall materials. Clay bricks, concrete blocks and concrete have a compressive

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Fig. 2: Testing the deconstruct/reconstruct process, by turning a door into a window, a window into a door.

strength from less than 1 to 60 N/ mm² but the usual range is 17 to 28 N/mm² (Mishra, 2013). Earthen material ranges from 0.45 to 4 N/mm² (Miccoli et al., 2014). Compression stress from a single storey earthen building is approximately 0.1 MPa (Houben and Guillard, 1994), which is potentially reduced when ecobricks are used with cob, as the weight is less. Two community buildings within the ‘Incredible Edible Porthmadog’ project in North Wales are being created as case studies, to examine potential of materials. The first case study is a low carbon building that was required on


Filling

Bottle Size (ml)

Other Information

Average or maximum compressive strength N/mm² (or MPa)

Bonding method/material

Santana et al. (2017)

Air

600

Varying bonding patterns 0.0047 - 0.0061 N/mm² (or MPa)

0.0061

Wire, acrylic sheets in plywood box

Mansour and Ali (2015)

Soil

1500

Running and, 8 bottles

0.67

Cement and sand

Ellappan et al. (2015)

Foundry sand, sand, clay, soil, treated sludge

Block size points to 1000

Varying bonding patterns using 5-16 bottles 0.6-1.11 N/mm² (or MPa)

1.11

OPC 43 cement with fine aggregate

Haque (2019) (unpublished Haque and Islam (2018))

Sand

500

One bottle per concrete block

4.46

Concrete

Awall et al. (2019)

Sand

500

Cubes with various stacks of 4-12 MUM mineral water PET bottle. Wire or nylon rope reinforcement 2.9-7.5 N/mm² (or MPa)

7.5

Cement, sand 1:3

Safinia and Alkalbani (2016)

Air

1000

Stack bonded concrete block modules

10.2

Concrete

Muyen et al. (2016)

Fine Sand

1000

12 bottle brick filled cubes

33.7

Concrete

Muyen et al. (2016)

Fine Sand

9 bottle brick filled cubes

35

Concrete

Mokhtar et al. (2015)

Moist compacted sand

Stack bonded wall

38.34

Cement, sand 1:2

250,12 50

Academic

Author

Table. 1: showing the ascending value of compressive strength of PET bottle bricks, size, fill material and binder/bonding method.

the site (public land), to function as a shed, tea room and meeting room for the community garden project. The size of the building needed to allow seating for 6-10 people with storage for a few tools, seeds, books, meeting equipment and tea making facilities.

Foundations were made with stone and earth filled tyres on a rubble trench which creates a free draining base for the earth walls. Ecobrick walls were constructed with different densities used on each side of the building (200-332g/ litre on West side, 333-600g on East side) which aims to establish the optimum density of the stuffed PET bottle

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Material Cob Earth Block Masonry

Compressive strength N/mm² (or MPa) 0.45 - 1.4 2.15

Rammed Earth

0.6 - 4

Concrete Hollow Masonry Unit/Block

2.8 - 12

Pet Bottles Without Binder

0.22 - 17.44

Pet Bottles With Binder

0.01 - 38.34

Clay Brick

1.04 - 40

Concrete

10 - 60

Table 2: showing ascending compressive strength of typical wall materials and PET bottles with/without binder

Fig. 3: Earth and eco-bricks are approachable materials for all ages and abilities

for strength and thermal comfort. Cob is the mortar, made from earth that contains clay (binder), mixed with organic fibres (eg. straw/heather/bracken) and water to obtain plasticity for forming a shape; sometimes sand is added (when the clay percentage is too high). The roof design is not critical for this case study, though the weight is a factor. A reciprocal roof design was selected, an ancient method of roofing where each beam simultaneously supports other beams with a downward force, with a sedum covering, the lightest type of living roof.

is almost finished. The second case study is a walipini, an earth-bermed greenhouse design that uses passive solar gain to extend the food growing season, with rammed earth tyre walls, ecobricks with earthen mortar and windows recovered from waste streams. This is currently at the foundation stage.

The building was started in July 2019. About 30 volunteers have participated so far, from age 2 to retired people, often joining in with the cob making and wall building process, but the building has mostly been constructed by 2 people. Various factors have hindered progress, which delayed the walls gaining adequate protection, meaning heavy rain caused minor distortion; subsequently strengthened with extra cob. Planning consent was granted on 24th December 2020. Despite some setbacks, the first building

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Initial findings on the structures, regarding perceptions, are positive. The position of the site, in a central town location on public land, means that many people approach the

Fig. 4: Walipini foundations, the second case study; to research construction with earth and waste


Academic Fig. 5: Reciprocal roof made with locally cut timber

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unusual buildings, wanting to know more. There is great enthusiasm, from children and adults, around the re-use of plastic and a fascination for the solid earth of the mortar. There is a usually an expression of disbelief, mingled with delight, that the materials have worked. People usually want to feel the structure and test its solidity. Some talk of their great scepticism around durability when the project began and offer congratulations on the achievement. The need for the building and structural integrity has been justified, at the request of the local authority. As the research continues, the quieter observers will also be approached for feedback. Almost half a tonne of single waste plastic has been repurposed into construction materials. The deconstruction/reconstruction process has been tested this year, by reusing materials in new positions when the design was altered; a door and window changed places. The community building is appreciated by locals and was shortlisted for the ‘National Environmental Awards’. The project was recently awarded the Centre of Alternative Technology’s alumni ‘Transformation prize’, due to its positive impact. This research is intended to build confidence in earthen and waste materials, so that wider use by industry professionals is feasible. References Awall, Md, S Minhaz, G Biswas, J Anar, and M Parves. Performance Of Waste Plastic Bottles As Substitute Of Brick On Masonry Wall, 2019. Ellappan, P., A. Vijayakumar, I. Padmanaban, and J. Robby. ‘A Comparison Study of Compressive Strength for Brick Masonary & Pet Bottle Masonry’. International Journal of ApplWied Engineering Research 10 (1 January 2015): 32544–51.

Fig. 6: A bottle window under construction

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Haque, Md. Sazzadul. ‘Sustainable Use of Plastic Brick from Waste PET Plastic Bottle as Building Block in Rohingya Refugee Camp: A Review’. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 26,


Haque, M.S., and S. Islam. ‘Plastic Brick: Sustainable Use of PET Plastic Bottle as Building Material. Unpublished Work (Used with Permission in Haque (2019)’, 2018.

Mokhtar, Mardiha, Suhaila Sahat, Baizura Hamid, Masiri Kaamin, Mohd Jahaya Kesot, Chia Wen Law, Yong Xin Loo, Pei Ling Ng, and Vivian Jia Lei Sim. ‘Application of Plastic Bottle as a Wall Structure for Green House’. Putrajaya, Malaysia, 2015. http://eprints.uthm.edu.my/7329/.

Mansour, A.M.H., and S.A. Ali. ‘Reusing Waste Plastic Bottles as an Alternative Sustainable Building Material’. Energy for Sustainable Development 24 (1 February 2015): 79–85. https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.esd.2014.11.001.

Muyen, Z., T. N. Barna, and M. N. Hoque. ‘Strength Properties of Plastic Bottle Bricks and Their Suitability as Construction Materials in Bangladesh’. Progressive Agriculture 27, no. 3 (28 December 2016): 362–68. https://doi.org/10.3329/ pa.v27i3.30833.

Miccoli, Lorenzo, Urs Müller, and Patrick Fontana. ‘Mechanical Behaviour of Earthen Materials: A Comparison between Earth Block Masonry, Rammed Earth and Cob’. Construction and Building Materials 61 (30 June 2014): 327–39. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2014.03.009.

Safinia, Sina, and Amani Alkalbani. ‘Use of Recycled Plastic Water Bottles in Concrete Blocks’. Procedia Engineering, Selected papers from Creative Construction Conference 2016, 164 (1 January 2016): 214–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. proeng.2016.11.612.

Mishra, Gopal. ‘Compressive Strength Test on Bricks’. The Constructor, 12 December 2013. https:// theconstructor.org/practical-guide/compressivestrength-test-on-brick/2790/.

Santana, Ignatius Adrian, Dalhar Susanto, and Widyarko Widyarko. ‘Pet Plastic Bottle Waste with Reuse Approach as Interior Pre-Fabrication Modules for Interior Wall’. INSIST 2, no. 1 (13 July 2017): 27–30. https://doi.org/10.23960/ins.v2i1.29.

Academic

no. 36 (1 December 2019): 36163–83. https://doi. org/10.1007/s11356-019-06843-y.

Lizzie Wynn studied art and became a photographer in the 1990’s. An interest in self build projects with natural materials progressed to leading a build team and teaching the methods she had learned, from 2008. A curiosity to dig deeper led to her MSc in Sustainability and Adaptation in the Built Environment, completed in 2018 and she is currently undertaking PhD research at the Welsh School of Architecture. She is a co-founder and the project manager at Incredible Edible Porthmadog and a Renew Wales mentor in Gwynedd, assisting community projects in sustainability. She was a workshop leader at Clayfest 2018 and a speaker at the EBUKI conference in 2020 and is a visiting lecturer and short course leader at the Centre for Alternative Technology, 2015-21. She loves to sail her 1967 wooden Wayfarer dinghy, in her local estuary and bay.

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Fig. 1: Facade system Photoceramics


Student

The Photoceramics - an alternative to solve overheating photovoltaic cells Juan Sebastian Cruz Rojas, Building Technology student, TU Delft University. Project Developers: Dimitrios Ntoupas, Jens Slagter, Juan Sebastian Cruz Rojas,Rhea Ishani, Stella Pavlidou Five students within the Master class Bucky Lab Design and the company Christine Jetten studio were challenged to develop innovative solutions and implementations for Photovoltaic cells in building facades. Exploring these components in the industry has pushed solar energy's boundaries to several innovative applications, and there is probably more to come. Despite this, overheating caused by the sun is the current main problem the solar industry has not managed to solve yet, affecting photovoltaic (PV) energy production.

It is interesting to note that PV panels lose efficiency once they reach a temperature of 35 degrees; the sun, being the primary energy source, is also the leading cause of poor performance. Therefore, the project's ultimate goal, "the photoceramics," is to optimize the PV panel's efficiency on facades by creating a passive cooling ceramic system that uses evaporation-cooling methods and ventilation to tackle overheating.

The proposed module seeks to produce a system that can work both as a second skin in the façade of a building and a climate control product for solar panels. The design enables different aesthetic approaches and may serve as a cooling system for the PV panels and the building's facade. As for the application context, warm and dry climates like India could find an alternative to increasing the power potential of such locations.

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Ceramic as the key The water absorption capacity of the ceramic pieces became the central aspect of creating a zero-energy cooling system. Therefore, the research focused on increasing the porosity ratio of the material, aiming to store more water in the facade. Understanding the Material As a natural effect, clay reduces its shape once the drying process starts, eliminating the mixture's moistures by evaporation. On a molecular scale, clay particles are drawn closer together, resulting in a shrinking effect of the total volume. The study aimed to find elements that do not react with the shrinking effect by adding several binders to the mixtures. By doing so, the combination of several components maximized the porosity ratio. Consequently, producing clay particles to move around the components to create gaps in the final element.

Fig. 2: Ceramic Tile - Christine Jetten Studio

The logic of the system Passive cooling addresses all of the existing creative energyless means of keeping buildings cool. Unlike passive heating, which draws on the sun, passive cooling relies on three natural heat sinks - the sky, the atmosphere, and the earth to achieve temperature moderation. In this case, the water functions as a heat exchanger in the project, using the ceramic's absorption properties as rainfall water storage and the geometry of these pieces to increase wind speed. The invention aims to create a convection effect to moisturize the air, decreasing the solar panels overheat caused by the constant sun exposure.

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The Klin The research aims to validate the effect of construction waste materials like wood and crushed ceramic or (chamotte) as principal catalytic binders for porosity. Thus, the wood would reach the kiln process, creating a combustion effect that burns and leaves gaps in the mix. At the same time, the waste ceramic remains static as it is not being affected by the heat, leaving a higher number of gaps among the volume. The production process of ceramics Once the research achieved a material porosity that successfully retains 24% of the water of its total volume. Consequently, the following stage aimed to find the proper production process. Ceramics are traditionally made by molding clay into a plaster recipient, which has the benefit of absorbing water and moisture from the clay mixture, thus speeding up the drying process, which depends on the size and thickness of the piece.


The aluminum profile functions as a seperator of windstreams an manages the water distribution. The water gets captured in the small bucket shape of the aluminum. From there it falls into the ceramic elements.

The wind in the cavity has a high velocity and is directed towars the top of the building (due to chimney effect).

Wind from the outside can flow through the top and can not have a downwards direction (because of the ceramic and aluminum plate). If the wind flows to the bottom of the element (it gets splitst when the wind hits the top of the design) it joins the wind from the bottom element and goes with an upward direction into the cavity.

Student

The wind gets separated and part of it resumes to move towards the top. The other (much smaller) part is redirected over te PV-panel by the means of an aluminum profile

The radiation income on the PV-panel is maximized. This creates a lot of output, but also leaves a high temperature on the surface. This is reduced by the convection and evaporation of the element. Giving an even higher output.

The ceramic element is saturated by the water dripping from the aluminum profile. The water is prevented from dripping downs by foam between the elements. This way the water has to be fully absorbed by the ceramics. Once saturated, the water flows over the bowl on the top and falls down to te element below.

Fig. 3: concept diagram

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The system inspiration Inspired by artist Floris Hovers and his exploration of ceramic engine blocks, the photoceramics facade system uses the concept of connections implementing gaskets and screws to develop a dry join system that allows the module to increase or decrease depending on the facade scale. Conclusion

Fig. 4: Ceramic Sections

The design seeks to maintain the mixture capabilities without restricting the geometrical design freedom of the product. The team contemplated 3Dprinting and liquid clay production methods. However, using the traditional technique of solid molding clay proved to be the best option for the material mix, allowing an even combination of binders along the volume. Like the clay extrusion process used in brick production, this ceramic development could be upscale on an industrialized level. However, the ceramics are sectioned into smaller pieces for prototyping purposes, allowing a faster drying process and a more straightforward assembly sequence on the construction site.

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Developing a ceramic product with a specialist was fundamental to understanding the material properties. In collaboration with Ceramic artist Christene Jetten studio and Cor Unum company, we comprehended the ceramic and the molding industry, successfully producing a fully functional working prototype. First, the analysis of the ceramic methods empowered the development of innovation in the project. The clay's molecular reaction shows the team a clear production methodology from the material understanding. Thus, using the principle of the shrinking effect as the main factor to increase the porosity ratio in the drying process of the ceramics. As a result, the traditional methodologies of handcrafting increased the actual application of the research. Most of the assumptions that, as a student, we had been incorrect. This learning process narrows down the options of the production process, the geometry shape, and the ideas of design. As architects, we ignored tradition's power in the design process. We wanted to create a complicated organic shape appealing to the eye from day one. The reflection of the result shows us that leaving aside unnecessary aesthetics helps us create a more efficient product. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize the solar and construction industry, providing an alternative that could increase the energy efficiency of any Photovoltaic cell by decreasing its heat. Meanwhile, applying a facade product that utilizes waste construction material to create a solution that solves the urban heat island effect by using rainwater.


Student Fig. 5: Detail Facade System, 1,3) ceramic piece type b, 2) natural rubber, 4) steel profile, 5) steel L profile, 6) steel nut, 7) metallic component, 8, 11) steel bolt type A, 9) solid steel pipe, 10) steel pv holder.

Juan Sebastian Cruz Rojas is a Colombian architect, currently in his second year Master's degree in Building Technology at TU Delft University. As part of his first year, he developed a ceramic prototype that explores high porosity components in the solar industry. Experimenting with clay compositions has opened him to a new world of possibilities. Alternative solutions to improving the energy efficiency of photovoltaic cells could be found by exploring new material combinations in the ceramic industry.

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78 | Earth image credit: Debut 2021 Committee

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BouT

DEBUT 2021 Energy Transition Jun Wen Loo (interviewee), Aneesha Madabhushi (interviewer) Debut is like opening a glass door, where students and companies take a step away from their comfort zone and allow a free exchange of ideas, questions and aspirations. The 6th edition of Debut 2021, themed “Energy Transition in the Building Industry”, engaged the participating companies in crafting a case challenge to start a conversation and spark ideas from the students to tackle them. These case challenges are basically existing roadblocks that the companies faced in achieving the Energy Transition vision because we want the proposals created to be beneficial to their operations while providing a relevant real-world problem for students to tackle.

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Debut 2021 is a full day case challenge event which can be divided into 3 segments; Company Meet & Greet, Case Challenge and ending with a Pitch. We warm everyone up by beginning with the Meet & Greet with companies in their top 3 preference. Once everyone’s mind is invigorated, we progress into the 3 hour Case Challenge. Working collaboratively in groups of 3-5 students, they will be guided by up to 2 company representatives to ensure they stay on track. Lastly, each group will be given 3 minutes to pitch their ideas to a jury panel of experts who will assess the quality of their proposals. Prior to the event, our committee worked very closely with each company in crafting relevant and manageable case challenges to make sure that the student proposals would benefit them in their journey towards Energy Transition. Honestly, 3 hours for the challenge is quite intense, so we made sure to calibrate the final deliverables such that they are in the form of a workflow diagram representing strategies instead of specifics and technicalities. This way it sparks a conversation without requiring in-depth knowledge into particular energy solutions.

image credit: Noa Buijsman

During the event, we hope the students and companies have fun engaging each other in conversations, be it within their teams of year 1 and 2 Building Technology and Architecture students, but also with the company representatives which has a lot to share. This gives them a good grasp on what the industry is looking for. Also having a theme helps them kickstart their conversation!

BouT

1) How is the structure of the event? What do you expect from the students and companies during and prior to the event?

2) What was the theme of this year's Debut? Why was this particular theme picked? Energy Transition in the building industry. This theme was selected as there is a growing movement within the European region and around the world that is focused on creating a sustainable built environment. From the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to COP26 and closer to the Netherlands, the government has promoted the move towards circular, green innovations and biobased materials for the building industry. This has an impact across the scales from the material level within the components, the assembly, the construction process all the way up to the relationship between the buildings, how they can exchange energy on the urban city scale. No longer is the power grid uni-directional in providing energy, it must now be able to allow for an exchange of energy at various scales and this has a deep impact on how we structure our built environment. Thus this forms a crucial talking point where we are at the cusp of the transition where companies have to manoeuvre between important factors and tradeoffs. Between costs and environmental impact, between design and impact on building climate which affects its energy usage, between optimised solutions and design considerations. All these trade-offs and compromises between various factors are precisely the talking point we want to engage the students and companies in, allowing the students to brainstorm how to make informed and suitable decisions while navigating these various concerns. We initially had the vision to engage the 4 main stakeholders in the building industry - municipalities,

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BouT image credit: Debut 2021 Committee

developers, architecture & design studios as well as the engineering consultancy firms. Through our invitations, we are glad that we could engage 2 of these stakeholders for Debut 2021. From the architecture studios we have MVRDV Next, which is a computational research branch of MVRDV, and Paul de Ruiter Architects, which focuses on innovative and sustainable design. From the engineering consultancy firms we have ABT, with representatives who are experts in building physics, Nieman Group, being represented by energy transition consultants, Scheldebouw, facade designer and consultancy as well as Witteveen+Bos with building advisors and energy transition consultants.

design, Computational Design as well as Sustainable Architecture Design from the different companies present. Each case addressed a different challenge unique to the companies’ core expertise and students were assigned to these cases based on their preferences. As much as we categorise the cases into specific focuses, they are actually very multidisciplinary, hence it is important that the theme Energy Transition is broad enough for us to encapsulate all the cases under this umbrella.

3) What were the different cases given to the students by the companies? Were the cases given by the companies relevant to the theme?

Speaking from my capacity as the chair of the event, it was very insightful to engage the different companies in these crucial conversations because through these interactions, I realise that they are in various defining stages of finding their footing on how they can manoeuvre this push towards a renewable, low carbon built environment. It is heartening

We had a broad range of cases with different focuses ranging from Climatic Design, Structural Design, Facade

4) How was your experience working with the company and other students?

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BouT

given by their case company. All of the groups put in a lot of effort in coming up with a 1 page pitch of their scheme and strategy for the jury panel to assess. Our jury panel consisted of 3 members, Job Schroen and Sevil Sariyildiz from TU Delft and Paul Carew from Buro Happold Berlin office. Each of them has expertise in the fields of architectural design and engineering, design informatics as well as sustainable climatic design respectively.

image credit: Noa Buijsman

to know that it is very similar to what we learnt in school. From the feedback of the students, some expressed that they are eager to find out how they fit within this industry and the opportunities they have to contribute, thus this event is a direct way for them to do that. Even though the event has a theme, I would not say that the conversation is restricted to Energy Transition because students are free to direct their questions to the company representatives during the Meet & Greet and the informal interaction session during lunch and after the event. This experience is also made more meaningful because most of these representatives are alumni of TU Delft and they take pride in sharing their experience and guiding the future generation of students. Hence it is heartwarming to have this passing down of knowledge during this time. 5) What was the outcome of the cases, and what conclusions were drawn at the end of the event? Were the conclusions of the different cases similar? The whole event culminated with a 3 minute pitch on their proposals and ideas towards resolving the case challenges

Given the nature of the cases which are different from one another, it was difficult for them to be assessed at the same level, hence the grading was made based on the completeness of how they addressed each individual case. Feedback was also provided to more fully substantiate the proposal which was pitched. 6) Give us a few highlights of the Event? What was your experience organising it? For one, this is definitely the largest physical event that is organised by BouT since the pandemic started, thus is it very fulfilling to see everyone back into a physical space, with covid measures in place, to interact freely with one another. The possibility of that physical interaction beyond the screen is one of the main factors many students are enticed to join as the connections established physically are more deeply satisfying. Furthermore, a lot of these company representatives are alumni of TU Delft and it is certainly nostalgic for them to return to campus not as a student but as a mentor with experience to share. For that reason, it is fulfilling for them to take a day away from work to inspire and engage the students. From our conversations with the students, besides being able to participate physically, the mix of architecture studios and engineering consultancy firms gives them a broader

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As for the organisation of the event, I would like to thank my committee for helping to run this event so smoothly and on time, with an abundance of food and drinks to keep everyone engaged. From sacrificing their summer vacations to juggling full-time studies while organising Debut 2021, it was quite a challenge for my team. Furthermore organising this in tandem with the rapid changes in covid regulations means having backup plans for transitioning the entire event to an online platform. Hence the highlight

of organising this event is my committee members - Sarah Hoogenboom, Marnix van den Assum, Kwan-lin Wang, Rhea Ishani, Trishita Chatterjee and Irum Faisal - the company representatives - Witteveen+Bos, ABT, Nieman Group, Scheldebouw, Paul de Ruiter Architects and MVRDV NEXT - as well as the invited members of jury.

BouT

exposure for them to plan for their post-graduation. Some has even furthered talks on thesis topics with the companies or internship opportunities.

I hope that future Debut will become ever more enriching and inspiring for the students and company representatives alike as we envision a brighter, more sustainable future together!

Debut 2021 Commitee Left to Right: Irum Faisal, Trishita Chatterjee, Sarah Hoogenboom, Jun Wen Loo, Marnix van den Assum, Rhea Ishani, Kwan-lin Wang,

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78. Earth

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Bronze Sponsors:

2nd quarter 2022