It is not hard to imagine that the first real homes must have been earthen structures, because earth happens to be the most abundant and handy material available to man. They might have been nothing more than tiny huts originally, but they started the history of constructed houses.
Eventually, though, technology took over, spawning modern building materials and technologies. They have, no doubt, helped house the burgeoning population of earth in great comfort. But at the same time, being high on energy consumption and use of non-renewable resources and polluting substances, they wreak havoc on our ecosystem. Moreover, the high cost of modern construction has rendered about 100 million people around the world homeless.
A search for more ecologically sound and socially responsible housing has brought earthen houses back into focus. Several ancient cultures had extensive villages of earthen houses built with locally available materials. Examples include cob, rammed earth, and adobe houses of South American and West Asian countries. Sometimes dried blocks of earth called adobe bricks were also used in place of formless earth.
Though made of earth, these structures are not as crumbly as one might imagine. Many of them have stood the test of time, remaining unscathed for several hundred to a few thousand years. The Fujian Tulou and the Great Wall of China are just a few of the ancient earth structures still in use.
The German professor Gernot Minke, who experimented with earthen architecture…Continue reading at Off The Grid News: How To Build An Off-Grid Home From Dirt