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Earth Architecture [Hardcover]

Ronald Rael


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Earth Architecture Earth Architecture
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Book Description

Nov. 10 2008
Dirt-as in clay, gravel, sand, silt, soil, loam, mud-is everywhere and it's free. The ground we walk on and grow crops in also just happens to be the most widely used building material on the planet. Civilizations throughout time have used it to create stable, warm, low-impact structures. The world's first skyscrapers were built of mud brick. Paul Revere, Chairman Mao, and Ronald Reagan all lived in earth houses at various points in their lives, and several of the buildings housing Donald Judd's priceless collection at the Judd Foundation in Marfa, Texas, are made of mud brick. Currently it is estimated that one half of the world's population-approximately three billion people on six continents-lives or works in buildings constructed of earth. And while the vast legacy of traditional and vernacular earthen construction has been widely discussed, little attention has been paid to the contemporary tradition of earth architecture. Author Ronald Rael, founder of Eartharchitecture.org provides a history of building with earth in the modern era, focusing particularly on projects constructed in the last few decades that use ram-med earth, mud brick, compressed earth, cob, and several other interesting techniques. Earth Architecture presents a selection of more than 40 projects that exemplify new, creative uses of the oldest building material on the planet. Rael's engaging narrative addresses the misconceptions associated with earth architecture. Many assume that it's only used for housing in poor rural areas-but there are examples of airports, embassies, hospitals, museums, and factories that are made of earth. It's also assumed that earth is a fragile, ephemeral material, while in reality some of the oldest extant buildings on the planet are made of earth. Rael also touches on many topics that pervade both architecture and popular media today, such as the ecological benefits and the politics of building with earth, particularly in developing nations where earth buildings are often thought of as pre-modern or backward. With engaging discussion and more than 300 images, Earth Architecture showcases the beauty and simplicity of one of humankind's most evolved and sophisticated building technologies.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (Nov. 10 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568987676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568987675
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 21.9 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #918,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A lesson in how one of the world's oldest and most popular building processes can be renewed in a high-tech age, lending its ancient beauty to architectural works of contemporary imagination. --The Globe and Mail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Ronald Rael is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at The University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley, he was he is the Co-Director of the The Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genova, Italy for 1.5 years and the coordinator of the Core Architecture Studios at Clemson University. During this time he was also a visiting member of the Design Faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles and began his academic career as a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ronald earned his Masters of Architecture degree at Columbia University in the City of New York where he was the recipient of the William Kinne Memorial Fellowship. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Color photos throughout display projects and emphasize earth architecture achievement April 14 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The world's first skyscrapers were built of mud brick and many famous Americans lived in earth houses at different points in their lives: this said, there have been few books on the contemporary architecture of earth houses, making EARTH ARCHITECTURE a real winner for any college-level arts collection. It surveys over forty projects and profiles the beauty of earth architecture, offering chapters covering new, creative uses of earth in buildings. Color photos throughout display projects and emphasize earth architecture achievement.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Among Architecture Books Jan. 29 2009
By Shelley S. Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In this beautifully designed and written book, eartharchitecture.org founder and professor, Ronald Rael takes a close look at modern earth architecture and how it is a harmonious material in today's world. Earth Architecture exposes some of the most well-kept secrets in modern architecture, some historical references and beautiful photography of the most contemporary buildings in the world made of mud. In continuing my own research on mud architecture, I also found Rael to be a wonderful speaker on the topic in this live interview [...] Take a listen to the last 20% of this news broadcast to hear from Rael directly. He has a knack for making people say "wow...very interesting."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book Feb. 4 2009
By Hollan H. Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is an integral part of my growing alternative architecture library. The images and text are inspiring, to say the least. Among the most attractive books on the subject currently being offered. Well written and well designed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disapointed but its my fault for not reading the reviews! May 17 2013
By Paul A. Tomlinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
3 stars for the pictures and the introduction.

The content is suited to those interested in architecture, not those intent on earth building.

Even the pictures mostly show larger elements of the building rather than details though some of the details are very interesting.

An architect probably would really like this book, but if you want to get rour hands dirty, do yourself a big favor and get "Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks and Techniques (Natural Building Series)"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More architecture than rammed earth Sept. 13 2012
By T. A. H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
More suited to those interested in architecture than earth building. The pictures mostly show larger elements of the building rather than details. Each building gets only a few pages, usually four. One page is usually text or mostly text. The text is rarely or never critical of the buildings depicted. Good for getting ideas about the potentials of earth building but not much else.

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