Earth is the material we live on, but we hardly think about its value...Every year tons of unpolluted earth in the Netherlands end up in landfills.With this project, we would like you to elevate the value of raw earth andshow its potential as an extremely sustainable construction material and analternative to processed materials.
Raw earth used as a building material does not require heavy processing butonly a relevant composition of the soil, water and time reserved for dryingto obtain high-quality construction.
Since it is not treated with any additives, the earthen material can be reusedan infinite amount of times after dismantling or it can just simply crumbleapart at the end of the building’s lifetime, without leaving traces on the environment.
With local partners, we resourced earth from the project area.Fine sand that was dug up in Hilversum South at 2 metres depth. Coarse sand from the same location was dug at 3 metres depth. Sandy loam comes from Hilversum North close to the heather. The clay originates from Almere. With a compressed earth block press, we tested recipes of different earthmixtures to create stable earth blocks. With the strength of our muscles, weproduced 182 blocks on-site. Half of them were made of pure local soil; theother half was stabilized with 4% lime to compare their performance andweathering process.
Over time, purposely unprotected against weather, earthen blocks willdecompose reuniting with the landscape they originate from. The impact offast-growing vegetation and animals will escalate the erosion process.This installation will not leave any pollution in the long run and this shouldbe our goal for all future buildings.
Grounding is a metaphor for recreating a balance between the built environment and the natural world.