AR Awards for Emerging Architecture

Highly commended


Experimental house

Tsukuba, Japan

December 2006
The principles of rammed earth construction, perhaps the oldest form of building, are reinterpreted in this intriguing project for an experimental house. Tokyo-based Loco Architects won a national Japanese competition for a concept house which aims to impinge as little as possible on the environment. When the house becomes redundant, its rammed earth walls can simply be demolished and returned to the ground.
The material to construct the house is generated by site excavation and preparation. A series of tightly packed earth walls define and enclose a loose arrangement of interconnected spaces. The tapering profiles of the walls form a new topography, as if the land has been cut and fashioned by forces of nature. In reality, an array of rollers, rammers and concrete mixers were used to make and shape the walls. Raw steel sheets, more commonly used for providing grip for trucks on construction sites, were employed as a roofing material.
The outcome is delightfully primitive, like an archaeological excavation revealing ancient burial mounds, and it would take some effort for it to be properly habitable.
But in some ways, that is not the point. Japan’s stringent Building Code currently prohibits the use of rammed earth as construction material, so this eye-catching prototype is intended to demonstrate its evident potential.

Loco Architects, Tokyo
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