Mud brings out the most fundamental feelings of playfulness, the joy of indulging with nature. It is universally agreed upon that architecture is considered to be the most significant attribute of the humans’ material culture. Can we then think of merging these 2 attributes together? A convergence of man and nature through one of his most basic needs – Shelter.
The Walls of Earth workshop was a hands-on experiment that embodies this convergence. It was carried out in 2 days with about 70 individuals. The result – An earthen think pod to stimulate creativity and spark innovation.
Building with earth is plentiful and collective. The whole process was designed to get everyone’s hands dirty and have fun exploring mud while understanding its positive impact on social and environmental sustainability.
Step 1 : The Structure
The structure of the think-pod was conceived to be a geodesic dome made from Bamboo. The images below show the step-wise assembly of the geodesic dome with the primary structure of bamboo, covered with bamboo mats and slats on alternate triangles.
Step 2 : Preparing the Ingredients
Preparation – Soak the fibers in water and cut them to lengths of 2 inches
Step 3 : Getting the mixture ready
Step 4 : Daubing
The bamboo panels were then enrobed in Mud. This is a traditional technique of earthen construction – wattle and daub, innovated and fit into a contemporary form. A wattle and daub structure is very similar to the human body – with the skeleton being the bamboo framework and the flesh being the mud in-fill.
This earthen think pod can be found at SJB School of architecture and Planning as it was done as part of the Annual NASA Convention 2019. Click here to see a visual time-lapse of the entire process.
Article and Illustrations by Chinmay Pathak