La Terre House, Surrey, South England, Surrey, modern concept building, English estate, architecture displays
September 17, 2023
Design: Dhaus company
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Shows: AVR London
La Terre House, southern England
the earth It is a new built one-off house at AONB in Surrey, southern England. The four-bedroom house has a raised ground floor, 0.5m above the lawn, like the Farnsworth House or other case study houses of the 1940s and 1950s where the architecture appears weightless and floating.
Particular attention has been paid to the idea of elevated living, and accessible steps raise the structure and form sculptural elements. These sculpted steps meander in and out of the living areas like a river of programs.
Poured concrete footings form the foundation of the stable earth walls, preventing erosion and providing an expressed structural reference around the perimeter of the building.
Two large Japanese garden atriums allow entry into the circulation spaces so that one feels as if one is walking outside in the landscape when moving throughout the house.
Planning has been approved and we look forward to starting construction summer 2023.
The ground was shocked
Earth is one of the oldest building materials in the world, and most ancient civilizations used it in some form. They were readily available, cheap, powerful, and required only simple technology.
In Egypt, the granaries of the Ramesseum Temple built in mud brick in 1300 BC still exist; The Great Wall of China contains sections built in rammed earth more than 2,000 years ago. Iran, India, Nepal and Yemen all have examples of ancient cities and large buildings built with various forms of earthen construction.
It is noteworthy that the oldest surviving examples of this form of construction are found in the driest regions of the world. The strength of unstable earth walls comes from the bonding effect of dried clay. If this becomes wet, strength will be lost and the wall will actually erode or even fail completely. Different countries have different approaches to this problem.
Stabilized Rammed Earth is a modern development of one of the oldest building materials known to man. Modern technology, modern machinery and 30 years of development have created a wall material that is attractive, environmentally beneficial and complies with European building regulations.
Stabilized rammed earth can have the look of cut stone, the strength of concrete, and the weather resistance of brick. However it is environmentally superior to any of these things. Stabilized Rammed Earth was initially developed to compete with brick in low-cost housing, and is now used by:
Government agencies seeking environmentally friendly construction methods
Architects are looking for the latest attractive materials
Customers who want overall energy efficiency
In England there is ample evidence of the use of earth as a building material, with around 60% of the scheduled ‘monuments and archaeological sites’ being built of earth or having earthworks associated with it. But it has come to be considered a material of limited durability, and therefore inferior to more durable materials, such as stone or baked clay brick. Thus, over the last few centuries, it has been commonly used in workers’ huts, barns and perimeter walls where cost was more important than longevity. This is evidenced by the fact that less than 2% of England’s 450,000 listed buildings are built from the ground.
The modern version of earth construction, installed to solve the long-standing problem of melting, has evolved through an interesting set of international connections. English-trained architect and engineer George Middleton worked on the Sydney Experimental Building Station in the late 1940s. Searching for ways to build low-cost housing, he experimented with earth stabilization and issued a publication from the station: “Bulletin 5, Earth Wall Construction”, which eventually became a standard reference for earth construction in Australia. In 1953 he published a book: “Build Your House on the Earth; “Erm Wall Construction Guide”, which has been reprinted several times. Middleton advised the Israelis on low-cost housing and their developments were published in “Soil Building – Its Principles and Application in Housing” in 1957 by S. Citrine.
This publication, which introduced the term stabilized rammed earth, came to the attention of architect Tom Roberts and artist Giles Hohnen in 1975 in Western Australia. Their interest in building earth walls began with a search for an aesthetic and cost-effective wall material for a new winery in Margaret River. Western Australia at that time was a ‘brick and tile’ state, and the only other option was timber frame, which was seen as a ‘low-rent’ building material, which local councils discouraged. This, combined with the 1973 OPEC oil price hike (prices quadrupled between 1973 and 1974 and rose another 150% in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution), created a period of inflation that the brick industry seemed to happily exploit.
Aside from raising prices, they could throw failed experiments in brick and tile models at country builders, and Margaret River was facing a creeping rash of what they called “tropical disease” houses in a mottled mixture of brown, cream, white, pink and yellow. Green walls and ceilings.
On the advice of Cytryn, these men made the crucial decision to use local lateritic gravel and stabilize it with a low percentage of cement (about 2-3% initially) rather than using ground with 40% clay as had previously been done in Australia. They built a shed in the stabilized rammed earth at Cape Mintel in 1976 to prove to the council the durability and strength of the material, which still stands today in its original, weather-beaten state. The following year the council approved construction of the first phase of the winery and within 10 years nearly 20% of new homes in the county were from SRE. This was the beginning of the SRE building boom in Margaret River, Western Australia, where 20% of new homes were built with this new material within a few years.
Note from customer:
”It was love at first sight; We arrived at the site and looked across the meadow. We were immersed in the tall grass, shared by birds strutting, feeding, shouting, landing and taking off everywhere. And away in the middle distance.
We were amazed when we thought that maybe we could create a beautiful new home here, we are passionate gardeners and want to preserve and enhance this beautiful piece of land,
This inspired the dream. A dream where we can create a unique and beautiful home, but more importantly, a home where we can spend the rest of our lives in the Farnham communities. We needed to build a home that suited our health needs as we grew older, but that didn’t mean it had to be boring, bland or just functional.
We recognized the challenges of climate change and the goal of improving sustainability and saw that any modernization of the existing barn would not enable it to be fit for purpose.
Instead, we passionately want to build a unique contemporary home that does full justice to this unique location, and enables us to live an enriching life, whatever our physical or mental limitations, in magnificent surroundings.
Over the past few months, we have been on a really interesting journey with a dynamic and inspiring team of architects and a team of local, national and international experts that we have brought together.
What are the features of sustainability?
La Terre uses renewable resources and passive house principles to achieve low energy consumption.
La Terre House in Surrey, southern England – building information
Architects: DHaus – https://www.thedhaus.com/
The project area is 430 square meters
The site area is 1069 square meters
Building levels 2
Photos: AVR London
La Terre House, Surrey, South England, images/information received 170923
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