Rammed earth dwellings in Australia by Luigi Rosselli


In Australia, the architect Luigi Rosselli created a colony of 12 dwellings buried in a small hill, using adobe walls.
The icon of the unusual project designed by architect Luigi Rosselli is a wall 230 meters long. This wall, in fact, is the backbone that supports the embankment of a construction that was – literally – built into a small hill in the bush of Northwest Australia. Looking at the photographs, one could easily be mistaken as the back wall appears to be made of reinforced concrete. The technology chosen by the designer was in fact that of clay. The architect Luigi Rosselli designed the wall with a thickness of 45 cm and characterized by a jagged shape, thus ensuring a certain privacy between the apartments.
The construction technique used foresees the use of only 10% Portland cement, against 90% ferrous earth which is found in great abundance in this part of Australia. A small percentage of fine gravel has also been added to this mixture, taken from a nearby flowing river. Finally, the whole thing was linked with a small percentage of water which triggered the chemical reaction of the cement, used to improve compression and bind the elements. The overall efficiency of the material obtained depends a lot on its compactness, i.e. water must be present in really minimal quantities, in order to avoid annoying internal material discontinuities and to ensure optimum mechanical resistance. .
In addition, the project also aimed to ensure excellent thermal performance of buildings. In fact, the guiding idea was to avoid the use of sheet metal, a classic Australian building material, as the strong sun typical of this region tends to heat them under its rays. Instead, the sand dune – which serves as a roof for homes – improves the thermal gradient with considerable energy savings, in this case reused for other purposes.

Fabrice Orsini

Site: Northwest Australia
Designer architect: Luigi Rosselli
Project architects: Kristina Sahlestrom, Edward Birch, David Mitchell
Interior decorator: Sarah Foletta
Manufacturer: Jaxon Construction
Rammed earth contractor: Murchison Stabilized Earth Pty Ltd
Structural consultant: Francois Pritchard
Environmental consultant: Floyd energy
Landscaping: Landscaper Tim Davies
Photography: Edward Birch
Photo credits : © Edouard Bouleau

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