Long ago, rammed earth construction — the process of pouring soil into wooden forms, then compacting it under great pressure — was used to construct the Alhambra in Spain and parts of the Great Wall of China. Today, designer Eric Haskins employs the technique to create chairs that foster both community and architectural education. Since producing his first Rammed Earth Chair using pneumatic tools, he has collaborated with a University of New Mexico professor and his architecture students to build subsequent editions by hand. Each year, the class determines the seat’s colours and pattern, stirs wheelbarrows filled with soil and mineral oxide concrete colourants and compacts the final mixture over five hours using tampers. To achieve the chair’s flat seating surface, each one is formed upside down, with a salvaged piece of steel rebar inserted to facilitate its eventual flip. The finished product is then donated to a local public space, where its natural materials will slowly and sustainably return to the earth over the decades ahead.
Project Rammed Earth Chair Designer Eric Haskins Design, U.S.