Hello! I have looked (well, perused, really) this forum for anything that covers this subject, but didnt find anything (yet).. So here I am, making a whole brand new post!
In the near future, say within 5-10 years, I hope to build me a home. Yay! I want it to be earth bermed/sheltered. I like the look, I like the integration with the surrounding area, and lets face it, I like the idea of living in a hobbit home. But it comes with a whole slew of complications. Earth berming is not good insulation. It mediates the exterior environment, so that is a plus, though. It also presents structural difficulties, which I hope to over come. So here is my question to you fine folks:
I want to build a foundation and a basement, with walls that hold back all the weight of the earth and the water it contains, without using concrete. Can anyone provide any suggestions? Ideally this would be the solution to my above grade portions that are earth sheltered, too.
The short answer - gabion walls. Check Google images. They lead to a thousand links. A blurb about their use in foundations will be presented by me very soon. Search gabion in this forum as well. Also try rubble trench, dry stone foundation and urbanite. All lead to good information.
I think we need to know what type of soil and climate you're dealing with. Do you have rock or gravel on site ? Are you simply trying to support the building or do you want to create a basement ?
Is your site naturally well drained or will drainage need to be created ?
The pictures of the rammed earth foundation in India illistrate what can be done when soil contains enough clay for that. If I dug similar trenches at my place, the sides would collapse in gravelly spots and boulders would completely halt the process. No amount of ramming would produce the desired results. Depth of winter freezing matters for me but won't even register with the Indian crew.
Different conditions --- Different building technology
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