Rammed earth may be an ancient building material, but the modern homes that use compact earth are anything but old-fashioned. One such example is Robson Rak Architects and Interior Designers’ recently completed Layer House, a robust and elegant home in Victoria, Australia that keeps naturally cool with rammed earth walls. Made from local materials by local artisans, the rammed earth is paired with timber to create a beautiful palette that will last the test of time.
Built to last generations, the large 470-square-meter Layer House was designed with an eye for detail and quality. The home derives its name from the intersecting zones and private vistas created from an asymmetrical layout that wraps around a series of courtyards.
Rammed earth and timber are the two main building materials in the Layer House. The architects write: “The sand component of the rammed earth is locally sourced and built by local artisans. Rammed earth is a sustainable, honest, and efficient building material that requires no maintenance and ages gracefully. The timber will be allowed to grey off and age with time.” A few vibrant pops of color, such as the green tiled island bench and blue sofa, provide contrast to the pale color palette.
The low-maintenance rammed earth walls provide a thermal mass for passive cooling in summer and heating in winter. Energy efficiency is further improved with double glazed and thermally broken aluminum doors and windows. Louvers control the flow of cross ventilation, while hydronic heating is embedded into the concrete floors.
Images © Shannon McGrath