The construction of earth buildings has been taking place worldwide for centuries. With the improved energy efficiency, high level of structural integrity and aesthetically pleasing finishes achieved in modern earth construction, it is now one of the leading choices for sustainable, low-energy building. Modern earth buildings provides an essential exploration of the materials and techniques key to the design, development and construction of such buildings.

Beginning with an overview of modern earth building, part one provides an introduction to design and construction issues including insulation, occupant comfort and building codes. Part two goes on to investigate materials for earth buildings, before building technologies are explored in part three including construction techniques for earth buildings. Modern earth structural engineering is the focus of part four, including the creation of earth masonry structures, use of structural steel elements and design of natural disaster-resistant earth buildings. Finally, part five of Modern earth buildings explores the application of modern earth construction through international case studies.

With its distinguished editors and international team of expert contributors, Modern earth buildings is a key reference work for all low-impact building engineers, architects and designers, along with academics in this field.

Key Features

  • Provides an essential exploration of the materials and techniques key to the design, development and construction of modern earth buildings
  • Comprehensively discusses design and construction issues, materials for earth buildings, construction techniques and modern earth structural engineering, among other topics
  • Examines the application of modern earth construction through international case studies


Low-impact building engineers and building physicists; architects and low-energy building designers and design consultants; academics in engineering.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction to modern earth buildings: Overview of modern earth building; Hygrothermal behaviour and occupant comfort in modern earth buildings; Fabric insulation, thermal bridging and acoustics in modern earth buildings; Modern earth building codes, standards and normative development; Passive house design: A benchmark for thermal mass fabric. Part 2 Earth materials engineering and earth construction: Soil materials for earth construction: Properties, classification and suitability testing; Alternative and recycled materials for earth construction; Soil mechanics and earthen construction: Strength and mechanical behaviour; Soil stabilisation and earth construction: Materials, properties, and techniques; Integral admixtures and surface treatments for modern earth buildings; Weathering and durability of earthen materials and structures. Part 3 Earth building technologies and earth construction techniques: History of earth building techniques; Stabilised soil blocks for structural masonry in earth construction; Modern rammed earth construction techniques; Pneumatically impacted stabilized earth (PISE) construction techniques; Conservation of historic earth buildings. Part 4 Modern earth structural engineering: Earth masonry structures: Arches, vaults and domes; Structural steel elements within stabilised rammed earth (SRE) walling; Natural disasters and earth buildings: Resistant design and construction; Embankments and earthfill dams: Construction materials and techniques. Part 5 Application of modern earth construction: International case studies: North American modern earth construction; Australasian modern earth construction; European modern earth construction; Modern rammed earth construction in China.


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© 2012
Woodhead Publishing
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About the editors

Matthew Hall

Dr Matthew R. Hall is a Lecturer in civil engineering materials at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is an award winning researcher, noted for his work in the fields of thermo-physical properties and heat and mass transport in porous materials.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Nottingham, UK

R Lindsay

Rick Lindsay is the Managing Director of Earth Structures Pty Ltd, Australia.

Affiliations and Expertise

Earth Structures Pty Ltd, Australia

M Krayenhoff

Meror Krayenhoff is the founder of SIREWALL Inc, Canada.

Affiliations and Expertise

SIREWALL Inc, Canada


Long overdue as a resource and instantly useable by knowledge professionals., Keith Robinson, Dialog Architecture