28 Mrz Pisé – Rammed Earth
Tradition and Potential - Roger Boltshauser
In times when resources are scarce we turn back to old often forgotten methods and materials. Rammed Earth or Pisé, as they call it in French, is one of these. Pisé has a long history in Europe, especially in Switzerland, Germany, and France as an architectural material. In the 18th century architect François Cointeraux was already imagining a building method of prefabricated rammed earth blocks. He emphasised the favorable properties in terms of indoor climate, excellent fireproofing and local availability. The goal was to enable people to build their own homes with simple and very cheap means. But then the industrial revolution happened, steel and concrete replaced traditional materials and unfortunately with that a lot of knowledge got lost. Ever since architects like Herzog & de Meuron, Wang Shu and other Pritzker Prize winners have started in recent years to use Pisé for prestigious buildings, it lost its stench of being a poor material and got back in focus. Architect Roger Boltshauser aims with the publication „Pisé – Rammed Earth Tradition and Potential“ to record the state of knowledge, make it accessible, and expand the research. From historical rammed earth structures to possibilities and potentials of the material to contemporary constructions he collected essays by historians, architects, construction engineers, and material experts as well as research projects by students of the EPFL – Lausanne.