March 2018


«Architecton: proceedings of higher education» № 41 March 2013

Theory of architecture

Smirnova Svetlana N.

PhD. (Architecture), Associate Professor,
Chair of Building Design,
Volga State University of Technology,
Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, e-mail: smirnovskie_ns@mail.ru



Earth and its derivatives (clay, sand, and soil) is one of the oldest building materials on the planet. According to the contemporary classification, ecological architecture is represented by the following categories: bioclimatic, healthy, energy efficient, intelligent, and sustainable. One of the concepts of sustainable building, a building from neutral building materials, promotes earth structures. The use of earth as a building material has many advantages, the most important ones being wide availability and low cost, as well as good heat-insulating properties. The author considers examples from the history of residential earth buildings suggesting certain conclusions with regard to such properties of earth constructions as environmental safety, durability, strength, etc. It is instructive that the oldest of the earth houses in Jericho have been existence for about 9000 years. The article briefly describes the turning points in the 20th century history of earth buildings, placing emphasis on the development of ecological architecture in Russia. Currently, earth architecture may be classified into above-ground and embedded buildings. The latter is known in its three formats: atrium house, in-hill house, and underground house. On-grade buildings may be classified by method of construction into rammed earth, adobe, super-adobe, and Geokar (peat blocks) structures. In conclusion, the author comments on the role of earth house in energy conservation and the possibility of constructing an ecological and economical residential building with earth.


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Key words: ecological architecture, history earthen houses, embedded house, above-ground earth house

Russian text of this article

ISSN 1990-4126  Registration MCM el. № ФС 77-70832 of 30.08.2017 © USUAA, 2004-2017  © Architecton, 2004-2017