UEL Construction Fortnight – Week 2

A week in the life of UEL MArch Architecture students as we collaborate to experiment with rammed stone walls.

This week we are on site building sample wall panels and testing their appearance and weathering…


Monday – 03/10/22

UEL’s MArch students were invited by Studio Bark to their testing grounds in Herefordshire where the week ahead will allow the students to begin constructing formwork as well as the Rammed Stone walls.


The previous week’s investigation allowed for students to determine which rammed stone mix would be appropriate for 1:1 construction.


For most of the day, we mixed the first batches of aggregates and clay, compacting them in layers within the formwork for the first unstabilised wall test panel. This happened on the ground using tarpulins, shovels and rakes to see the consistency of the whole mix.

Tuesday – 04/10/22

An intense day of Rammed Stone experimentation was carried out as students decided which mix ratio was best to begin using lime within their second Rammed Stone wall. This would allow for the rammed mixture to be stronger and more resistant to erosion.


A composite wall was built, using the lime-stabilised mix around the external edges and corners – infilling it with the unstabilised mix to reduce the embodied carbon of the wall. This was a Spanish technique known as ‘Calicascado’.


The formwork was later removed from the first experiment, leaving a compact unstabilised Rammed Stone wall.

Wednesday – 05/10/22

After the previous successes of Rammed Stone experimentation, students became more aware as to the capabilities of the Rammed Stone walls as well as the appropriate mix ratios required. A lime coat mixture was made and applied to the wall samples to observe the aesthetic finish and its durability over time.


A decision to use the Rammed Stone internally within the build up led to experiments with the external finish.  A design task was set to the student using larger offcuts of the local stone, experimenting with how it could be laid as part of the wider building and landscape design.


Thursday – 06/10/22

After 24 hours, another layer of lime wash was applied to the walls to see the variation in intensity and texture against the rammed stone.


As a final experiment after a productive few days, rammed stone floors were explored. The students made their own formwork into which various different natural binders could be tested.


The wet mix was laid upon the larger aggregate acting as a hardcore and smoothed over. Using materials on hand, both sheep’s wool and straw were incorporated into the rammed mix.

Friday – 07/10/22

Once the camp was packed away, only the rammed stone walls remained to be left to weather over the coming months.


It was time to say goodbye!

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