Rammed earth for housing – Merzouga, Morocco

In this course (2009/2010) a group project was required to learn how different materials work, and we decided to use rammed earth, not only to understand its functioning better, but also to understand a whole culture. Merzouga is a small village in Morocco, near the Algerian border, with a warm and dry weather and very few rainfalls. Due to these conditions, the city is made out of rammed earth, as mud is a good insulating material and so it is able to maintain the temperature inside the house very easily.

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The house is designed the traditional way, very similar to the mediterranean style. The rooms are located around a patio that helps with lighting and temperature regulation. Usually we find the animals on the ground floor, together with the living room and the private areas (bedrooms) on the first floor.

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The materials used are the rammed earth, to build the structural walls, and eucalyptus, wood-rolls as slab. The foundation under the walls is made out of stone. All the materials can be found in the area, so the construction is cheap and all the villages end up having the same sandy color.

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