Rammed Earth Courtyards Residence| By Studio Khaaki |Bahria Phase VIII


Rammed Earth Courtyard House

Type Residential
Location Bahria Phase VIII  –Rawalpindi Pakistan
Architecture Design Firm

Studio Khaaki

Design Team Ar. Zoona Jerral

Ar. Syed Saqib Shah

Courtyard homes were the urban housing model of South Asia for centuries. And these were the result of structural and building evolution of thousands of years of building homes in this kind of climate and topography. Therefore they are the building type that is most suitable for the climatic as well as social context of the region.
As new towns and cities spring up they unfortunately follow a western more alien model of suburban homes which is neither suitable for our climate nor our cultural context of family living. We have hence tried to reintroduce modern urban courtyard housing for more resilient South Asian cities.
The building is based on a concrete framed structure, according to earthquake resistance bye laws of Islamabad, and then infilled with rammed earth walls. The wall thickness is a minimum of 15 inches for providing enough thermal mass for climate comfort.

The courtyard effect created with the pool and vegetation in the courtyard is accentuated by giving large windows towards the courtyard to bring in cool air and ventilators on the outer walls to let warm air escape from there. In this way a convection current is maintained during the day time.

Floor Plans 


Rammed earth

Rammed earth is a sustainable way of construction buildings .  Rammed earth walls are constructed by ramming a mixture of selected aggregates including gravel ,sand,slit and a small amount of clay into place between panes called formwork .

Its a technique for constructing foundation ,floors and walls using natural raw material .

its an ancient method that has been revived recently as a sustainable building material. 

Rammed earth is simple to manufacture . It is non combustible, thermally massive , strong and durable . However structures such as walls can be laborious to construct.

Its environmentally friendly and sustainable way of construction as the construction uses local available material . It generated very little  waste .

The soils used are typically subsoil low in clay between 5 % and 15 % which conserve the top soil for agriculture . When the soil excavated for foundation can be used for construction the transpiration costs are minimum saving energy  and time as well .



Rammed earth is probably the least environmentally damaging  construction material and technique that is readily and commercially available. Also formwork is removable and can be reused reducing the need for lumber .

A vernacular green building material as well as in more recent ECO House rammed earth is an ancient form of construction usally associated with arid areas .

Rammed earth construction may also reduce the ecological impacts of deforestation and the toxicity of artificial materials associated with conventional construction techniques .

Most of the energy is only required in quarrying the raw material.

The color of the rammed earth walls is determined by the earth and aggregate used . The ramming process proceeds layer by layer and can introduce the appearance of horizontal stratification to the walls which can enhance overall appearance .



Rammed earth is very strong in compression and be used for multistory load bearing construction . Research in new Zealand indicates that monolithic earth walls perform better under earthquake conditions than walls made of separate bricks or blocks . A five storey hotel in Queensland is built to stabilized rammed earth . Rammed earth can be engineered to achieve reasonably high strengths and be reinforced in similar manner to concrete although horizontal reinforcement is not recommended and excessive vertical reinforcement can cause cracking problems .



Rammed earth acts as a heavy weight masonry with a very high thermal mass . Basically theramll mass absorbs or slows down the heat transnfer through a material and then releases the same heat when ambiance temperature goes down.

Some times it is required to insulate the walls  to limit energy consumption .

It is more effective when the difference between day and night outdoor temperature is at least 6 degree celsius . If used correctly thermal mass of rammed earth can delay heat flow through the building envelope by as much as 10 to 12 hours and can even out daily temperature variations . It is not recommended in tropical regions where thermal mass can hold too much and cause thermal discomfort.


Sound Insulation

Its a best solutiin for soudn insualtion . it has excellent sound reverbearation chareateristic and dot generate the harsh echoes .

Durability and Moisture Resistance

The basic technology has been around for thousands of yeas and there are many rammed earth buildings still standing that are centuries old . rammed earth does possess a  generally high durability but all types of rammed earth walls are porous by nature and need protection from driving rain and long term exposure to moisture .


Manufacturing rammed earth involves compressing damp mixture of earth that has suitable proportions of sand,gravel clay or an added stabilizer into an extremely supported frame or mold forming either a solid wall or individual blocks . To add variety some modern builders also add colored oxides or other materials such as bottles , tires or piece of timber .

The construction of an entire wall begins with a temporary frame ,denominated the formwork which is usually made of wood or plywood as a mold for the desired shape and dimensions of each section of wall . The form must be durable and well braced, and the two opposing faces must be clamped together to prevent bulging or deformation caused by the large compressing forces.

he material is compressed iteratively, in batches or courses, so as to gradually erect the wall up to the top of the formwork. Tamping was historically manual with a long ramming pole, and was very laborious, but modern construction can be made less so by employing pneumatically powered tampers. After a wall is complete, it is sufficiently strong to immediately remove the formwork.

Construction is optimally done in warm weather so that the walls can dry and harden.

In modern variations of the technique, rammed-earth walls are constructed on top of conventional footings or a reinforced concrete slab base. Where blocks made of rammed earth are used, they are generally stacked like regular blocks and are bonded together with a thin mud slurry instead of cement.

Presently more than 30% of the world’s population uses earth as a building material


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