Bamboo reinforced earth walls
• Rammed earth walls generally have low earthquake resistance, but with bamboo reinforcements this problem can be overcome.
• The examples on the following pages (taken from Bibl. 22.09) show traditional methods, generally known as wattle and daub (or "bajareque" in Latinamerica), and an innovative construction developed by Prof. Gernot Minke of Kassel College of Technology (Federal Republic of Germany) and implemented in a village in Guatemala (in cooperation with the University Francisco Marroquin and CEMAT, Guatemala).
• The traditional examples can also be built with low quality timbers, but bamboo provides straight components (for uniform constructions) and higher tensile strengths.
• The example from Guatemala combines the advantages of rammed earth construction (high density walls) and tensile strength of bamboo. The walls comprise a number of independent vertical sections, which are held together at the top by a bamboo ring beam. During an earthquake each section can respond to seismic forces individually, thus avoiding differential stresses within the whole wall, which can subsequently collapse. The roof rests on timber supports which are structurally separated from the walls, so that any wall movements will not cause to roof to collapse.
• Treatment of the bamboo is essential to avoid biological destruction.
Experimental low-cost earthquake resistant house in Guatemala (top: Bibl. 22.09; bottom: Bibl. 22.05)
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