The Home Builder's Manual of Mud Brick Design and Construction, The Problem

The Problem

Author: Alistair Knox

The majority of 'Do It Yourself' books concerning building mud brick homes are so general in nature that they often do little to bridge the gap between the desire to build and the ability to satisfactorily complete the projected structure.

The essential requirement in a true earth building is to know the What, the Where and the Why of the problem as well as the how.

Generally speaking, building is a very simple affair. It is just a matter of putting one thing on top of another. The difficulty that arises is Why you put What Where. Case studies of individual buildings may clarify the procedure to some extent but they mostly provide subjective rather than objective answers that are hard to relate to other sites and needs.

Persons concerned with building in mud brick in order to affect a change of lifestyle today are searching for inspiration and confidence that involves issues of national dimensions and acceptance. The vision of a new way of living. may twinkle in their hearts and minds like the evening star, but it is out there in space and they appear powerless to get any closer to it. The simplest explanation of this dilemma is that they fail to grasp a few rudimentary factors that separate creative earth building from the uncouth mud hut. Size and cost are not the answer. They only succeed in expanding one mud brick monster into an ever larger one. What is missing is the voice of authority that can proclaim that Earth Wall building is not just a retrograde substitute for the time honoured mediums of stone, brick and timber. It is a modern revival of the oldest of all building methods which is now achieving a sense of style, flexibility, character and beauty that can make it equal if not superior to any other medium in the present rapidly changing opportunities confronting today's world.

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