Our boundary walls had to be strong enough to enclose our property for many years to come. At 70 cm thick (the same as the exterior walls of the house), it would have taken thousands of adobe bricks to encompass our 10.5 acres, so we decided to employ the rammed earth technique. It was suggested by our maestros as a quicker method of building a wall, and would also using the stony waste that had been sifted out of our adobe brick mix.
Of course, we had to dig foundations, fill them with stone and cement and then build the stone stem walls to support the adobe walls as we had done with the house.
Ed decided to try out the technique to house our electricity meter, but he wanted to investigate the strength of using cement in the mix to perhaps avoid the need to render, possibly lime wash the walls and/or tile them on the top to protect against the rain.
He built some wooden forms strong enough to be bolted together on top of the stem walls. Earth was then mixed with cement and poured into the top of the forms where it was rammed down using a metal compactor.
This process needed to be repeated three times to reach the required height of 2 metres, and the work was hard and slow.
Although the finished result was beautiful, especially as Ed had experimented with different colours of soil, the 3 days it had taken to make this small section of wall convinced us that we should return to the traditional coarser and quicker method.
ABOUT SKY HACIENDA
June Donaldson and Edward Garry live at an altitude of 2,600 metres in Mosoj Llajta, Yotala, 20 minutes from the colonial city of Sucre in Bolivia, South America. Using earth and stones from the land, we have sculpted beautiful buildings which compliment the high desert landscape and incorporate creative and innovative elements of design.
We have designed a high quality hotel in Sucre for guests who want to get off the treadmill of travelling from city to city in South America. At Sky Hacienda you can dictate your own timing and choose how to enjoy your stay, whether it is doing very little or exploring the best that the Andes in Bolivia has to offer.