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The inspiration for the construction of a bench made of unfired rammed earth derives from the concrete formwork in the striking Depot Basel space. Its goal is to provide a contemporary response to what is Basel’s first reinforced concrete building, constructed in 1912. The form of the round seating arrangement is intended to promote relaxed group exchanges. The natural rammed earth used for RCB can be ground down at any juncture without any loss of its material properties, and then reshaped into a new form.

Clay and wood are the world’s oldest building materials, increasingly applied nowadays in modern architecture. A specially balanced mixture of clay, sand, gravel and a small amount of lime allow rammed earth to be used as a construction material. The reverse mould of the bench is stripped away layer by layer, allowing the clay to optimally solidify.

The form was developed in situ using the simplest of means and then modified. The key design issue was the dead weight of the material, making load distribution and the ideal material mixture crucial. Additional ribs are situated at the end of the quarter circle to improve stability and to allow multiple segments to be joined to form a group bench. 

Invitation to design and realise the basic furnishing of the Depot Basel

Rammed earth