Clay is one of the oldest and most used building materials in the world. There are plenty of arguments to use it, however in the modern industrialized world the material is a fairly uncommon choice (with burnt bricks as an exception). The cons for using it are that it's heavy to handle, high in labor and has a long drying time when you choose not to burn it. The pro-list is a lot longer and more convincing though:
Pros for using unburnt clay in buildings:
- Cheap (or free)
- Can be found locally (short or no transportation)
- Almost unlimited natural resource
- Low energy consumption while manufacturing
- Intuitive medium that is easy to shape
- The indoor climate is self-regulating, so the air condition is always good, and the walls can keep warmth in the winter/cold in the summer.
- No need for moisture barrier - the moist can go in and out of the wall
- No need for glue, plastics nor sealants
- Sound absorbing
- Fire retardant
- Preservative (organic materials like wood and straw gets a longer life span when surrounded by clay)
- If the house is to be knocked down the clay can either be recycled or it can just be ploughed down in the ground again.
I believe the reason for lack of modern building techniques with clay simply is that no one has made a business of it. It's a free material that you can't make a lot of money from, so it's mainly been used while self-building rather than in commercial use even though it's so environmental friendly. I think we need a new type of construction companies, that realizes the good qualities of clay building and start using it in a contemporary way. It can be found on the building site for free!
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