Boltshauser Architekten: Rammed earth tower, Cham - best architects 22 in gold

Boltshauser Architekten

Rammed earth tower, Cham

best architects 22 in gold

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Cham, Switzerland


Kuster Frey


The brick cabin in Cham is one of the few intact hand-made brick manufactures in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and is today a listed architectural monument. In order to make the protected landscape and the site surrounding it even more accessible, the Brickworks Museum decided to build an observation tower. Roger Boltshauser developed this project in collaboration with students from the TU Munich and the ETH Zurich. The kiln tower is placed on the embankment above the former brickworks and thus achieves an excellent overview of the facility. It consists of an elongated tower, which spans a large interior space with an adjoining kiln for bricks. The solid timber ceiling creates the desired viewing platform that can be accessed via a steel spiral staircase. With its construction, the project tries to develop and demonstrate new solutions in sustainable rammed earth construction. The first innovation is the pre-stressing of the rammed earth walls to strengthen the system against earthquake loads. The earth, which can only withstand compressive loads and the tensile steel are perfectly matched. The second innovation is the integration of the timber baseplates into the wall structure. Each element has its own plate onto which it was rammed. A weatherboard is installed on the plate on site as well as rammed horizontal layers and lime to protect the clay from erosion and to illustrate the joining principle.