Variations in Earth

BC architects and valerie_traan gallery invited 8 designers, artists and architects to explore the different qualities and potentials of earth. They delve into this story and search for the essence of the material together with local craftsmen.

Habitat is defined as the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism. Rammed earth as a construction technique allows you to inhabit this material by transforming locally available resources such as earth, chalk, lime, or gravel into solid volumes to create shelters. Earth, soil, is also an environment itself providing the opportunity, space, and nutrients for growth and development of plants, an essential food source. It can therefore be used to create both shelters as well as objects that can nourish and sustain life.

A vessel to grow food
Made out of rammed earth, a pot is not only a recipient that holds the seed, it is made out of the compound that provides the necessary elements for the seed to grow. On the outside, the earth is tightly packed to maintain its shape and volume. On the inside, the earth is left loose for the seed to grow freely. Once used, the pot can be broken into its original crushed form and returned to the garden.

A container to ferment food
Food fermentation enriches the diet through development of a diversity of flavors and textures, preserves substantial amounts of food over time, enriches food substrates with protein, amino acids, and vitamins, eliminates antinutrients, and reduces cooking time and the associated use of fuel. This sealed rammed earth pot creates a suitable environment for the fermentation process of plants, vegetables and fruits, preserving them and enhancing your meal with sweet, sour and vinegary tastes. 

A place to cook food
Preparing food with heat or fire is an activity unique to humans. Cooking prevents many foodborne illnesses by killing or inactivating harmful organisms. It also increases the digestibility of many foods. The rammed earth oven allows you to make bread as well as slow cook any meal in a simple iron pot. The form work used to mould the chamber is simply burnt in place, generating the first fire that will take place within. 

A surface to serve food
Eating food is a necessary act for simple survival. As social animals, a meal is often an occasion for social interactions. These large serving plates made of rammed earth and sealed with lime allow you to share food with your family and friends.

A meal
The expansion of agriculture, commerce, trade, and transportation between civilizations in different regions offered cooks many new ingredients. Using all the rammed earth objects, we have created a simple vegan meal with preparations made out of local seasonal ingredients with added Indian spices and cooking methods. Keeping in mind the contemporary concerns of health, diet, and sustainability, this meal is the culinary expression of inhabitation.

Invited designers & architects + makers :
Assemble (UK)
Case Design (IN) + Aardig Gedacht (BE)
Destroyers/Builders (BE)
Elise Eeraerts (BE) + Grond-studio (BE)
Sarah El Yousefy (BE), David Hoppenbrouwers (BE), Elise Laurent (BE),
Kenneth Smet (BE) and Anna Zan (PL) + BC materials (BE)
OS_Studio (BE) + Het Leemniscaat (BE)
Unfold (BE)
Invited Photographers :
Thomas Noceto (FR) and Cinzia Romanin (BE)

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