Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios constructs sandbag igloo
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios constructs sandbag igloo

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios constructs sandbag igloo

From Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios website:

“Thirty architects and staff completed a sandbag igloo in a field alongside the river Avon at Batheaston, finishing on 26 June 2009.

The sandbag structure is a test bed exercise for a project we are working on in Namibia, supporting the work of a remote research station and local communities. The plan was to devise a method of constructing buildings to provide further accommodation for the Gobabeb Centre and also help with housing; the method can be easily replicated by the local people, using the abundant stocks of sand available to them.

“People there house themselves with whatever building materials they can find,” explained architect Nicola du Pisanie, “so some of their homes are in a pretty bad state, with flimsy walls and roofs offering little protection against the harsh climate. We’re hoping to demonstrate that you can build solid buildings which provide cool shelter in very high temperatures, taking advantage of the natural material to be found out there.”

FCBS worked with Stonewood Builders Ltd on this testbed pavilion. Stonewood donated the materials and labour. Advice and labour ‘sweat and equity’ also came from Bath based engineers Buro Happold and Bath University.”

2 thoughts on “Sandhenge”

  1. I’d love to hear from the architects, engineers, or builders involved how this project worked out and whether the building is still standing. Would Feilden Clegg Bradley consider earthbag for a different project? Did anyone get a chance to talk with the Namibians and find out whether there are any sources of clay in the region (5% is a small amount…).

    On a recent project I thought I’d really like building with sand until I tried it. It’s much harder to make neat corners and edges of openings. I ended up adding gravel to the bottoms of bags at these locations. I also wonder whether using a single course of stabilized sand or gravel every 4- 6 courses would increase stiffness enough to make sand bags stable for full walls in flooded areas. Cement stucco with reinforcing mesh can turn a sandbag wall into a type of stress skin panel, but it’s really rather questionable if there’ll be some structural problems before you get a skin on it.

    Fill that contains some clay can make earthbags that are so much more moldable (and more stable). Anyone building sand bag walls should realize that earthbag filled with a standard fill that contains even 5% clay can be so much easier to work with as well as more resilient and stronger.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.