“Design consults Nature to give presence to the elements…In the elements the joint inspires ornament, its celebration. The detail is the adoration of Nature.”
- Louis Kahn
Earthen construction is one of the most inherently sustainable construction methods. Yet in many industrialized nations, building with soil has become marginal – largely due to a shroud of mystery concealing the process of transforming the soil; this is particularly true in the American Midwest. Unfortunately, restricted use comes at a time when earth architecture is needed most – to lighten our carbon footprint while rooting us to our unique place in the world. The primary obstacles preventing wider acceptance of earth architecture are primarily a lack of public awareness and professional education. The Dirt Works Studio aims to address both obstacles by educating architecture students in the design and construction of publicly accessible rammed earth structures for all to experience.
The University of Kansas Field Station invited the Dirt Works Studio to design and build a new trailhead on the McColl Nature Reserve in honor of Stan and Janet Roth, a beloved Lawrence couple. The Roth Trailhead will serve as a gateway into the Field Station, an ode to the landscape in which it rests, a gathering place for nature lovers, and an artifact that tells the land’s tale and reveals its great history recorded beneath. The design of the Roth Trailhead concentrates on a few basic tectonic elements, including a punctuated rammed earth wall proportioned on the Fibonacci sequence; a gravel path guiding visitors along the wall; and a sun-shading canopy hovering atop the wall.
STATUS: Under Construction.