News

The Electric Car Evolution


February 2016

We know a super intrepid, lovely lady who has been helping build her own electric car. Paul’s sister is a school teacher in the South Island, but has also studied in Antarctica and crams her time with skiing, mountaineering and the like. Hearing about her new project piqued our interest again in this industry – possibly a leap in sustainability and eco-friendliness was nearer than we thought.

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Leaking Homes are Actually Rotting Homes - the problem with over insulating.


February 2016

J Hardie Suit Grows
 
This has been a long time coming and something of particular interest to Terra Firma. The quality of building materials is definitely in question but it also alludes to our theory that it’s a mistake to be putting more and more insulation into our homes.


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Natural Light in Your Home


December 2015

With many of us going from our homes, to our cars (or public transport), straight into our workplaces, only to return at the end of our day back into our cars and returning to home there is a great emphasis, for our health to be letting in more light. More sunshine, more time in the fresh air, more time outdoors - light, light, light. As Kiwis we all know we run a fine balance between soaking up enough rays for our health and running the risks of sunburn but as soon as people start to look at a house build one of things they commonly ask for is lots of light.
 
This, on a number of levels is not so ideal for your family or your home. What people associate with “lots of light” is a dry, warm home, free of dampness and chill – these are easily mitigated in a rammed earth (RE) home. But let’s look at a few reasons why the management of light into a home is an important part of our design process.

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Rammed Limestone


December 2015

Extremely heavy and therefore relatively expensive Limestone has been used throughout history for some of our most prestigious buildings and monuments . Anything that we wanted to portray quality, integrity and magnificence. Banks, mansions, parliamentary buildings and churches, even the Great Pyramid of Giza* **
 
One of the things that Paul came back with from Western Australia with was their wide use of rammed limestone and it’s great colour – from warm creams to almost bright whites.

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First International Rammed Earth Conference


November 2015

Earlier this year Paul was invited to the first International Rammed Earth Conference a the university of Western Australia. The range of speakers were incredible - from engineers, architects, researchers, academic specialists...from China, India, New Zealand, Australia, the US...it was a brilliant event.

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Element Article (NZ Herald)


February 2014

I was recently interviewed by Helen Twose of Element magazine regarding our work, []

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A Redwood

December 2013  

I have recently, in the last week before Christmas, returned from the East Cape with two of my sons. The opportunity for this scenic road trip came about through an invite to be a part of the felling of an exotic Redwood, []

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Our Auckland Homeshow Experience

On September 23, 2013 

A big thank you to all of you who stopped by our stall at the Auckland Home Show last week to rave about our beautiful and robust homes, or to ask further questions comparing pricing to other forms of building and wanting to know more about the physical properties of rammed earth.

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NZ Grown Redwood for Windows & Doors

On January 19, 2013

Timber joinery has been a significant feature in our rammed earth homes. Of the approximately 80 earth homes that I’ve built, only 2 of these dwellings have used materials other than timber for their doors and windows. Typically 3 different timbers are used in our exterior joinery []

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International Award for Rammed earth design

On October 11, 2012

A home designed by Richard Naish of architecture firm RTA Studio has won a significant award at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore. The “C3 House” won the Future Projects – House Category. This award signifies the acknowledgement and acceptance globally of rammed earth as an important construction material for []

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100 Year Flood at Cambridge Rammed earth Home

On October 10, 2012

Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object  It was with considerable alarm and some amazement when I heard of the flooding of one of the rammed earth homes we built nearly 20yrs ago. There is no easy way to put this, but there was also a touch of vindication – []

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Licensed Building Practitioner

On May 10, 2012

Paul Geraets is now a Licensed Building Practitioner for Design area of practice 2 – for category 1 and 2 buildings. Category 1 buildings are single household dwellings with low- or medium-risk envelope design. Category 2 buildings are single household dwellings with high-risk envelope design, or other []

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Design Compromise and the Path Toward Public Exposure and Acceptance

On March 21, 2012

One of the first homes that I was asked to build, under an ‘eco-friendly’ banner, called for naturally durable non-treated timber and locally sourced materials. This was a home designed by a Building Biologist and to be located near Hamilton around 23 years ago. The design also []

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Natural Parent Magazine Article

On March 8, 2012

This article regarding rammed earth and our work is well researched and beautifully written. Click on the link to open the PDF. Natural Parent Article issue 5 []

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Soils For Auckland Region

On December 13, 2011

Over the past few months we have been testing new soils, the intention is to find a more viable resource suitable for rammed earth in the Auckland region. I now feel confident that we have found a soil that fits the bill. The recent tests we have conducted for []

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Design prep for the new home buyer

On November 14, 2011

In my role as an architectural designer I am often approached by people who are building their home for the first time, this usually means they are also having a go at designing their dream home for the first time. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed []

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Rammed Earth Floors

On November 4, 2011

Rammed Earth is hailed as the most environmentally friendly building material available today. The principle that you can build a structure from readily available resources on site – earth and clay, is an obvious way to cover the environmental impact of your new build. As New Zealand’s []

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