Jack and Mike Henry approached our firm, Weatherby-Reynolds-Fritson Engineering and Design, to provide them with a design and all applicable engineering and construction documents to construct a rammed earth home. The primary challenge was to develop a plan to integrate the home within the site taking advantage of its southern exposure, all the while incorporating the age-old construction process of rammed earth utilizing modern-day technology.
Principal Engineer, Kevin Fritson, designed a long, open, narrow floor plan to utilize the principles of passive solar design and to take advantage of the surrounding views. Exterior window and door locations were situated with respect to their positions within rammed earth wall panels to minimize varying panel set-up widths and maximize views and solar benefits. A concrete bond beam was incorporated to provide a structural and visual tie linking the tops of all the wall panels and to distribute the loads transferred to the earth wall panels. The roof structure was developed using a combination of conventional pre-manufactured roof trusses and stick framing in conjunction with steel beams where required.
The resulting Henry Residence is a blend of an old-world process and new-world technology which rests softly on the land while respecting its precious resources, all the while providing a healthy and comforting abode. WRF received a 2007 CELSOC (Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California) Engineering Excellence Award for this project.