Tuesday, November 17


The above pictures of a neighbour’s mud brick house, a common site where I live here in Eltham, Melbourne, home to mud brick building in Australia. ‘Muddies” as that are called became popular in the mid fifties when Eltham was a remote small community and their champion was Alistair Knox.

"It is axiomatic that mud bricks will be a fundamental element in the alternative social structure today,'' he wrote.

"The material itself is free. It costs a man his physical labour only, which is the same for both rich and poor. "The making can be a wholly natural activity. It has great therapeutic properties. Watching the earth dry and the varying characteristics of its physical structure, immerse us in poetic deliberations that unite our hearts, heads and hands.

Click here to read his story.

Using mud bricks as building materials is relatively straightforward; homes are generally cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Apart from ensuring they have slightly longer eaves, mud brick homes don’t require any special maintenance and will outlast those constructed of more conventional materials.

To day there are small pockets of homes in the older areas where most of the homes are made from mud bricks. If you’re interested in modern designs click here for pictures.


Tom said...

A most interesting article. And buildings with the ubiquitous, (anti-termite?), corrugated roofs. A relaxing read after recent events.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Tom
Glad to hear my post provided some interesting and relaxing reading. Termites here are an endemic problem in virtually all forms of design and construction. Various preventative methods are used such as ensuring buildings are slightly elevated from the ground and or have metal barriers in place to prevent any invasion. You only need one tiny entry point, usually facilitated by moisture such as poor drainage, for an outbreak to reap havoc, so it is considered good practice to have regular inspections. Early detection and treatment can be the key in combatting an invasion before it takes hold. Best wishes

Learnto Sing said...

I love mudbrick houses! I also love Earthship building. Might be a bit way out for you but this guy has been building houses out of trash and earth for 35 years. Amazing designs. Great documentary! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVX2wdDH19Y

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Learn to sing
I watched almost the entire documentary and found it quite fascinating. I think I may have seen many snippets of this over the years, but this architect’s life work now opens up sustainable home building for everyone.
It has always puzzled me why home building has not advanced to be more sustainable but the bureaucratic blockers he experienced to experimentation and evolution point to the underlying reasons.
Best wishes

susan said...

It's a shame building codes aren't more open to alternate building plans. Rammed earth houses are similar to 'muddies' and make more sense than wood frame houses.
Best wishes, Lindsay.

Learnto Sing said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the documentary. I admire his persistence in getting through the various blocks he encountered. Yes I always wondered that also but this documentary sheds some light.

Learnto Sing said...

P.S saw the version on Linked In. Looked good!

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
I agree, and as you’re possibly aware, the technique is not that much different to what was practiced for thousands of years previous and is still evident in construction in pockets scattered throughout the world.
Some of the more prominent examples nearby are evident in buildings still used today at Montsalvat, which was established as an artists’ colony in 1934.
Best wishes