Architects’ interest in the use of mud and natural resources in the construction of buildings has gained renewed momentum recently emanating from the current interest and focus on green buildings and sustainable architecture. Popularly referred to now as Earth architecture to avoid the derogatory impressions associated with mud, building with earth has reached new heights with the introduction of a number of technologies that have transformed and elevated these practices to meet the modern day needs and challenges. This paper examines some of the new initiatives in earth architecture and how its application in urban housing shows promise and popularity. A number of earth construction practices are discussed together with other low-cost technologies that can be introduced in urban housing matching aesthetic sensibilities often demanded by the contemporary urban dwellers and their architects. Illustrated with an experimentation of the construction of a two storey town house using earth bricks in the suburbs of Colombo in Sri Lanka, it demonstrates how a combination of technologies could be adopted to initiate new ways of building which will be low in costs and kinder on the environment while providing for the comforts of the contemporary life styles. It discusses both the problems and potentials of using earth architecture in the context of social stigma, construction practices and professionalised architectural practice.
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