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Special Issue "Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 August 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Ruifeng (Ray) Liang (Website)

Constructed Facilities Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
Fax: +1 304 293 4139
Interests: advanced fiberglass composites; natural composites; rammed earth; environmental sustainability; life-cycle assessment; green building; sustainable infrastructure

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue comprises selected papers from the Hakka Tulou Forum 2011: Structures of Sustainability - International Workshop on Rammed Earth Materials and Sustainable Structures, that took place as a special session at the International Symposium on Innovation and Sustainability of Structures in Civil Engineering (ISISS*2011) from October 28 to 31, 2011, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China. Rammed earth is both a construction material and technique with favorable life cycle impact on the planet Earth, yet there are challenges to implement rammed earth technologies in modern constructions. The World Heritage Hakka rammed earth buildings, i.e. Fujian Tulou of China, serve as a prime example of what rammed earth construction can offer and demonstrate how the sustainability of Hakka village architecture built hundreds of years ago and still in use today, bridge the past, present and future, with exemplary lessons for our modern world. These papers highlighting the state-of-the-art of rammed earth material and construction technologies, will surely play multifold roles in building a sustainable 21st century; including helping make the engineering community aware of the advantages of rammed earth construction and promoting new research opportunities that can further advance our knowledge on the rammed earth material for modern construction.

Dr. Ruifeng (Ray) Liang
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • earth architecture
  • contemporary rammed earth construction
  • environmental sustainability
  • structural stability
  • green building
  • Hakka Tulou
  • housing infrastructure
  • round houses

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication History Made for Tomorrow: Hakka Tulou
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4908-4919; doi:10.3390/su5114908
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 7 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 14 November 2013
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Abstract
The documentary film, History Made for Tomorrow: Hakka Tulou was an October 2010 release by History Channel International. This film is an in-depth study on the green building techniques and sustainable lifestyle of the Hakka people of Southern China with a focus [...] Read more.
The documentary film, History Made for Tomorrow: Hakka Tulou was an October 2010 release by History Channel International. This film is an in-depth study on the green building techniques and sustainable lifestyle of the Hakka people of Southern China with a focus on the ancient Tulou rammed earth structures. The television program follows West Virginia University research professor, Ruifeng Liang, as he initiates scientific studies to back claims that the rammed earth Tulou structures are “the greenest buildings in the world”, and Canadian architect, Jorg Ostrowski, of Autonomous Sustainable Housing Inc., who has been researching the ecological footprint of Hakka communities since August 2007, to promote them as “eco-villages” of best practices for planet Earth’s sustainability. The author is credited as Director, Writer, and Producer of this film. This paper is based on the script of the production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle A Report of Contemporary Rammed Earth Construction and Research in North America
Sustainability 2013, 5(2), 400-416; doi:10.3390/su5020400
Received: 1 January 2013 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 18 January 2013 / Published: 29 January 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2365 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Contemporary stabilized rammed earth (SRE) draws upon traditional rammed earth (RE) methods and materials, often incorporating reinforcing steel and rigid insulation, enhancing the structural and energy performance of the walls while satisfying building codes. SRE structures are typically engineered by licensed Structural [...] Read more.
Contemporary stabilized rammed earth (SRE) draws upon traditional rammed earth (RE) methods and materials, often incorporating reinforcing steel and rigid insulation, enhancing the structural and energy performance of the walls while satisfying building codes. SRE structures are typically engineered by licensed Structural Engineers using the Concrete Building Code or the Masonry Building Code. The construction process of SRE creates structural walls of relatively high compressive strength appropriate for a broad range of heating and cooling climates. The incorporation of rigid insulation creates a high mass interior wythe that is thermally separated from the exterior, resulting in improved thermal performance. Modular aluminum reinforced formwork allows walls to be built without the use of through ties, common in concrete construction. The North American Rammed Earth Builders Association (NAREBA) collaborated with Unisol Engineering Ltd. and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) on a battery of tests to obtain preliminary data to be used in support of engineering design. The tests included compressive strength comparisons, pull out rebar testing of both horizontally and vertically placed steel, simple beam tests, and the deflection of two composite wall columns with an insulation core and two types of reinforcing steel connections between the RE wythes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Nondestructive Evaluation of Historic Hakka Rammed Earth Structures
Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 298-315; doi:10.3390/su5010298
Received: 4 December 2012 / Revised: 10 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 January 2013 / Published: 21 January 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The in-service Hakka rammed earth buildings, in the Fujian Province of China, are unique in design and performance. Their UNESCO’s inscription as World Heritage sites recognizes their artistic, cultural, social and historic significance. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United [...] Read more.
The in-service Hakka rammed earth buildings, in the Fujian Province of China, are unique in design and performance. Their UNESCO’s inscription as World Heritage sites recognizes their artistic, cultural, social and historic significance. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United States, the authors have examined the engineering values of these buildings in terms of comfortable living at low energy consumption, sustainability and durability. The objective of this study was to better understand the thermo-mechanical and aging responses of Hakka earth buildings under thermal and earthquake loads through nondestructive field evaluation, including full-scale roof truss and floor testing, laboratory testing of field samples and finite element modeling. This paper presents our observations and findings from the field nondestructive evaluations with emphasis on the integrity of the rammed earth outer walls and inner wood structures, as well as the thermal comfort of living in these buildings, while a second paper presents the results from the material characterization of field samples and the structural responses of a representative building under earthquake induced loads through finite element analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle The Genes of Tulou: A Study on the Preservation and Sustainable Development of Tulou
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3377-3386; doi:10.3390/su4123377
Received: 19 October 2012 / Revised: 28 November 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 18 December 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1798 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyzes the formation of Tulou villages and the characteristics of Tulou buildings. The genes of the Tulou are examined within the unique physical forms and the significant social culture background. The paper is concerned with how to apply the valuable [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the formation of Tulou villages and the characteristics of Tulou buildings. The genes of the Tulou are examined within the unique physical forms and the significant social culture background. The paper is concerned with how to apply the valuable genes in the preservation and sustainable development of Tulou with a special case analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Heaven and Earth—Sustaining Elements in Hakka Tulou
Sustainability 2012, 4(11), 2795-2802; doi:10.3390/su4112795
Received: 19 August 2012 / Revised: 15 October 2012 / Accepted: 16 October 2012 / Published: 24 October 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hakka culture reveals how the ancient Chinese lived. Hakka architecture yields much evidence that modern Hakka culture of the south flows from the ancient stream of the north. The genius of the Hakka is best seen in the unique roundhouses of the [...] Read more.
Hakka culture reveals how the ancient Chinese lived. Hakka architecture yields much evidence that modern Hakka culture of the south flows from the ancient stream of the north. The genius of the Hakka is best seen in the unique roundhouses of the mountainous borderland of three provinces—Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi. However, in completing the fourth of five migrations, the Hakka returned to the traditional building styles of the northern plains of China and built Wufenglou on the plains of southern Guangdong province. The structures not only facilitate environmental sustainability, but endow the inhabitants with material, social and spiritual sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle A Preliminary Environmental Assessment for the Preservation and Restoration of Fujian Hakka Tulou Complexes
Sustainability 2012, 4(11), 2803-2817; doi:10.3390/su4112803
Received: 26 July 2012 / Revised: 2 October 2012 / Accepted: 9 October 2012 / Published: 24 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1288 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2007 and 2009, research trips were taken, mainly in the Fujian province of China, to investigate the construction materials, methods, structures and floor plans of Hakka Tulou. Researchers lived in several Tulou, interviewed residents and experienced traditional Hakka lifestyle. Typically, Tulou [...] Read more.
In 2007 and 2009, research trips were taken, mainly in the Fujian province of China, to investigate the construction materials, methods, structures and floor plans of Hakka Tulou. Researchers lived in several Tulou, interviewed residents and experienced traditional Hakka lifestyle. Typically, Tulou are located in remote regions at relatively high elevations in climatic conditions characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and with high incidents of typhoons and earthquakes. The extent of damage and level of preservation were examined with respect to the age of many of these structures, the relatively harsh environment, and changing demographics in the region. The majority of occupants are now elderly. They maintain a traditional and efficient lifestyle utilizing minimum electricity, water, and energy. This study discusses the findings from these two field trips and assesses environmental load and sustainability within the context of current environmental standards using the Japanese Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE) from data collected at Cheng Qi Lou. The goal was: firstly to undertake a preliminary environmental assessment to determine sustainable elements of Hakka Tulou construction methods; secondly, to identify potential sustainable solutions to preserve existing structure; and finally, to identify appropriate sustainable solutions to repair and retrofit damaged and underutilized structures to modern living standards, while retaining traditional building techniques and lifestyle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Experimental Study of Cement Mortar-Steel Fiber Reinforced Rammed Earth Wall
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2630-2638; doi:10.3390/su4102630
Received: 16 July 2012 / Revised: 6 August 2012 / Accepted: 17 August 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
PDF Full-text (328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rammed earth construction is an ancient technique which has recently attracted renewed interest throughout the world. Although rammed earth is currently regarded as a promising material in the construction industry in the context of sustainable development, it is difficult to quantify its [...] Read more.
Rammed earth construction is an ancient technique which has recently attracted renewed interest throughout the world. Although rammed earth is currently regarded as a promising material in the construction industry in the context of sustainable development, it is difficult to quantify its bearing capacity, mechanical performance, as well as retrofitting approach, which discourages people from large-scale application in architectural engineering. This paper is devoted to the study of these problems based on rammed earth wall model experimentation. Three different models are studied considering different material components as well as structural configurations. By measuring the strain and deformation of the rammed earth wall models subjected to uniformly-distributed vertical loading, their ultimate bearing capacities are tested based on experimental investigation. Then the method of cement mortar-steel fiber reinforcement (CMSF) is carried out to study the ultimate bearing capacity enhancement of the wall models. Results show that the method of cement mortar-steel fiber reinforcement can increase the ultimate bearing capacity of the rammed earth wall models significantly, which is of relevant engineering significance in practical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Arabic and Chinese Rammed Earth Techniques in the Himalayan Region
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2650-2660; doi:10.3390/su4102650
Received: 14 August 2012 / Revised: 24 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1048 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper discusses different rammed earth construction technique in Asia. Rammed earth construction techniques from China, Indian, Nepal and Bhutan are examined. It is shown that these techniques are demonstrably different from each other, and argued that the techniques may have developed [...] Read more.
This paper discusses different rammed earth construction technique in Asia. Rammed earth construction techniques from China, Indian, Nepal and Bhutan are examined. It is shown that these techniques are demonstrably different from each other, and argued that the techniques may have developed independently. Case study structures are discussed and it is shown that with care it is possible to chart the development of both techniques both chronologically and geographically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)

Other

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Open AccessDiscussion Sustainable Technology Research and Demonstration Center for Earth Structures
Sustainability 2012, 4(10), 2639-2649; doi:10.3390/su4102639
Received: 26 July 2012 / Revised: 7 August 2012 / Accepted: 17 August 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
PDF Full-text (178 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This is a discussion paper that the authors presented at the International Workshop on Rammed Earth Materials and Sustainable Structures and Hakka Tulou Forum 2011: Structures of Sustainability, 28–31 October 2011, Xiamen University, China. A Sustainable Technology Research and Demonstration Center for Earth Structures is proposed to study, preserve, advance, promote, and implement rammed earth structures. The Center concept including the objectives, scope of activities and benefits of the proposed center are outlined. The Center for Alternative Technology in Wales, UK has been examined as a good base model along with a few successful environmental sustainability initiatives in China. The funding options to establish the proposed center have been discussed. The breadth of activities ultimately depends on funding capability. It is believed that the proposed center development will require significant government support at the initial stage but once corporate sponsorships are in place, the proposed center will potentially become self-supporting. The strategies, for the establishment of the proposed center are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World)

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