Innovative and ecological beacon project in Cham

Association “Ofenturm Ziegelei-Museum Cham” erect earth building

Building with earth has a long tradition in Switzerland, even if the building material has been somewhat forgotten today. On the site of the Brickworks Museum in Cham, an earth building is to be constructed that again takes up this tradition and increases awareness of this material and its use as a building material.

Since the building sector produces several million tonnes of earth as excavation material every year, which ends up in landfills, this unused potential is to be developed in the future in order to make the use of resources more environmentally friendly. This excavated material, often loam, can be used to form exterior and interior walls, floor coverings and plaster surfaces with various construction methods.

A rammed earth viewing tower

In an already planned and approved construction project, an almost nine-metre-high tower is to be built with rammed earth. The tower was developed by students from Studio Boltshauser under the supervision of guest professor Roger Boltshauser (Boltshauser Architekten AG, Zurich) at the Technical University of Munich and the ETH Zurich. The project focuses on technical innovations: For example, the wall elements made of rammed earth are prefabricated by students and assembled on the construction site. Recessed tension rods generate a static system by means of prestressing, enabling a nine-metre-high structure without any need for an intermediate floor. From the viewing platform, visitors can look over the unique nature reserve and the historical processes of brick production from clay mining to moulding and firing. As the historical kiln in the brickworks in Cham may no longer be used, a kiln for firing bricks is planned inside the rammed earth building, in addition to an impressive exhibition room.

In order to support this extension and especially to secure remaining financing, an association for the kiln tower “Ofenturm Ziegelei-Museum Cham” has been founded. Several companies such as Ineichen AG, Keller AG, Ziegelei Schumacher AG and Boltshauser Architekten AG have already supported the project or have assured their support. For the completion of the building, in addition to the 450 000 CHF in sponsorship money already collected, a further 350 000 CHF is required, for which the association is seeking support from companies, foundations and private individuals.

Lehmag AG in Brunnen, a construction company for sustainable building, has produced approx. 60 earth building elements together with students from the ETH Zurich last sommer. At present, the completion of the remaining elements during a further workshop at Lehmag AG is planned.

Roger Boltshauser, President of the Association “Ofenturm Ziegelei-Museum”, Cham/Hagendorn

Ziegelhütte Cham


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