part of a seminar outcome at Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg


Marko Liepelt, Sveon Schröder, Ronja Soopan


prof. Valentina Karga


David Presley Moritz, together with students from HfBK



Made as a part of prof. Valentina Karga's seminar Art and Design in Times of Climate Change at HfBK Finkenau Garden.

As the world is changing rapidly with its environmental catastrophes, we focused at sustainable examples of art and design, ecological and socially engaged practices in the seminar. The rammed earth infrastructure was part of a practical project, that took place at the university garden. Our aim was to make the garden a shared room for students to meet and spend time in, while focusing on the natural environment already there. Thus the place transformed into a common planting garden, together with an insect hotel and the rammed earth sitting infrastructure.

The rammed earth infrastructure was a practical introduction to sustainable building materials. Most of the buildings nowadays are built from concrete, even though it is a terrible material from the ecological point of view – the production of concrete makes up 4-6% of the world's CO2 emissions. Even though the material is very durable, especially when combined with steel, its decomposition process is extremely slow which together with its many other negative qualities impacts our environment and the crisis we are in already.

Rammed earth is an ancient construction technique that is being used all over the world. The material is a mixture of sand, gravel, clay and in some cases also stabiliser (which could be a small amount of cement, but also casein, animal blood, lime, urine and vegetable oil have been used in the history). Stabilizer increases the strength of soil and makes it more resistant towards water – so the finished build is more durable. While the main advantages of building with earth is sustainability (also being able to reuse the material after its life span is over), the use of a synthetic stabiliser contradicts this.

At Finkenau Garden, we decided to build an arc infrastructure that could serve as a central hangout place – both seating and standing. The design was made by a group of three, while the actual building process involved 20+ students in a 3-day workshop, led by David Presley Moritz. The infrastructure was finished by ceramic tiles (made by another group in the seminar), to protect the wall from direct rainfall.