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David Easton

Napa, CA

David Easton began his career as an inventor of earth building technologies in 1954, in the soil of his father’s orange grove in Anaheim, California. The thick adobe walls of the California missions and the cool interiors of the low ranch houses of the early California land grant families were his introduction to the architecture of earth.

Enrolled at Stanford in 1966, he studied engineering and architecture, graduating in 1970 with a degree from the product design department, the forerunner of Stanford’s famous D school. In 1975 he purchased 130 acres of Douglas fir and red clay in the Sierra Foothills to experiment with alternative earth construction methods.

In 1978, David Easton founded Rammed Earth Works and began to fashion the foundations of what would become the modern rammed earth movement. Today Rammed Earth Works is a consulting and artisan construction firm specializing in the technologies and formulations of stabilized earth across the globe. David is the author of the definitive book on Rammed Earth and numerous articles and presentations. He is the inventor of the California forming system for rammed earth, now in use on five continents, and of the PISE method of high-pressure air installation for monolithic earth walls. His engineering approach to stabilized earth construction resulted in the first building permits issued in seismic zone 4, and his dedication to low-tech construction solutions has contributed to the global renaissance of rammed earth. In 2009 he co-founded Watershed Materials LLC with Joe Dahmen, a specialist in sustainable building technology and Jose Munoz, a materials science expert. Watershed Materials is a research and development company focused on technologies for manufacturing low carbon structural earth masonry units. At Watershed he and his team have invented the vertical shaft high shear mixer and the dynamic compression block production line.

David has been involved in the design, permitting, and construction of over three hundred stabilized earth residential and commercial projects. His client list includes Fetzer Vineyards, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Long Meadow Ranch Winery, the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, Disney Worldwide Services, River Ranch Farmworker Housing, Camp Arroyo Environmental Education Center, the Rukinga Garment Factory in Kenya, Tim Mondavi, Barry Schuler, Al Merck, and Mike Korchinsky.

He has lectured at Stanford, MIT, CAL Berkeley, UC Davis, University of Oregon, SCIARC, SFIA, University of West Australia, University of Auckland, University of British Colombia, and the College of Architecture Grenoble. He has conducted training programs in Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Kenya, Canada and the US, and has introduced the concept of earth masonry units to the design team at Masdar City, United Arab Emirates.

David is currently consulting with Sostenica (Sustainable Development Fund of Nicaragua) on a 30-unit affordable housing “pocket neighborhood” cooperative in Nicaragua using earth block and other sustainable technologies.