In organic construction the walls must take their share of the loads. They must work continuously with the structure on all four of their sides; and act to resist shear and bending, and take loads in compression.


Build the wall as a membrane which connects the columns and door frames and windows’ frames and is, at least in part, continuous with them. To build the wall, first put up an inner and an outer membrane, which can function as a finished surface; then pour the fill into the wall.

… according to Efficient Structure (206) and Final Column Distribution (213), the wall is a compressive loadbearing membrane, “stretched” between adjacent columns and continuous with them, the columns themselves placed at frequent intervals to act as stiffeners. The intervals vary from floor to floor, according to column height; and the wall thickness (membrane thickness) varies in a similar fashion. If the column stiffeners are already in place according to Box Columns (216), this pattern describes the way to stretch the membrane from column to column to form the walls.

Remember that in a stiffened wall, the membranes can be much thinner than you might expect, because the stiffeners prevent buckling. In some cases they can be as thin as two inches in a one story building, three inches at the bottom of a two-story building and so on - see Final Column Distribution (213).

Membranes can be made from hollow tile, lightweight concrete block, plywood, gypboard, wood planks, or any other sheet type material which would make a nice surface, which is easy to nail into, comfortable to touch, and so on. If the inner sheet is gypsum board, it can be finished with a skim coat of plaster - Soft Inside Walls (235). The outer sheet can be made of 1 inch boards, tongue and grooved; or exterior grade plywood; or exterior board hung with tile, shingles, or plastered - Lapped Outside Walls (234). It is also possible to build the outer skin of brick or tile: in this case, columns must be of the same material - Soft Tile and Brick (248)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 1023medium-confidence