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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Ancient technique for modern site
An artist's vision of the Pines Calyx (Copyright Helionix Designs/Helionix Technologies 2003-05)
The roof of the Pines Calyx venue will be covered in turf
Building methods used in the construction of the Great Wall of China and Cornwall's Eden project are being applied to a new conference venue.

The Pines Calyx is located on the Dover coast in Kent, in a designated Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty.

The first storey of the building is already complete, with rammed chalk walls part of the building technique.

Builders make a cast of the walls, and then pour in chalk, which is then compacted to make a solid wall.

Rammed earth specialists say the advantage of the method is that resources do not need to be excavated and moved from elsewhere.

They add that if the building needs to be taken down, it blends back into the landscape, helping to reduce the environmental impact.

It is also better for the environment as cement production accounts for around 10% of the world's CO2 emissions.

The Pines Calyx is funded and managed by the Bay Trust, an environmental charity based in St Margaret's Bay.

Project leader Alistair Gould said: "The rammed chalk walls, traditional tiling method and planting of local species of fauna will contribute to and enhance the local environment, while providing a healthy place for conferences."

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