Compressed soil, also known as rammed earth, is a method of construction that dates back centuries.
UBC Okanagan engineering professor Sumi Siddiqua, who has been researching the resurgence in rammed earth, says conventional cement is still the go-to for modern engineers.
"Conventional cement construction is the principle building material for buildings, roads, pipelines and bridges around the world," says Siddiqua.
"But builders today are seeking cheaper and more environmentally responsible construction materials.
Soil can be used in many ways, explains Siddiqui, including rammed earth walls, earth bricks and compressed earth blocks.
In 2014, nearly 40 per cent of the world's population still lived or worked in structures using soil as a construction material.