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re: GSBN:SB in India
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<HTML><BODY BGCOLOR=#FFFFFF>Dear Vivek Chris and others,
You remembered correctly (Chris), Footmade bales. Coralie and I built a small SB cabin in
Tamil Nadu (south India) early 2000 combining SB with local traditional materials for the
roofing. The Bishop Herber college built 2 SB houses in Trichi (also Tamil Nadu).
We published them on our website <A HREF=http://www.la-maison-en-paille.com. >www.la-maison-en-paille.com. </A>Don't let the french in the
URL put you off, the site is in English.
Like the email I sent to the list on making a CD-rom, (Copyright Humanity) I feel transfer of
knowledge by accessible means is a biggy! (see website)
About the technical part of our project in India I would like to refer our website. What we
tried to do is show the volunteers how SB construction can be done. And leave an example
that could be tested by time. It is a post and beam structure. The granite posts are on the
outside and we created as much overhang as we could. Mud plaster inside and out.
Traditional Keetu (palm leaf) roof.
The roof (which was contracted) was maybe 10 time more expensive than the rest, but this
included a balcony (for sleeping outside during the hot season) and a loft that is bigger than
the downstairs space as the pillars that carry it are outside the SB walls.
Personally I feel vaults are a good way to go since they allow for a cheap and well insulated
roof. But I have no practical experience building SB vaults YET!
We made the bales ourselves since there are no balers in South India and I believe this is a
viable option, when we consider the price of local labor to the cost of the materials and the
speed of SB wallraising.
And as you can see on the website, kids can do it too. They make the same quality bales as
grown ups. I don't mean to put children to work, but you might know, SB construction is a
group thing, and hardly feels like work if it is done well.
HUDCO is a semi governmental organization that is quite active (millions of houses per year),
creating so called Building Centers that help teaching alternative techniques to the local
population. Some of there work is amazing, some of it is not. But in principle they have a
good set up to disseminate
<FONT COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FACE="Times New Roman"> </FONT>
<FONT COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FACE="Times New Roman"> the alternative technologies. It's just that there is so much work to
Country fired bricks and lots of cement creating uncomfortable buildings is what is mostly
happening in the parts of India that I've visited. And rapid loss of its building tradition which,
like so often is very natural and beautiful and often more comfortable but offers less status.
Those cement blocks are ovens as they collect the suns heat for months! And in the colder
region they are very costly to keep warm.
Coralie and I stayed 6 months in India, mostly in Auroville, The commune in Tamil Nadu,
close to Pondicherry where we built the house.
I also participated in a trade fair in Delhi (with Satprem from Auroville Building Center)
where we build a small house out of Compressed Earth Blocks. I participated in several
seminars while I was in Delhi.
I got to learn a lot on the Indian situation. But I don't claim to be an expert on India. The
country is much to big and complex for that. Like so many travelers who have visited India, it
has stolen our hearts and it is our dream to return to help disseminate SB building technology.
This is why I will participate in the BWB training in October in the US. I hope this can be a
stepping stone towards SB work in India in a well organized and sensitive structure like is
happening in Mongolia and China.
To cut a long story short, we'd love to help people help themselves and we know the need
for housing in India is big.
Anyway, have a look at the website and feel free to ask any questions.
With warm greetings,
<FONT COLOR="#0000FF" SIZE=3 FACE="Times New Roman">
<FONT COLOR="#000000" SIZE=3 FACE="Times New Roman">
> ** Original Subject: GSBN:SB in India
> ** Original Sender: Chris Magwood <<A HREF=mailto:email@example.com>>firstname.lastname@example.org></A>
> ** Original Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 18:08:31 +0200
> ** Original Message follows...
> Hello people.
> I recently got a request about information about bale building in India. I
> seem to remember at some point hearing about a project there (were they
> making their own bales using human foot-power?). Anyway, I've offered Vivek
> any help I can give, but there are probably others who are better suited to
> answer her questions. Her original message follows:
> Delivered-To: <A HREF=mailto:cmagwood@...: >cmagwood@...: </A>"Vivek Metta" <<A HREF=mailto:email@example.com>>firstname.lastname@example.org></A>
> From: "Vivek Metta" <<A HREF=mailto:email@example.com>>firstname.lastname@example.org></A>
> To: "Chris Magwood" <<A HREF=mailto:email@example.com>>firstname.lastname@example.org></A>
> Subject: Low cost housing
> Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 12:09:56 +0530
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> X-Priority: 3
> Thank you Chris,
> I am a project consultant dealing in Food Processing/Information
> Technology/Process Automation/Power Generation Projects. I am personally
> associated with community development projects undertaken by some Non
> Governmental Agencies in our area.
> Have you ever visited India? If not, soon you should. I foresee to your
> visit to our place.
> Recently, as you know, an earthquake devastated western part of India where
> concrete houses collapsed and killed the inhabitants. In such regions, your
> research may help people build safe houses.
> In some regions in our country environment comes last where resources are
> very low. People adopt low cost housing out of necessity than for any other
> reason. I have great expectations from your research.
> I will check your website first and then respond with my queries.
> Please add me to you mailing list and post me whatever notes/papers you
> exchange on this subject.
> Vivek Metta
> Vice President
> Global Finpro Consulting
> 17-18 Commercial Complex,
> Nehru Nagar (East), Bhilai 490001, INDIA
> Tel. +91 788 436537, 436392
> Fax +91 788 358392
> Email: <A HREF=mailto:finpro@...
> Always mark a cc to <A HREF=mailto:metta@...
> Chris Magwood / Camel's Back Straw Bale Construction
> <A HREF=http://www.mwsolutions.com/straw
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send email to
<A HREF=mailto:GSBN@...>GSBN@...with HELP in the SUBJECT line.
>** --------- End Original Message ----------- **
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André & Coralie de Bouter
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