Volunteers “Barn-Raise” a Low Carbon School in Bangladesh | Home Design Find

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Volunteers “Barn-Raise” a Low Carbon School in Bangladesh

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The METI school was a barn-raising effort accomplished in just four months by local craftsmen, teachers, parents and students from Bangladesh. It won the Aga Khan award for architecture. Two European architects helped local craftsmen build on the traditional skills and materials, while refining the processes and learning new techniques to improve the safety and durability of the regional construction technology.

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At just $22,835 for an entire school, they could not improve on its very low cost, however! Communal “barn-raising” is a low cost construction technology that we in the West need to relearn.

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And the low carbon locomotive power of oxen sure beats that of the fossil-fueled Ford pick-ups used to haul the construction materials for western building sites.
But the two architects bought their skills to bear on this project. Eike Roswag of Roswag & Jankowski Architects was formerly of ZRS Architects, which specializes in planning and building a variety of earth building projects for durability. Anna Heringer is project manager at BASE – habitat/architektur konzepte.

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The region traditionally used a very wet earth mix in its earth construction. But Heringer and Roswag helped them improve both the strength and the comfort level inside the structure with a brick foundation and by adding a damp-proofing course at the base.

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Traditionally jute rope is used for for lashing construction in the region. By starting this higher up; only after the more solid earth foundation is in, the strength and stability is improved.

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The second floor is airy, allowing breezes to pass through. Thick earth walls assure a comfortable climate on the ground floor.
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The school uses the traditional local materials; bamboo, earth and straw to create a environmentally sustainable building, but the construction techniques were changed so load bearing was incorporated better.
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The result: a school building that creates beautiful, meaningful and humane collective spaces for learning which enrich the lives of the children it serves. And the school will now be safe in the event of an earthquake.

Source: Design Boom

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