The Farmer, the Architect and the Scientist

The Farmer, the Architect and the Scientist from The Gaia Foundation & ABN on Vimeo.

A new film, ‘The Farmer, the Architect and the Scientist’ tells the story of a seed hero. Dr Debal Deb is a pioneering ecologist committed to working with traditional farmers in eastern India to conserve indigenous seed diversity. Over almost two decades, Debal has managed to save 920 varieties of rice, all of which he stores in community based seed banks in West Bengal and Odisha for farmers. This film follows the construction of a new seed bank premises in Odisha, a venture that provides a potent symbol of Debal’s values.

Revealing the Potential of Compressed Earth Blocks

Revealing the Potential of Compressed Earth Blocks—A Study in the Materiality of Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB): Lightness, Tactility, and Formability, by Egyptian architect Omar Rabie, documents explorations of the potential of CEB while studying at MIT, The Architectural Association and Auroville.

In these two experimental mock-ups, Rabie explored the different possibilities of bondings using one block—specifically how the shape of the single block influences the block bonding patterns in a stack bond and running bond.

This portion of a wall was built of specially formed interlocking blocks to increase friction to test how high friction masonry wall will highly resist lateral loads in comparison to walls constructed with standard blocks. In this case, the blocks are interlocked in the long direction of the wall. This experiment proved that it is possible to freely form more complex CEBs and build walls with an unusual bonds, like this strong zigzag bond.

[ Download Rabie’s entire report here. ]

International Rammed Earth Workshop

On the 7th, 8th & 9th April, 2011 again is a time when we would expect you all to participate in ‘International Rammed Earth Workshop’. Austrian resident DI Hanno Burtscher has been especially invited to pass on his knowledge of rammed earth. You can read more about him, the modules and topic at There would be different approach to earth as building material, all the people associated with building material, architects and engineers, nature enthusiasts, clay&ceramic designers, interior designers, permaculture/organic farmers & all others who love nature must come forward and utilize this opportunity to know the mother earth

Other important details:
Workshop Venue: 1 Middle Road, off Napier Road, camp, Pune
Timing: 9am to 5pm
Course Fee: Rs 5999/- 140USD for all 3 days.
Breakfast & Lunch included..

Please write to us for more details. ( visa and staying facility for international & outstation candidates can be organized separately on request)

Bharti (
Prithwe Institute of Building Biology & Ecology
Tel.: 020-26354487 / 020-26343566


The Center for Earth Architecture & Sustainable Integrated Development (CEASID) in Bangalore, India is hosting a Certificate Training Course in Earth Architecture. Details below:

Part-I (1week)
* Duration- 27th December-31st December 2010 (Mon-Fri)

*Eligibility – Open for all .

*Fees- Indian Rupees -7,500 /- plus registration.

*Training contents:(Theory + Practice + Field visits):
-Introduction to Earth Architecture & its scope.
-Soil Identification,Stabilization & Soil Tests.
-Compressed stabilized Earth Blocks(CSEB) Production & Use
-Earth Arches, Vaults & Domes(AVD)-Construction & Use
-CSEB & AVD Case Studies
-Block making
-Feild Study & site visits
-Design Studio
-Participants’ Sessions & Their work presentations.

-Training certificate & Training manual will be given at the end of the training.
-Intake:Minimum seats -10,Maximum seats -40 candidates.
– The training is very intensive and that any lecture/session missed will be detrimental to the trainee.

Part-II (1week)

* Duration- 02nd January-06th January 2011 (Sun-Thur)

*Eligibility – Open for all .

*Fees- Indian Rupees -7,500 /- plus registration.

(Theory + Practice + Field visits+ Design Studio):

-Introduction to Earth Architecture & its scope.
-Introduction to World Earth Technologies:
-1.Extruded Technology
-2.Daubed Technology
-3.Poured Technology
-4.Formed Technology
-5.Projected Earth Technology
-6.Hybrid Technology
-7.Papercrete Technology
-8.Dug Out Technology
-9.Covered Technology
-10.Filled In Technology
-11.Cut Technology
-12.Compressed & Rammed Technology.
-13.Shaped Technology
-14.Stacked Technology
-15.Moulded Technology
-Earthquake resistant earth construction
-Earth Fast & Movable Construction
-Case studies
-Feild Study & site visits
-Design Studios
-Participants’ Sessions & Their work presentations.

-Training certificate & Training manual will be given at the end of the training.
-Intake:Minimum seats -10,Maximum seats -40 candidates.
– The training is very intensive and that any lecture/session missed will be detrimental to the trainee.

*For Registration please Contact-
Ar.Mrs.Shubha Shukla
(Founder & Director CEASID,Bangalore,India)
Ph – 09620878423

Mud Brick Industry In India

Approximately 58% of all buildings in India are mud brick and a growing construction boom in India, coupled the inability for peasants to support themselves by farming is luring residents from the country side into the brick making business. However, hand made mud bricks are now often dried and fired in inefficient coal fueled kilns that make the work dangerous and pollute the environment consuming 200 tons of coal for every million bricks they produce. NY Times

Photo by J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times

Laurie Baker, 1917-2007


Lawrence Wilfred “Laurie” Baker (March 2, 1917 – April 1, 2007) was an award-winning English architect, renowned for his initiatives in low-cost housing by using traditional techniques, materials and crafts such as mud and thatch. He went to India in 1945 in part as a missionary and since then lived and worked in India for over 50 years. He obtained Indian citizenship in 1989 and resided in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala. In 1990, the Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri, the nation’s fourth highest civilian award, in recognition of his meritorious service in the field of architecture.

“You can’t get more sustainable or renewable a resource than mud, and Baker is its champion. Approximately 58 percent of all buildings in India today are made of mud brick, some as many as 50 to 100 years old. Mud is gathered either at the construction site or very nearby, formed into bricks and dried in the sun. It is readily available and can be made by people with limited initial training—all resulting in projects that can be built at a fraction of the cost of those using concrete and steel. Baker is especially fond of mud’s total recycle-ability: simply add water and reuse it.”
– Farewell Laurie Baker

Links: Of Mud and Men: Architecture as a Political Act | Of Architectural Truths and Lies | Laurie Baker’s Creative Journey | Mud: Laurie Baker

2007 International Symposium on Earthen Structures

The 2007 International Symposium on Earthen Structures will take place August 22-24, 2007 in Bangalore, India. The conference is jointly organized by the Department of Civil Engineering and Center for Sustainable Technologies at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath, U.K. and the Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de L’Etate, Lyon, France. Form more information, download the conference brief.

Auroville Building Center

The Auroville Earth Institute (AEI) was founded by the Government of India in 1989. The AEI aims to research, develop, promote and transfer earth-based technologies, which are cost and energy effective. These technologies are disseminated through training courses, seminars, workshops, publications and consultancy within and outside India. The main expertise is with Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB), but they also promote manual rammed earth and other earth based technologies