Rebuilding Efforts in Nepal to Employ Repurposed Brick Rubble

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Earlier this year, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban announced he intends to participate in the efforts to rebuild following the devastating earthquake in Nepal. He also plans to use the brick and other rubble in these rebuilding efforts, which will kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. New housing will be provided faster, while clearing away the debris at the same time.

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Ban designed the relief housing himself, and it will be made up of a modular wooden framework, which will measure 3 feet, by 7 feet. The homes will be available for immediate occupation via the use of temporary tarps thrown over the structure. This will allow the people to continue building while already having a roof over their heads. The building will be done using rubble and other materials for the infill. Once the structure is completed, the walls will be mortared with locally available materials. A cardboard tube truss system, connected with wooden pieces will be used to support the roof.

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In designing the relief housing, Ban familiarized himself with traditional Nepalese methods of building. He implemented this research in the design of the homes’ operable window frames. Ban and his team have already built the prototype of this home in Japan, and plan to start the rebuilding efforts in Nepal soon. As for their long-term plan, they also plan on starting to build new permanent homes using the architect’s existing prefabricated housing designs, which he created for use in the Philippines.

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Repurposing rubble to build new homes is a great idea from many standpoints, both environmental and humanitarian. Apart from speeding up the building of relief housing, the ability to construct their own homes with doubtlessly also empower those worst affected by the tragedy.

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Innovative Woven Shelter Made From Sun Absorbent Fabric

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Canadian/Jordanian designer Abeer Seikaly came up with an innovative design for disaster relief housing which was inspired by temporary huts of nomadic desert tribes. The shelters Seikaly proposes would be woven into existence, a process based on ancient traditions of the desert peoples. These shelters would also be able to draw all the power needed from the sun.

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Building these tiny houses involves weaving together linear fibers into complex three-dimensional shapes. The entire structure is basically a system composed of durable plastic threaded to form a singular unit. The flexible envelope of the tent is folded over a central axis. The latter is hollow, and acts a lot like a conventional stud wall, since it allows water and electricity to run through it. The structure is also very well ventilated and provides ample light when opened up. It can also be huddled down during the winter to prevent heat loss.

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Solar energy can be used to heat the structure and the water, as well as provide electricity. The outer skin of the shelter is made from a material capable of absorbing solar energy, which is then converted into energy and stored in batteries. Appliances can be plugged into the battery via an AC plug. Water, on the other hand, is heated by passing through tubes that are in direct contact with the solar absorbent material. Heat generated by the sun is moved to the tubes where it heats the water by conduction. The heated water is then collected in a storage tank, to which it rises through a thermosiphoning system. The shelters are also equipped with a drainage system, which ensures that the structure is not flooded.

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This design is definitely one of the best temporary housing ideas, as it provides all the necessities for decent living in a single, self-reliant package. Since the structure is basically a tent, it could also become the abode of choice for anyone who enjoys going camping. In fact, sale of these to adventurous and earth-conscious individuals could help fund their deployment in areas ravaged by war and natural disasters.

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