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Earthen habitat in rural development of Western India: experiences in post-earthquake rehabilitation in Kachchh district of Gujarat
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Earthen habitat in rural development of Western India: experiences in post-earthquake rehabilitation in Kachchh district of Gujarat

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  • 1. Earthen habitat in rural development of Western India: experiences in post-earthquake rehabilitation in Kachchh district of Gujarat by Chiara Chiodero 2006 Post-graduate school ‘Habitat, Technology and Development’ Politecnico do Torino, Italy
  • 2. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION - 3 1. Kachchh district of Gujarat- 4 1.1 Geography - 4 1.2 Climate - 5 1.3 Economy - 5 1.4 Population - 5 1.5 Arts and Crafts - 6 2. Dissemination of traditional earthen habitat in Kachchh - 6 2.1 Banni region - 6 2.2 Banni climate - 7 2.3 Culture and society -7 2.4 Arts and Crafts - 8 2.5 Settlement patterns- 8 2.6 Typological features of bhunga - 10 2.7 Visited settlements - 11 3. 26 January 2001 Earthquake - 14 3.1 A region of high seismic risk - 14 3.2 January 2001 earthquake - 14 3.3 Response of local NGOs: Abhyian and Hunnar Shaala Foundation - 15 3.4 Other stakeholders of reconstruction- 16 3.5 Enhancement of earthen habitat during post-quake reconstruction - 16 3.6 Seismic problems in earthen buildings - 17 3.7 Introduction of seismic safe features in new earthen buildings- 17 4. The post-earthquake reconstruction process - 18 4.1 Intervention of post-quake reconstruction and earthen buildings - 18 4.2 Rehabilitation of Ludia village - 18 4.3 Reconstruction at Ramnagar - 20 4.4 Building a new village at Rudramata - 20 4.5 Reconstruction of Nanni Daddar village - 22 5. Earthen building technologies in Kachchh - 23 5.1 Traditional technologies - 23 5.1.1 Earth bocks - 24 5.1.2 In situ - 29 5.1.3 Wattle and daub - 29 5.2 Alternate technologies: the introduction of stabilized earth - 30 5.2.1 Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocks (SCEB) - 30 5.2.2 Stabilized Rammed Earth - 31 5.3 Wattle and daub - 33 5.4 Influence of alternate technologies on local habitat - 36 6. Social factors influencing earth building practices - 36 5.1 Earthen building from and towards self-construction practices - 37 5.2 Enhancement of earthen building through participation - 37 5.3 Interviews with residents self-builders - 37 5.4 Cultural and economical factors related to building with earth - 42 CONCLUSION - 42 PLATES - 43 REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS - 65 2
  • 3. INTRUDUCTION According to data from 2001 census, the use of earth for building is very common in India (approximately 32% of dwellings are built with mud). As could be said for any other building material used improperly, the main limitation to the implementation of earthen buildings in earthquake prone areas is linked to their fragility. Dwellings in rural as well as urban areas of India are often structurally unsafe, and are rarely repository of traditional knowledge, being rather the result of an assemblage of locally available materials. For such reasons they undergo rapid deterioration and become unsafe. Nevertheless in various parts of India it is still possible to see building practices and features that provide an optimal response both to local climatic conditions and hazards. In Gujarat, in the semi arid region of Kachchh District, a typology of earthen dwellings resisted better than others to the severe earthquake that struck the region in 2001. These circular houses, called “bhunga”, are widespread throughout the region. They have shown an optimal response to earthquake, and even in case of collapse, thanks to their structural behaviour they proved to be less dangerous to the dwellers’ safety. Bhungas differentiate from simple huts since they are an artistic expression of ancient traditions, and they have been studied with increasing interest because of their structural behaviour during earthquakes. Soon after 2001 earthquake they were proposed by various stakeholders as main housing typology for reconstruction and rehabilitation of affected villages. Reconstruction projects generally started by studying the technologies used for building bhungas (mainly mud blocks and wattle and daub) and their social acceptance. The local building technologies were in most cases updated. The new dwellings were built following a traditional model, but often using stabilized earthen blocks or stabilized rammed earth rather than unstabilized earth. To date most of settlements’ reconstruction has been completed, and the feeling of ownership of the dwellers towards their homes is expressed in various ways, among which outstanding mural decorations with fine motifs. This research includes various case studies. The analysis encompasses projects that aim at the transmission of self-construction techniques either through introduction of innovative technologies, or through reiteration of existing building techniques. For instance Nani Daddhar, a settlement located in Banni region, was rebuilt following the preexisting village layout. New dwellings are recognizable thanks to a different roof (tiles are now commonly used rather then thatch), while they also appear to perfectly merge into the landscape. A sequence of thatched and tiled roofs confirms the coexistence of old bhungas and new ones, while the mural ornamentations provide a common cultural background to both new and preexisting houses. Starting from such case studies, it was particularly interesting to foresee the potential for development of earthen dwellings in regions where they are already implemented and accepted by the inhabitants. Given the topics of this course, this research focuses on the study of a particular technology, namely earthen building. It was carried out on the light of reconstruction and development processes taking place in Kachchh region after the 26 January 2001 earthquake. 3
  • 4. 1. KACHCHH DISTRICT OF GUJARAT Location of Kachchh district in India The district with the desert regions (Great and Little Rann) indicated in dash 1.1 Geography Kachchh, the largest district of the state of Gujarat, and the second in India, covers an area of 45,612 sqKm. Its peninsular mainland is surrounded by waters which come from the Southwest to the hinterland through the various inlets of the Arabian Sea. Kachchh has become the synonym for ‘Rann’, a flat expanse of marshy lands bordering the great desert of Thar. The Rann is divided in two areas: the Mota Rann or Great Rann to the north and Nana Rann or Little Rann towards the inland to the Southeast. Until about 500 years ago, the Rann received the waters of the Indus River and of the legendary Saraswati River, and appeared at that time as a large freshwater lagoon.   Since the Indus changed its course and with the disappearance of the river Saraswati, brackish water inundate the southern portion of the Great Rann, making it marshy for most of the year, while the northern part is dry, except for some wetlands remaining throughout the year. Tides bring salt water in the ‘Great Rann of Kutch’. By crossing it the water reaches the ‘Little Rann of Kutch’ to return to the sea in the Gulf of Kachchh. The Arabian Sea surrounds the long coast of the Gulf of Kachchh. The district lies between 22° 44’11’’and 24° 41’25’’ North latitude and between 68° 09’46’’ and 71° 54’47’’ East longitude.   The Tropic of Cancer passes almost over the city of Bhuj, explaining the extreme climatic conditions in the region. The hinterland is generally flat with few hills and not very high mountains. There are not perennial rivers passing through this land, but there are many seasonal rivers. The land is fertile, although due to frequent droughts many areas remain uncultivated. During monsoon season suddenly the inland becomes green, while generally the landscape is barren and parched by the sun1 . 1 K.Natarajan Menon, Kachchh. The crown of Gujarat, ed.Basera, Bhuj, 1999 4
  • 5. 1.2 Climate In Kachchh, the rainfall is about 340 mm per annum, hence the region falls among the semi-arid areas. 73% of the land is barren, and the forest covers only 6.3% of the territory. Salinity and humidity are very high. Kachchh has a tropical monsoon climate, and generally the rainy season stretches from June to September. This region is prone to drought, hot waves, and earthquakes. The temperature ranges from 4 °C in winter to 45 °C in summer. The average wind speed is about 11 km /h, while relative humidity is about 60%2 . 1.3 Economy With agriculture and cattle breeding as main sources of livelihood, Kachchh is considered to be economically backward. The farmland is mainly located in the central part of Kachchh, between the Gulf and the Rann. Scanty agricultural produce consists mainly of several varieties of cereals. The main source of livelihood for the people living in the northern part of Kachchh is cattle breeding, and there are still some ethnic groups such as the nomadic Rabaris, Ahris and Charans who temporarily migrate with their herds in search of pasture and water. The craft sector has also unfolded from a household activity to a profitable trade. In recent decades, new activities have appeared in the region, such as mining industry. The region is also experiencing some degree of industrial development, with the introduction of various industries, among which several cement plants. Since independence, the various governments have fulfilled basic infrastructural needs in the region, such as maritime transport, roads, railways, water and electricity. A caravan of nomadic Rabari enters the village of Bhujodi   1.4 Population Kachchh population has more than doubled in the last four decades: 1961 census estimated the official population of the district to 696,440, while in 2001 the number rose to 1,583,225. 70% of the population lives in rural areas and 30% in urban areas. Literacy rate is around 50%. According to 1991 census3 75.41% of the total population of Kachchh is Hindu, 19.64% Muslim, 4.58% Jain, 0.18% Sikhs, 0.17% Christian, 0.1% Buddhist and other. The average population density is very low, with 28 persons/sqm (1991 census3). Almost 2/3 of Great and Little Rann are occupied by desert, hence the population density is actually higher. Gujarat in general and Kachchh in particular have always been a crossroad for people proceeding from disparate places. Semi-nomads and nomads from distant lands with their diverse and rich heritage continue to shape the cultural landscape of the region. Kachcch is inhabited by various religious groups with castes and sub-castes, as well as different tribes. The different communities are open to trade and maintain harmonious relations with neighbours, often influencing each other while maintaining their own cultural legacy. 2 K.Natarajan Menon, Kachchh. The crown of Gujarat, ed.Basera, Bhuj, 1999 3 Due to 2001 earthquake it was not possibile to update completely the census database in the stroken region. 5
  • 6.   1.5 Arts and Crafts The crafts of Kachchh are known throughout the world. The quality and refinement of local art go hand in hand with the variety of craftwork produced by different ethnic groups. It includes the refined embroidery typical of Kutchi art, patchwork, embroidery on leather, fabrics printed using natural pigments, such as Ajrak, Batik, Block printing, Tie and Die or ‘Bandhini ‘, and the finest woollen and cotton weaving. Other forms of craft are woodcarving, production of pottery, silver engraving, jewellery and bells production, mural decorations on earthen walls. Each of these forms of craft is structured in long and complex processes, which are deeply related to traditional aspects of local life. The introduction of some of these products in international markets has not yet completely modified their specific attributes and value. Kachchh is repository of several traditions that are still deeply rooted, which reflects in its habitat as well as in its cottage industries. Tangible and intangible heritage of the region are intimately linked. Similar to handcrafted products, in many cases also construction activities unfold according to local lifestyle and seasonal cycles. 2. DISSEMINATION OF TRADITIONAL EARTHEN HABITAT IN KACHCHH Production of printed fabrics at Ajrakphur and embroidery on leather at Rudramata.   2.1 Banni region If we look at the expanse of earthen habitat, in the area known as Banni there are several large settlements where the use of earth for building has unfolded into a fully developed technology. Having been a delta during the past, this land was very fertile before the diversion of watercourses and the progression of desertification. Banni is located on the edge of the Great Rann, and is now sparsely populated by nomadic and semi-nomadic groups mainly engaged in herding. Long periods of drought, spanning three to four years, are normal in the region4. In the 60s as an initiative to control desertification a plant was introduced by Central Government in the region, the Prosopis Juliflora, (locally known as Gando Baawal). Unfortunately the Prosopis Juliflora has proved to be a weed, which has caused severe damage to pasture land, preventing grass to grow, and adversely affecting the economy of people involved in herding. In Banni the population lives scattered among forty settlements, only few of which are large enough to be defined as villages. These settlements are commonly called Vandh5. 4 Kulbhushan e Minaski JAIN, Architecture of the indian desert, AADI center, Ahmedabad, India, 2000. 5 Vandh means fanced enclosure: the boundary of Vandhs is always defined by enclosures. 6
  • 7. Greening of the desert during monsoons Greening of the desert during   2.2 Banni climate Located in the westernmost part of India, Banni is an extremely dry region. A course of three seasons (winter from November to February, summer from March to June and monsoon between July and September) is prevalent in the region. The climate is extreme, with maximum and minimum temperatures ranging between 40° to 45°C in summer, and 2° to 10°C in winter. Rainfall is scarce, and there can be long periods of drought. The average annual rainfall varies between 300 and 400 mm. There are hardly 15 to 17 days of rain throughout the season. The climate is extremely dry; relative humidity sometimes falls below 25%. Because of storms in monsoons season and sand storms in summer, weather conditions are rarely stable. Strong winds coming from north and east prevail in winter. In summer, hot winds from Southwest and dust storms make living conditions difficult. Ecological and climatic changes in recent decades have led to perennial drought conditions in the region6 . Nowadays monsoon hits this region every three to four years. With the arrival of rain, as during this year (2006), Banni region radically changes, and along with the revitalization of nature we assist to the revival of human activities. monsoon Family in the traditional village Dhumado   2.3 Culture and society Banni region is mainly populated by Maldharis7 communities engaged in nomadic herding. They live in small settlements or ‘vandh’. In the same region various communities from different origins cohabit peacefully and such diversity represents the cultural heritage of the region8. Families are patriarchal, and family ties are the primary social structure of communities and settlements. The whole community lives in different clusters, where each cluster usually corresponds to a joint family. Sometimes the entire village consists of a joint family. The community life of desert people is simple, based on daily rituals and cooperation: men are engaged in various forms of craft and cattle farming, while women are busy with house keeping, firewood and dung collection, and embroidery in their spare time. If once the economy of these places was predominantly based on cattle breeding and pasture, in recent years livelihood patterns are changing. Because of scarcity of pastureland, due both to desertification and inappropriate human interventions for trying to prevent it9, crafts have acquired increasing importance as a mean of livelihood, and today their products are meant not only for domestic purpose but also for trade. People’s mobility has increased due to this recent shift in the economy. New profits allow the purchase of modern building materials and labor, triggering rapid changes in both habitat’s morphology and life style. 6 Apurva Amin, Banni house form: a study of the phenomenon of change, thesis, CEPT, Ahmedabad, 1996 7 Maldharis means people owning cattle. It indicates a profession, not an ethnic group 8 Apurva Amin 9 Particularly the introduction of the Prosopys Juliflora 7
  • 8.   Fabrics embroidered by women artisans at Nava Vas Village Interior wall decorations in a Bhunga at Nava Vas.     2.4 Arts and Crafts Among the traditional crafts of Banni there are woodwork and woodcarving, pottery, leather-work and walls’ decorations with earth and mirrors. Each community has developed its unique style of stitching and embroidery, which represents an important part of their cultural identity. It is said that the women of Kachchh stitch their dreams with the help of a needle10 . As if to compensate for the absence of desired nature around, they create another nature of different colors, blossoming from their imagination. The carpentry work mainly produces structural components, doors, windows and decorations. Traditional designs are carved on doors and windows, showing the style and skills of the craftsmen. Another form of craft is the decoration of walls with clay and mirrors. Harijan and Rabari women are traditionally expert in producing symbols and images, geometric designs and flowers in clay relief. Small mirrors are often mounted on these relief works: they serve to multiply the light in the interiors11 . 2.5 Settlements patterns Until some decades ago most of the villages of Banni were characterized by similar morphology. Often a village consisted of several small clusters, usually separated by vegetal fences. The cluster structure aims at the segregation of different castes or communities. In recent decades, external factors depending on the adoption of urban life styles have modified some of these settlements, while others have preserved their typical layout. In the latter, despite of plan variations, rooted vernacular patterns are still visible. A cluster usually consists of a settlement providing shelter to six to ten families, each family’s dominion being well defined by raised platforms. The cluster, the platform and the bhunga (a traditional dwelling with cylindrical earthen walls and a conical thatched roof), are morphological features typical of Banni’s villages. In most cases a strongly defined central space for community life is absent. Generally, free spaces between different bhungas belonging to the same family are used as meeting spaces, as well as for the family’s outdoor activities. It is rare that the entire community comes together. This generally happens only during festivals. Settlement units usually consist of two, three or more individual bhungas, built on a common raised platform. The platform becomes the most important element in the village12 . The platform connects the bhungas, which are never built attached but always separate. It is also a response to environmental factors: since the land in Banni is extremely flat, a few inches of rain are enough to flood the desert. The clayey soil does not allow the water to percolate; hence there is water logging for long periods. Elevated platforms protect homesteads from flooding and water logging. 10 VIJAI M.Zanzrukiya, Analysing a “sense of place” Desert Architecture of Banni, Kutch, tesis, Indubhai Perekh Scool of Architecture, Rajkot, 2000. 11 VIJAI M.Zanzrukiya 12 Kulbushan Jain, Generic form: patterns of settlements in Kutch, School of Planning, Ahmedabad, 1973. 8
  • 9. Morphology of Harijan community’s cluster in the village Ludia before the earthquake of 2001 Morphology of a unit composed of three bhungas. Source of illustrations: Vastu Shilpa Foundation     9
  • 10. Bhunga at Dhorodo. Source: K.B.Jane Bhunga a Dhorodo   Fonte: K.B.Jane   Pedlo with traditional furniture   Analogy between clothing, textiles and decorative patterns on walls and furniture 2.6 Typological features of bhungas The house unit is typically defined by the platform - otla - that is always raised above the ground, from a few centimetres up to one meter. The otla defines the domain of the home and the place for outdoor activities. On this platform rest various structures composing the household: one or more bhungas (generally up to three), circular houses with diameter ranging between 3 and 6 meters, covered by a conical thatched roof. A typical bhunga has a door and three or four small and low windows symmetrically arranged around the door. In front of the door and against the wall, lies a low platform, called pedlo, on which traditional furniture are placed: chaosar kothalo or panjaro, manje, and sanjeero. The chaosar kothalo, generally placed on the left, is plasterd with earth, and it is decorated in relief with mirrors. It can be rectangular or cylindrical, and serves as a grain-food container, while other food is placed on top of it (butter, vegetables). The manje, placed at the center, is a carved wooden furniture covered by a pile of patchworked embroidered fabrics - dhadkee - produced by the women of the house. This pile increases gradually over the years and is thoroughly covered with a piece of finely embroidered fabric called dhadkla (literally, something that covers). The dhadkla is the most valuable piece of the collection, and shall be brought in dowry from the bride. To the right of the manje there is a rectangular furniture, known as sanjero. This has a small front door and contains objects that are considered valuable, such as ornaments, as well as various items purchased in the city markets. It usually contains also items brought as dowry by the bride. Often the wall is decorated with small mirrors -amblha13- . These mirrors that decorate the walls inside the bhunga also serve to multiply the light. The design on the walls hence appears to be similar to refined embroidery on traditional textiles and garments. The analogy between clay reliefs or paintings on the walls and furniture and embroidery on traditional clothes is stunning and it is interesting how communities distinguish themselves through different decorative patterns, used both in clothing and in wall ornamentations. Next to the bhunga, but never set against it, there is usually a small rectangular building, called chowki, which presents small variations: the largest chowki are used as living spaces, and smaller as kitchens. Smaller units, about one and a half meter high, not very well shaped and devoid of roof are sometimes set against the bhunga14 . These units are used as functional spaces for storage or bathrooms15 .   Chowki and bathroom at Ramnaghar village 13 Vishavait Pandya, Journal of material culture, Vol.3, N°1, march 1998, SAGE Publications. 14 Kulbushan Jain, Architecture of the indian desert, AADI Center, Ahmedabad , India, 2000. 15 The use of spaces for bathroom remains anyways limitated because of water shortage 10  
  • 11. 2.7 Visited Settlements Bhungas built after earthquake at Nani Daddhar Ramnagar village Andhou village       Nani Daddhar Nani Daddhar, a village located 14 km from Bhirandhiara, was rebuilt after the earthquake. Along with the new bhungas made out of stabilized earth (rammed earth stabilized with cement), there are several traditional bhungas in the village, but unfortunately they lie in precarious conditions: in most cases preexisting bhungas are used as storage, and are no longer maintained. previous to earthquake at Nanni Daddhar mud blocks - or adobe - was the prevailing building technology. Even now utilitarian structures like chowkis are built using mud blocks, and they present finely carved wooden beams and pillars. These structures would still have a noticeable aesthetic value, if they were not to be covered with cement plaster, which alters the bioclimatic performance of unstabilized earth and makes it difficult to recognize the construction process used. Ramnagar Ramnagar village, near Nanni Daddhar, was also part of post-earthquake reconstruction process. Here two different types of bhungas are seen: stabilized earth and earth reinforced with bamboo. It was not easy to understand if some of the reinforced earth bhungas were built previous to earthquake. The coincidence of two building systems is due to the fact that reconstruction in the village was promoted by two different organizations. Some of the wattle and daub bhungas, made out of earth reinforced with bamboo, lie in very poor conditions, with the interweaving of bamboo completely visible, and some of them have been converted to storage. People live in other bhungas, perhaps built more recently. A different type of roof is also seen in the village: the light roof rests directly on the wall, without the beam and central post system commonly used for supporting the roof; instead angular wooden connectors are used for the purpose. Andhou Andhou is a settlement located on a hill, about 20 km from Bhirandiara. The village shows interesting building features. It was also reconstructed post-quake, but new bhungas were not proposed here. From far, between the trees only low tiled pitched roofs are seen. But as one gets near the thatched roofs of Bhungas appear among the other buildings. Here the bhungas are built using wattle and daub: earthen walls reinforced with bamboo, covered with thatched roofs. During reconstruction rectangular shelters were introduced as an addition to the old bhungas: the former are used both as storage and living spaces, while people continue to prefer bhungas as main shelter. Each bhunga was associated with one of such new buildings, which due to their rectangular shape resemble the functional areas generally associated with bhungas- the chowkis - but are actually of bigger size. The old bhungas seen in the village are well maintained, and walls are generally not plastered with cement. The building technique used is similar as in neighbouring Ramnagar village. 11
  • 12.   Overview of a cluster at Dhumado Wattle and daub dwellings at Dhumado Concrete buildings at Dhorodo     Dhumado Dhumado is located about 60 km from Bhuj, on the road leading from Bhirandiara to Dhordo. The village shows very different morphological features than other settlements seen so far. Passing through a new settlement built after the earthquake and continuing on an inner road, one arrives at the preexisting core of Dumadho, consisting of several vandh. The first vandh is entirely built using earth reinforced with wood (wattle and daub). Instead of usual circular bhungas, here there are only rectangular dwellings, rather small, organized around various clusters that constitute the village. Fences are absent, while the platform -otla- itself defines the morphology of the settlement. The visited cluster is composed of seven rectangular buildings, and is inhabited by a large joint family. At the core of the cluster there is a tree: the family members stay under its shadow and carry out various activities during day. Two small outdoor kitchens are built in this area, the first resting on the outer wall of a house, the second a few meters from the tree, on the platform. There are no front verandas for individual homes and the big tree seems to fulfil their function. The dwellers are aware of the bioclimatic performance of earth as a building material, and also of the hard work necessary for its maintenance. Nevertheless they continue to prefer earth to concrete, claiming that cement is suitable for the city, not for villages like Dumadho16 The second vandh visited is smaller, and even if its morphology is similar to the previous one, the construction technique changes: walls are built using mud blocks instead of earth reinforced with wood. Dhorodo The village is located 92 km Northwest of Bhuj, and is inhabited by a Muslim community. It is organized around a compact core, defined by close ties of kinship. In Dhorodo the process of altering traditional habitat had already started before the earthquake, since the village is developed economically. When economic conditions allow, people prefer to move from kaccha to pucca houses, built using concrete or stone. Pucca buildings now prevail in the village, although earthen houses can still be seen. Some of these, especially rectangular structures, suffered structural damage caused by earthquake, and were precariously repaired. 16 From a conversation with a dweller of Dhumado. 12
  • 13. Gandi no Gao during monsoon   Nava Vas village Nava Vas   Ludia The village is located 70 km north of Bhuj, and 3 km away from Kavdha, at the Northeast of Banni, in the area called Pachcham. It consists of several vandh, inhabited by communities of maldhari17 cattle farmers, both Muslim and Hindu. Before the earthquake of 2001, the main core of Ludia was inhabitad by both the communities. They all used to live in earthen bhungas. After the earthquake, the village has developed a mixed habitat: both rectangular buildings, (mostly stone masonry constructions) and earthen bhungas (unfortunately often plastered with cement). After the earthquake, a new settlement called Gandhi No Gao was built near Ludia, in order to relocate the Harijan community. Construction activities were coordinated by the local NGO Manav Sadhna, and planned by Vastu Shilpa Foundation along with other organizations. This project is totally inspired by the gandhian dream of Gram Swaraj and is based on people’s participation. It promoted the construction of mud blocks bhungas with thatched roofs and fine mural decorations, like those of the preexisting harijan Vandh of Ludia. Nevertheless the diameter of the newly built bhungas is larger then average and seismic features were not introduced in the new buildings. Near Gandhi No Gao, a few hundred meters from the main road that leads to Kavdha, lies Nava Vas (alias Megpar). This settlement was also involved in the post-earthquake reconstruction process, the dwelling being now mainly constituted of stabilized rammed earth bhungas. The dwellers of Nava Vas are fully aware of the structural strength of their homes, built thanks to their active involvement. The harijan community of Kavdha is engaged in building practices, among the leading occupations along with handicrafts, especially wood carving. Beside the recent bhungas, there are some preexisting bhungas in which both earth – mati - and straw – gass - where used. They were also promoted by the local NGO Manav Sadhna. Some of their interiors are enriched with fine decorations. The Harijan community at Nava Vas still uses its traditional building skills while remaining open to innovation, hence living in a stabilized earth Bhunga or in a traditional one apparently makes no difference to the dwellers up to date. Both options are accepted, and the presence of new dwellings did not reduce the preexisting bhungas to utilitarian shelters, as seen in other villages. 17 It is not an ethnic group, but rather a professional group : maldharis are people who own cattle. 13
  • 14. Concrete buildings at Thunda Vandh   Thunda Vandh Not part of Banni, Thunda Vandh village is located in the coastal zone, about 30 km from the port town of Mandvi. Also here there have been tangible changes in habitat patterns following post-earthquake reconstruction. Concrete is now the prevailing building material. Despite such evolution, in Thunda Vandh a few preexisting Bhungas are still seen. They show very different features from those seen in Banni: the earthen walls are built using `in situ` (or stack walls) technique, and wooden materials from the coast are used for the roof, which is generally supported by a single central post. These Bhungas show a profusion of mural ornamentations with traditional earthen reliefs and furniture, while exterior, floor and otla are in most cases covered with a layer of cement plaster. 3. 26 JANUARY 2001 EARTHQUAKE Location and tectonic asset of 26 January 2001 earthquake Source: EERI Location of epicentre. Source: EERI   3.1 A region of high seismic risk Kachchh is prone to earthquakes since ancient times, but the first recorded earthquake took place on 16 June 1819. The Indus River was already diverting its course towards the West and the earthquake accelerated this process, dramatically changing the geography of the region. From 1882 onwards there have been several earthquakes of low and medium intensity. Among these, the most destructive ones took place on October 15 1898, January 14 1903, October 31 1940 and July 21 195618 , to get to the severe earthquake of 26 January 2001. Between 1819 and 2001 a total of 77 earthquakes of high, medium and low severity were recorded. 3.2 26 January 2001 earthquake The earthquake of 26 January 2001, with epicenter near Bhachau in Kachchh, caused serious material losses and casualties in the towns of Bhachau, Anjar, Rapar, Bhuj, Ghandhidam and thousands of villages. The earthquake, of magnitude 6.9 on the Richter scale, and magnitude 7.7 on the Mercalli scale, struck the region at 8: 46 am, with a duration of 85 seconds for the first stronger jolt, and a few minutes for the shocks of minor intensity19. Other cities of Gujarat, like Ahmadabad and Jamnagar, located hundreds of miles away from the epicentre were also seriously affected20. The tectonic structure of Kachchh is yet to be defined: the region is close to the Himalayan front and the presence of active faults suggests that this may be a region of transition between a stable continental region and an   edge of plate. The Indian subcontinent is moving northward at a speed of about 5356mm/year, and gets into collision with the Asian plate, which is also moving northward, but at a rate equal to about half. The difference between these two relative speeds produces an intercontinental collision, which resulted in the Himalayan chain, and is pushing large portions of earth’s crust to the East and the West, away from the 18 K.Natarajan Menon 19 EERI Special Earthquake report – April 2001, Preliminary observations on the Origin and Effects of the January 26, 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat, India) Earthquake, Http://www. EERI. org 20 GSDMA, Guidelines for repair, restoration and retrofitting of Mansory Buildings in Kachchh earthquake affected areas of Gujarat, March 2002. 14
  • 15. Topographic map showing the levels of intensity in the Meracalli scale of the 26 January 2001 earthquake and the overall spreading of liquefaction in western Gujarat after the earthquake. Source : EERI   orogeny of the Himalayas. The analysis of historical seismic activity of the region shows a recurrence of about 200 years for earthquakes of great magnitude, like the ones of 1819 and 2001. Moreover, the presence of active faults involving sediments of the Tertiary and even more recent ones, contrasts with the stability of peninsular India and indicates long term tectonic activity. 3.3 Response of local NGO’s : Abhiyan and Hunnar Shaala Foundation Abhiyan The network of local NGOs Abhiyan (Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan, literally ‘Campaign for the Reconstruction of Kachchh’) was formed in 1998 in response to the devastating cyclone Kandla. In 1999 Abhiyan launched three programs: 1)Rural Youth training: capacity building and strengthening of young people in rural areas. 2)Creating databases: when cyclone Kandla happened data were not available. Hence it was urgent to create a database. Initially, 65 villages in Mundra Taluka were covered by this program, which was then extended to other villages of Kachchh. KLINK (Kutch Local Information Kendra) is the sector of Abhiyan that deals with databases management and dissemination of information among the unprivileged sections of society. 3)Strengthening of traditional knowledge and technologies: by introducing innovation in local technologies, and through promotion of local crafts. Abhiyan’s initiatives to coordinate the work of relief and reconstruction after 2001 earthquake: Implementation of Setus, information centres at village level. Setus in Sanskrit means bridge, in this case between local communities and NGOs. Establishment of a Craft Resource Centre: many craftsmen were severely affected by the earthquake, hence it was necessary to rebuild their workplace and provide them with new equipment. Establishment of the Shelter Innovation and Support Centre: engaged in building earthquake and cyclone-proof houses, while promoting the use of local materials. Under guidance of the centre new technological additions and seismic safe features were incorporated in rural habitat. Another purpose of the Shelter Innovation and Support Centre was to foster participation of local people in the reconstruction process. This institution played a key role in rehabilitation, providing necessary technical support to several NGOs involved in the process. Once the reconstruction process came to its final phase, there was a need for an institution operating on long-term commitment, both on the front of local craft’s enhancement and sustainable development, while involving urban and rural artisans in all aspects of building. Hunnar Shaala The Shelter Innovation and Support Centre has continued to play this important role, and recently was given an independent status, becoming Hunnar Shaala, a non-profit organization whose members also include the following organizations: Ahmedabad school of architecture, as an institution operating in the field of education. Auroville, for technological aspects. HDFC: Housing Development Finance Corporation, a private organization that finances housing for unprivileged people. The three objectives established by Hunnar Shaala are the following: 1. Providing housing for the poor in urban context 2. Enhancement of local craftsmen 3. Promotion of eco-friendly technologies All proceedings from Hunnar Shaala are used to achieve these three objectives. 15
  • 16. Parallely, Hunnar Shaala has intervened in post-desaster reconstruction in several countries like Iran and Indonesia, and within India in other states like Tamil Nadu and Kashmir. 3.4 Other stakeholders of reconstruction Abhiyan was established before the earthquake as a network of 22 voluntary organizations, which later became 27. Overall more than 200 NGOs have contributed to the reconstruction process in the region. Besides these, UNDP and government organizations of Gujarat also participated. Among the member organizations of Abhiyan is KMVS, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, founded in 1989 as an organization of women from the villages: KMVS is a group of 10,500 women from 165 villages, which aims to improve livelihood standards in rural areas while strengthening the role of women in the village, for instance through handicrafts production. After the earthquake KMVS has assumed a key role in housing reconstruction, immediately channelling available human and material resources in that direction. KMVS, with the help of Shelter Innovation and Support Centre (now Hunnar Shaala), has played an important role in promoting stabilized earth in the reconstruction process. 3.5 Enhancement of earthen habitat during post-quake reconstruction process Although most of Kachchh district consists of a saline desert, the region is rich of various types of soil, sandy and claily in different proportions. Earth - ‘mati’ in Kachchi, the local language- is an element to which every inhabitant of these areas relates21 . Mati is not just a building material, since its artistic potential is fostered by local crafts in various ways. In the past raw earth technology, which is suitable for the desert extreme climate and uses a locally available material, was widespread among the traditional communities of Kachchh. The building techniques traditionally used in Kachchh are the following: • Wattle and daub • Mud blocks • In situ or stack walls In reinforced earth walls, a light and rudimentary wooden frame is plastered with earth on both sides. In Latin America this technique is known as ‘bareque’ or ‘quinche’. In English-speaking countries as ‘wattle and daub’. Mud blocks buildings are made of sun-dried bricks, composed of earth, dung and straw in different proportions. `In situ` or ‘stack walls’, called ‘bauge’ in French speaking countries, consist of ‘loaves’ of earth laid by hand and stacked one above the other. Although these technologies are structurally and climatically suitable, and also cost effective, recently they have become synonymous with poverty. Even if rural communities of Kachchh are majorly leading a local way of life, the advent of modernity has brought fundamental changes in their life style and especially in their perception of habitat. Being now able to afford `modern` materials that require less maintenance, the new generations are abandoning earthen habitat, with its regional forms, in order to shift to concrete or stone buildings, often unsuitable to the extreme climate of the desert. After the 26 January 2001 earthquake, local dwellers became aware of the structural features of traditional earthen bhungas. Stabilized earthen blocks Bhunga at Rudramata   These houses with cylindrical walls had actually responded to earthquake better than many other recent buildings. In the process of post-earthquake reconstruction, organizations like Abhiyan and Hunnar Shaala have focused on the enhancement and strengthening of local resources, both human and material. It was important to revive the forms and materials of regional dwellings, while introducing some amount of appropriate technology to improve seismic safe performance and durability. Modern applications of stabilized earthen blocks or stabilized rammed earth have opened the way to different perceptions of earthen habitat. Once stabilized, earth does not require regular maintenance and assumes 21 Shelter Innovation and Support center, Mud technology, Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan, Bhuj. 16
  • 17. the appearance of a ‘modern’ material. Right after its introduction, stabilized earth was in many cases preferred to other materials such as concrete, kiln bricks or stone. New bhungas have been modified, using stabilized earth, and also with the introduction of seismic safe devices at structural level. The roof was modified by replacing thatched roof with octagonal Mangalore tiles roof. The typical form of the dwelling was maintained in several ways: cylindrical wall, dimensions and relationships between various elements. New bhungas are outstanding contemporary buildings, suitable to harbour the local way of life, as can also be seen while observing their furniture and ornamentations.   Blocks production Stabilized mud Photo Hunnar Shaala Hunnar Shaala blocks’ production, photo ii 3.6 Seismic problems in earthen buildings. The typical form and material of a bhunga respond to regional climate, and thanks to its clever structural design it also offers a good resistance to earthquake forces. Its round shape is perfect, since it has no corners where tensions are usually concentrated, and it is able to contrast lateral forces coming from all directions. Thatched roof is light and it rarely rests directly on the wall, thus avoiding tensions during earthquake. The building technology used in the region is based on different construction practices, each responding to several structural criteria, such as mud blocks walls, reinforced earthen walls and stack walls. In most cases the roof rests on a beam and is connected to the latter through a central kingpost, while sometimes it is supported directly by a central post which rests on the ground, and in some cases it rest directly on the wall and it is anchored to the latter through wooden connectors. In other cases it rests on posts placed outside the wall. This device is sometime seen with reinforced earth walls (wattle and daub)22. With 2001 earthquake inhabitants became aware of the structural performance of Bhungas: “Qayamat Patther ma aavi chhe, mati ma nahin” (The earthquake struck those who live in stone houses, and not those who live in earthen houses), affected villagers used to say immediately after the earthquake23 . This awareness encouraged residents and local organizations to foster earthen habitat throughout the reconstruction process. 3.7 Introduction of seismic safe features in earthen building Working in collaboration with IIT24 Bangalore, Hunnar Shaala established seismic safe structural criteria, to be applied while keeping in mind the use of local materials and cost effectiveness as ultimate goal. Once the guidelines defined, they were incorporated in GSDMA guide ‘Earth technology and Alternative Roofing System’. These guidelines establish some structural elements to be incorporated in each new building: 1. Foundations in rubble and sand 2. Walls reinforced with four seismic bands: at plinth level, lintel level, sill level and roof level, along with vertical steel rods, which help as containment reinforcement. These rods, spaced between them at 1 m distance, must go from the plinth level up to the roof, and have to be placed both in the inner and outer sections of the wall. All the shelters built by Abhiyan follow these structural criteria25. Following are some among the various innovations Abhiyan introduced in earthen building technology after the earthquake: 1. Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocks (SCEB): it is a technology developed in the 50s within the framework of a research program on rural habitat in Colombia. In India, institutions such as IIT Bangalore, Auroville, Pondicherry and Development Alternatives have been working on this technique since the last 30 to 35 years. In SCEB, a mixture of earth and stabilizer (93-94% soil and 6-7% cement) is mixed and sieved, and then compressed in a manual press. Once compressed, blocks are aligned on a platform and cured for 21 days. 22 from a conversation with K.B. Jain 23 Shelter Innovation and Support Center, Mud Technology, Kutch Navnirman Abhiyan,, Bhuj. 24 Indian Institute of Technology 25 Shelter Innovation and Support Center 17
  • 18. Use of stabilized earth blocks simplifies the construction process, since there is no need to plaster the wall. There are two basic types of SCEB: plain blocks and interlocking. Normal blocks generally measure 7.5’’x 9’’x 4’’. Interlocking blocks have holes for insertion of services like electrification and vertical structural reinforcements. They are designed in order to require less skilled workmanship, hence facilitating self-construction within a short time. U shape blocks are used to insert reinforcement bands at different levels and can also be used at sill level. Concrete is poured inside these blocks, after placing the reinforcement steel rods. 2. Stabilized Rammed Earth: composition of stabilized rammed earth is the same as stabilized earthen block: 93-94% earth and 6-7% cement. Once the formwork is set, a mixture of earth and cement is poured inside in layers of 12-15 cm height, and is then manually rammed using special instruments, until each layer is thoroughly compacted. In order to make the structure seismic safe, horizontal bands of reinforced concrete are placed at four different levels. After showing these options to people affected by earthquake, Abhiyan and Hunnar Shaala have organized a workshop on low cost seismic and cyclone safe construction for local communities. 4. THE POST-EARTHQUAKE RECONSTRUCTION PROCESS Scheme of the relocated Gandhi No Gao village Schematic planning of the new settlement Resulting from a participatory process Source: Vastu Shilpa Foundation Gandhi No Gao hamlet       4.1 post-earthquake reconstruction projects and earthen buildings Along with Abhiyan’s innovative interventions, some organizations have proposed to rebuild using local unstabilized earth construction, such as mud blocks, as shown by Manav Sadhna and Vastu Shilpa Foundation interventions in Gandhi No Gao (Ludia). 4.2 Rehabilitation of Ludia village Ludia lies 70 km north of Bhuj, and covers an area of 10 sqkm. The population is about 2300. The village is divided into two main communities, Muslim and Harijan, and consists of 8 villages, including newly built Gandhi no Gao. The Harijan community from Ludia moved here, near Nava Vas. The new foundation village, called Gandhi No Gao, is based on the gandhian idea of Gram Swaraj26 . The reconstruction process, coordinated by the NGO Manav Sadhna27along with Vastu Shilpa Foundation28 and others29 , was led through a participatory approach: the aim was to recover damaged structures and to build new dwellings using local materials (earth, stone, wood). Traditional round shaped Bhungas were reproposed, with a strong involvement of owners in the reconstruction process. The choice of the site was based on social factors, as well as logistic and topography. The construction of the new settlement was an opportunity to bring in the Harijan community, which was going to split because of the physical limits of its land. The new village is located centrally with respect to the preexisting settlements, making the overall layout of the village more coherent. Once the site was chosen, planning of the settlement started, taking into account physical and morphological features of the existing village. Attention was given to people’s aspirations and needs, as well as to social structure, which determines ‘clusters’ organization and relationship between neighbours. 26 Litteraly Gram Swaraj means Village Republic: the Gandhian idea that democratization of the country would happen through decentralization, in order to give voice to rural India. 27 Manav Sadhna is an ONG based in Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad. 28 ‘Vastu Shilpa Foundation for studies and research in environmental design’, based in Ahmedabadis a non governamental research institute founded in 1978, operating in the field of built environment and sustainable development. 29 Gramshree, Harijan Sevak Sangh, Safai Vidyalaya, Environmental Sanitation Institute, Impression, Ishwardas Jhabarmal Trust. 18
  • 19.   Exterior and interior decorations of bhungas at Gandhi No Gao   The initial proposal was then discussed through a simulation kit, until complete satisfaction of the users. In order to fulfil the demand for building materials a ‘bank of materials’ was created: wood, earth, and dung needed for construction of Bhungas came from the same district, just at transportation cost. The entire process of construction was completed by the owners, while the sponsor provided a fund available to each family that would participate in the construction of their own house. Owners-builders have followed every stage of construction, from mud blocks production up to decoration to make their homes unique30 . A total of 455 bhungas and chowkis were built this way. Beside construction of new dwellings, the existing infrastructure wasimproved, by creating kindergartens and primary schools, by improving and upgrading existing water infrastructure (creation of dams, reservoirs, ponds and underground tanks), by establishing a ‘grass bank’ for cattle, and by implementing a postal service for daily distribution. The table below shows the overall cost of the project up to September 200131 : INTERVENTIONS COST (INR) COST (EURO) Housing Education Water management Grass bank and community centre Total cost A woman engaged in embroidery work at Gandhi No gao 9 048 000 2 800 000 3 500 000 700 000 161 570 50 000 62 500 12 500 16 048 000 286 570   30 For the detailed description of the process go to the chapter dedicated to construction techniques. 31 Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Gandhi Nu Gam, Ludiya : Partnering with people, Sangath, Ahmedabad, march-september 2001. 19
  • 20. Ramnagar village near Nanni Daddhar Stabilized earthen blocks Bhunga at Ramnagar   Wattle and daub bhunga (with bamboo) at Ramnagar   Hamlet at Rudramata 4.3 Reconstruction at Ramnagar Ramnagar, a village near Nanni Daddhar was built on initiative of two local NGOs: KMVS32 and BAPS33 . These two NGOs made different choices concerning the building technologies to be used, that is why along with bhungas made out of Stabilized Earth Blocks (promoted by KMVS) there are also bhungas made out of earth reinforced with bamboo (promoted by BAPS). Bamboo is not a local material, but due to its easy availability, in recent decades it has been introduced in the region for construction purposes. These bhungas have a bamboo structure plastered with earth resting on a plinth of baked bricks. As seen in other villages, some of the preexisting bhungas are neglected and were reduced to storage. Despite of this recurrent attitude, most of the buildings   in the village are used as dwellings, and are carefully maintained by the owners. Earthen walls are decorated with natural pigments, both on the interior and exterior. The roof is not supported by a central beam and post, as seen prevously, but it is directly anchored to the wall through wooden angular connectors, or in some case it just rests directly on the wall.   4.4 Building a new village at Rudramata The relocated village owes its name to Rudramata dam, on the main road to Kavdha about 25 km to the north of Bhuj, where the settlement is located. About 230 families - belonging to the Harijan community and proceeding from three villages in the border area of Pachcham (Kavdha) - migrated here after the earthquake and agreed to build a new village in this site near Bhuj town. The Harijan families residing in the village are essentially engaged in handicrafts, since agriculture could not become a significant source of livelihood for the community. Unluckily livelihood opportunities from handicrafts were reduced due to restrictions imposed on tourists, main buyers, to access the border area. After the earthquake, the loss of their houses pushed them to migrate to the cities, in the attempt to benefit from more opportunities for economic development. 32 Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan 33 BAPS Swaminarayan Santha, an organization of religious inspiration 20
  • 21. Rudramata village was built using Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks technology, on initiative of Shjeevan, KMVS and Abhiyan. Encouraged by prior knowledge of the basic material, ‘mati’ (earth), people took proactive initiative in the implementation of Rudramata village, from designing the new bhungas to their complete construction. For technology transfer, two models were built as part of a preparatory course at Abhiyan’s campus for groups of young people from Rudramata: one model was built with Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocks (SCEB), and the other with Stabilized Rammed Earth. At this early stage the execution of blocks was faster, hence at Rudramata the extensive use of SCEB was preferred, while only a dozen houses were made out of stabilized rammed earth. After the workshop, one person from each village trained the inhabitants in blocks’ production. In just 15 days the whole community was able to produce blocks without assistance. Production cost of Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks was 2,600 rupees/ house, of which 900 were provided by NGOs and 1,500 paid directly by the beneficiary to the workmen group. Beneficiaries contributed with labor for foundations, flooring and masonry. The execution of the platform-otla- was left entirely to the beneficiaries. The local NGOs provided them with one load of stone and three bags of cement. The beneficiaries completed the construction with decorations and by covering the roof with Mangalore tiles. Participation of inhabitants of Rudramata at various stages of the village construction. Photos Hunnar Shaala The tables below compare the estimated and actual construction cost of a single bhunga and the cost per sqmt of construction: Construction of a single bhunga Estimated cost INR Actual cost INR (in 2001) Total estimated 30,000 Total cost of the 29,404 cost building NGO’s contribu- 24,400 (81.35%) NGO’s contribu- 20,400 (69,40%) tion tion Beneficiary’s 5,595 (18.65%) Beneficiary’s 9,000 (30,60%) contribution contribution Note: Thanks to the saved quota the beneficiary will eventually built hygienic services with bathroom Final stages of construction of a Bhunga at Rudramata. Photos Hunnar Shaala Homestead at Rudramata   Construction cost for sqmt (INR) Total built area 20 sqmt Total construction cost of a 29,400 bhunga Cost/sqm 1,470 Note: N.B: The otla is excluded from the estimated area, and it corresponds approximately to 6X7.60 mt for each house 21
  • 22. Construction activities at Rudramata started a few months after the earthquake, and were completed within three months on the same year 2001. During this experimental phase 220 houses were built at Rudramata. After that it was possible to proceed with the construction of other villages, while perfecting the construction processes used. Hamlet at Rudramata   4.5 Reconstruction of Nanni Daddhar village Nanni Daddhar village in Banni has a population of 450, mainly Muslims engaged in cattle breeding and herding. Out of total 90 families, 59 have been supported in the reconstruction process, which led to the construction of 110 stabilized rammed earth bhungas. Each Family contributed to the construction costs by 5,211 rupees. The program for post-earthquake reconstruction helped each family to build two bhungas to be added on the existing platform-otla-, which already hosted utilitarian buildings such as verandas, bathrooms and storage. Typically each family settles on an area enclosed by a large vegetable fence, defined by a platform - otla - and few separate building resting on the platform. As the family expands, new platforms with new structures are added. The design of new bhungas was modified with the introduction of hexagonal Mangalore tiles roofs. This design had already been tested at Rudramata. In Nani Daddhar stabilized rammed earth was preferred, which resulted to be faster and more economic compared to stabilized earth blocks used at Rudramata. The process of reconstruction was carried out by KMVS with the support of SISC (Shelter Innovation and Support Center) and Abhiyan. Mud blocks’ chowki and stabilized rammed earth bhungas at Nani Daddhar   Wattle and daub utilitarian shelter at Nani Daddhar   Plan   of Nani Daddhar settlement with reconstruction project. Source: Hunnar Shaala 22
  • 23. 5. EARTHEN BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES IN KACHCHH 5.1 traditional technologies The three main traditional building techniques seen in Kuchchh are: a) Earth blocks (adobe) b) Earth reinforced with wood, or sometimes bamboo (wattle and daub) c) Stack walls or ‘in situ’. Mud blocks and reinforced earth are found mainly in Banni and Pachccham and stack walls in the coastal village of Tunda Vandh. Illustration of the three main construction techniques traditionally used in the construction of a Bhunga: adobe (mud bricks), in-situ mud (stack walls) and earth reinforced with wood (wattle and daub). Illustrations by Apurva Amin   23
  • 24. 5.1.1 Earth blocks The construction of a traditional Bhunga at Ludia (Gandhi No Gao) is brought as exemple for describing this technique. Mud blocks’ bhunga in Gandhi No Gao   The components required for the construction of walls and foundations are: a) Clayey soil and rice husk for earth blocks. Rice husk is a fibrous material, which shatters into small pieces: the disaggregated grains increase the material’s cohesion and blocks’ strength. b) Cement mortar used for foundations c) Earth sourced from Banni, cow dung and local earth for plaster. The earth sourced from Banni is used just for plaster. This special earth is sourced from Rudramata, 15 km from Bhuj, and its cost is just the transportation cost. The advantage of using cow dung is that it contains many fibrous particles, such as rice husk, which increase the material’s cohesion d)Earth and rubble stones for filling the platform -otla Production stages of mud blocks are as follows: 1. A catchment is formed with the earth sourced from Banni, water is poured in to moist the soil and the mixture has to rest for one night. Rice husk is then added.   Earth, water and rice husk for blocks composition 2. The compound is mixed using feet.   Photo Hunnar Shaala Photo Hunnar Shaala   3. The blocks are shaped in wooden moulds. After removing the moulds, they are left to dry and harden in the sun for a day on one side, and then turned on the other side to dry faster. It takes two or three days to complete this process. The average block size is 20x30x10 cm.   24
  • 25. Description of construction phases: laying of foundations and construction of the wall: 1. A trench 30 cm deep and 45 cm wide is dug. Blocks for foundations are laid using a local mud plus cement mortar. The process of laying the blocks is locally called chanter. Preparation of the trench Sun dried earth blocks wall. Photo Hunnar Shaala     2. Walls are raised on foundations, using cow dung plus local mud mortar, mixed with water to make the compound workable.   3. Lintels and doors and window frames are inserted where necessary. 4. A platform-otla-is then built using rubble stone and earth, up to a height of about 45 cm. This is completed by a thin layer of mud, called lipan, which is applied also on the walls of the bhunga to protect them at the base. Building of Building of a sun dried earth blocks wall. Photo Hunnar Shaala   Women applying lipan. Photo Hunnar Shaala   Preparation of plaster - Lipan: 1. The mixture for the plaster layer, locally called gobar lipan, is made with cow dung and local mud. Water is added to im prove its workability. A first layer is applied on the outer surface of the wall, and smoothed using hands. It takes about a day to complete it, and then another layer is applied on the inner sur face. These inner and outer layers are alternated, up to seven lay ers applied on both surfaces of the wall. The last layer of Lipan is done using earth sourced from Banni and cow dung34 . 34 Vastu Shilpa Foundation for Studies and research in Environmental Design, Earthen Architecture of Katchchh : practices of buiding with the land, August 2001. 25
  • 26. The components required for roof’s construction are as follows: a) One horizontal beam – adi - of diameter 15 to 18 cm. b) A base for the vertical kingpost - patli - size 5x7x25 cm c) A central kingpost ranging from 180 to 270 cm, diameter 10 cm. d) A cone - mann - at the top of the kingpost, diameter 40 cm, 45 cm high. e) Babool wood rafters forming the backbone of the roof – vali -, having a diameter between 6 and 8.75 cm, 365 cm long. Between 20 and 24 of those are distributed on the wall’s circumference. Eventually another wood, called Nilgiri, can be used if this is available. f) Culms of split bamboo which constitute the secondary warping - khapatis - diameter 2 .5 cm, length 365 cm. 23 bundles with approximately 20 elements per bundle are required. Nabool wood was traditionally used, but because of lack of nabool, bamboo is the current option. g) Rope - kathi -, 1.25 cm thick. 30 kg of rope are required. h) Straw - kheep - for roofing. 500 bundles are required. The branches of this dense plant are very resistant and have few leaves: Their linear nature helps them to shed the rain. Illustration by Apurva Amin showing the components of a Bhunga   26
  • 27. 1 Placing the beam - adi - 4 Filling thw bamboo rafters - khapatis -   2 Setting the Kingpost on the patli     5 Setting the thatched roof - kheep -   3 Placing the rafters - vali -   6 securing the roof with a rope mash - khati -   Stages of roof construction are as follows: Structural variant for the roof: supported by a central pillar     1. The beam - adi - is placed horizontally on the wall, perpendicular to the door’s axis. The ends of the beam rest on slightly raised portions of the wall and are fixed with pegs. 2. The base- patli - of the vertical kingpost rest on the middle of the beam - adi -. The kingpost stands on the middle of the patli. The cone - mann -is fixed on top of the kingpost. 3.The joists – vali - are fixed at the top of the cone –mann- and to each other with rope – kathi - Structural variations in the construction of bhungas 4. Culms of split bamboo - khapatis - fill the span between valis and are fixed to them 5. Straw bundles – kheep- are then tied to the roof structure starting from the bottom. 6. A rope’s net is then dropped from the top of the roof in order to hold the straw bundles. The carpentry work for the production of doors and windows takes place in Ludia, using local workmanship35 . There are several variations of the construction technique described above. In some cases the roof is supported by a taller central post that reaches the plinth, instead of resting on the kingpost supported by a beam. Instead of being supported on the wall, the beam -adi- can eventually rest on two posts placed outside the wall, which are completely independent. These members help to reduce or cancel the pressure on the two support 35 Vastu Shilpa Foundation 27
  • 28.   Decorations of exterior and interior walls –Gandhi No Gao   points of the beam on the wall, so that the wall bears a more uniform load. For the design of wall decorations, the walls of the bhunga are covered with a paste made of donkey dung, earth and Fevicol (a glue). Decorative patterns are incorporated onto this surface. For colors, minerals are extracted from a dam near Khavda. These offer a range of five colors: ochre, red, brown, white and dark gray. The minerals are milled, mixed with water and used to paint the walls of the bhungas. Inside, the mural relief decorations are accompanied by functional elements such as niches and shelves. The size of a bhunga may vary depending on limitations imposed by the size of the available wooden structural components, but generally the diameter ranges from 3 to 6 mt. The shape of the buildings also varies: rectangular buildings like chowkis display same materials and construction techniques, along with a pitched roof. The source of materials may also vary. If the earth sourced from Banni is suitable for mortar, more often local earth is used as a readily available and appropriate material. Instead of cement mortar, a mixture of cow dung and earth is also appropriate for foundations. Mangalore tiles are sometimes used as roofing components instead of thatch. Although insulating performance is not the same, small openings for ventilation can be left between tiles, while taking care to prevent water seepage.   Use of Mangalore tiles for roofing at Dhumado, a traditional hamlet, unusual for the region as here the earthen dwellings are rectangular, rather then cylindrical. 28
  • 29. If mud blocks are the traditional building technique most widespread in the region, two other building techniques are also found: In situ mud bhungas in the coastal village of Tunda Vandh 5.1.2 In situ36 : Stack wall or in-situ is probably the most instinctive of the three construction methods analysed. A mixture of clayey soil is moulded into loaves and stacked using hands to create the wall of the bhunga. This process results in a very resistant monolithic form. A mud coating is then applied to smoothen the surface.   Such dwellings are seen in the coastal village of Tunda Vandh.   5.1.3 Wattle and daub In reinforced earth construction (wattle and daub) branches are used as wall structure, which is then covered with earth. Stages of construction of a reinforced earth Bhunga: 1. Branches are sunk into the platform, about 40 cm deep, with a height above the floorof about 170 cm. The branches are arranged along the wall, leaving an opening for the door. 2. Smaller twigs fill in the gap left between the main branches. Branches and twigs are bound together with straw rope in order to improve the stability of the structure.   3. A mixture of dung and clayey earth is then applied onto the wooden structure. This mixture is applied both inside and outside the membrane.   Wattle and daub dwellings at Dhumado       3. The lipan ,a smooth layer of plaster obtained with a mixture of earth, cow dung and water, completes the construction of the wall. 37 36 Lamps of clay 37 Vastu Shilpa Foundation 29
  • 30. 5.2 Alternate technologies: the introduction of stabilized earth After the 2001 earthquake appropriate construction technologies have been introduced in order to improve seismic performance of bhungas and of other earthen buildings. The use of stabilized earth (with cement) was introduced and fostered, both in the form of blocks and rammed earth. People affected by earthquake wanted to keep the traditional form of their homes, while improving their durability. One of the key factors for the introduction of stabilized earth was that it does not require a constant and laborious maintenance, which is indeed needed for unstabilized earth buildings. 5.2.1 Compressed Stabilized Earthen Blocks (CSEB) This is a simple technology in which cement is added to earth (in proportion of 7-8%) and the mixture obtained is compressed in a press. This technique was first developed in Colombia in the 50s and is being used in India since many years. Most probably its most intensive use can be seen in Kachchh, where more than 100 villages were built so far using this technology38 . The use of stabilized earth has spread rapidly since it is a simple and cost effective construction system, which does not require skilled workmanship and with the advantage that blocks can be produced directly on site, while following very simple technical standardization. In addition, stabilized earth is an eco-friendly material that provides a good thermal comfort. Nevertheless there are factors that must be taken into account while working with CSEB:   Different shapes of stabillized earthen blocks Different shapes of Compressed Stabilized Earthen Blocks       Production of stabilized earth blocks at Rudramata. Photos Hunnar Shaala   • Soil is a dynamic material that requires testing and analysis before use • The technology is simple, but if not correctly executed the blocks are likely to face corrosion. • Thermal inertia is not as optimal as that of unstabilized soil, because of compression and due to the higher percentage of sand in soil composition. The mixture of soil and cement (92-93% of soil, consisting of sand up to 75% clay up to 15%, and silt for the remaining, to which cement is added up to 7-8%), is mixed and the blocks are produced with this compound using the Mardini press. The blocks are then cured on a platform for 21 days. In detail, the stages of production of the blocks are as follows: 1. The soil is sieved and then mixed. 2. Mixing has to continue while moistening until the compound is introduced in the press for the production of the blocks, which is operated by two men. 3. The blocks thus produced are stored and cured for 21 days. Seismic safe features introduced in Bhunga’s construction: Reinforced concrete bands are placed at the levels of plinth, sill, lintel and at walls’ top. For this purpose special U shape block are set at different heights in order to receive steel reinforcements and concrete is poured directly into them. Four vertical steel rods are placed along the perimeter of the bhunga, equally spaced, and two others at the door’s opening. These rods are embedded into the plinth and kept vertical using large stones. Then the platform is built using rubble stones. 38 Hunnarshaala Foundation for Building Technology and Innovation, Kutchi Bhunga, Traditoinal House in Hot and Arid Gujarat, Rural technology park, A project of national Institute of Rural development - Hydrabad. 30
  • 31.     U shape CSEB blocks and last stage of construction of a Bhunga. Photos Hunnar Shaala     Stabilized earthen blocks bhungas at Rudramata, five years after building the village Setting up the formwork for stabilized rammed earth wall Setting upFoto Hunnar Shaala for stabilized the formwork construction. rammed earth wall’s construction. Photo Hunnar Shaala   5.2.2 Stabilized Rammed Earth Like stabilized earth blocks, Stabilized rammed earth is obtained by adding about 7-8% of cement to the soil and ramming the mixture with appropriate tools within a wooden formwork in order to obtain a monolithic wall. The main advantage of this technique is that a wall can be completed in only one stage, since the earth and cement mixture can be poured directly and the process does not require skilled wormanship. For this reason, if compared to stabilized earthen blocks, rammed earth wall construction is more stable and economic, fast and robust since there are no joints. Limitations that must be taken into account are as follows: • Rooms sizes are limited by the formwork’s size • Shrinkage cracks can develop, which will have to be filled 31
  • 32. Required materials39 : Construction of a stabilized rammed earth wall. Photo Hunnar Shaala   Stabilized rammed earth bhungas at Nanni Daddhar. Photo Hunnar Shaala   1. Soil: the ideal soil for stabilized rammed earth should be composed between 80 and 85% by earth, and the remaining weight should be given by silt and clay. Higher proportions of clay would give rise to shrinkage cracks. 2. Sand or clayey soil as additions (if needed). In case of naturally clayey soil, it is necessary to add sand to reach the desired pro portions; in the case of excessively sandy soil, clay has to be added. 3. Cement. A highly reactive cement as grade 53 is avoidable. Usually 7% of cement assures good outputs, but with 3% of lime, just 5% of cement is needed to achieve the desired strength. 4. Lime if available. Hydrated lime powder can be used as stabilizer. Lime stabilizes the clayey portion of the soil, hence giving better results. 3% of lime with 5% of cement is the most suitable proportion for stabilized rammed earth. 5. Water: drinking water is better, saline water is avoidable 6. Oil: oil must be applied on the formwork before pouring the earth in order to obtain a good finish of the wall. The use of exhausted or black oils should be avoided. Construction stages of a stabilized rammed earth wall: Execution of a stabilized rammed earth bhunga at Hodco. Photo Hunnar Shaala   1 The platform must be prepared with the sub-base, which should be perfectly levelled to allow easy and quick fixing of perfectly plumbed wooden formwork. The oil should be applied on the formwork’s surface. 2. Stabilized rammed earth walls should start from the level of the finished plinth band. Pointed rubble keys should be incorporated in the plinth band to ensure a good bonding between plinth and stabilized rammed earth walls. 3. Vertical and horizontal reinforcements should be drowned in concrete. In order to avoid corrosion, the reinforcing bars should have sufficient concrete cover. 4. Once the formwork fixed, the mixture of soil (92-93%) and cement (7-8%) is poured into it, in layers of about 12-15 cm height. The wet mix should be used within 30 minutes from mixing with water. 5. Bands of reinforced concrete should be incorporated at regular intervals from the basement, as seismic safe features. 6. Earthen mixture is rammed manually with special instruments until compaction of each layer: a first light compaction must be followed by more determined ramming until the product gives a metallic sound. This process continues for successive layers until the wall reaches the desired height. The compaction of each layer should be checked using a standard penetrometer within 10 minutes from ramming. 7. If there is a delay in the time interval between two successive layers and the first layer dries, it has to be sprinkled with water 39 Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan, Demonstration of stabililzed rammed earth construction, november 2001. 32
  • 33. and then a neat cement slurry has to be applied to the last layer. It is recommended that the construction work is organized so that the working day ends with a layer of cement or with the finished wall. 8. After removing the formwork, curing of the stabilized rammed earth wall takes 28 days Critical points of rammed earth construction: • Composition of earth must be ideal. Too much clay generates shrinkage cracks. • Earth must be sieved in a 4-6 mm mesh. Coarse grains may later produce inconsistencies. • Dry and wet mixing should be done evenly, otherwise it might lead to wearing of the surface. Thickness of the layers should not exceed 12 cm. Thicker layers generate uneven compaction, and strength and performance of the structure over a long term would be affected. • To get good strength and good performances curing must be done perfectly.   5.3 Wattle and daub In Kachchh the local building practice of wattle and daub was also revived in a contemporary way. This technique is of easy execution and does not require skilled workmanship. It leads to flexible structures, allowing a large configuration of spaces and openings. By using reinforced earth (wattle and daub) microclimate can be improved both indoor and outdoor, by using thermal inertia of earth and ventilation. Ventilation is also improved by disposition and dimensioning of openings, which can be freer as compared to other building systems. Wattle and daub, thanks to high flexibility of the bearing structures, is a seismic safe construction technique. The earth covering the panels will eventually detach from them, without compromising the overall structural stability. It is a cost effective building technique: investment is minimal, execution is simple and structural safety is high. Depending on the technique and materials adopted, earth can be reinforced using bamboo, wood or twigs. The use of twigs is a rather primitive method of construction that does not involve the interweaving between the various members, which are simply tied together. In more advanced construction methods, support elements are interwoven to form the panels within a wood or bamboo frame. Especially with bamboo, it is possible to create a framework that provides greater structural safety. Use of wattle and daub panels for filling the upper store walls at Craft Park. Photos Hunnar Shaala   Craft Park, photo Hunnar Shaala   33
  • 34. Split bamboo is woven on a support grid and then covered with a mixture of earth and cow dung40 . Before use, the bamboo should undergo chemical treatment for preservation and prevention of termites attack41 . Other materials used are clayey soil, cow dung and rice husk42 , non erodible soil, neem43 leaves, herbal juices, bitumen44. The clayey soil is soaked in water and thoroughly mashed till the biggest lumps break. Then the soil is mixed with cow dung and rice husk. Earth must be reinforced with fibrous materials such as cow dung and rice husk45  , which compensate for the clayey nature of the soil used, and which also act as stabilizing agents. These help reduce shrinkage cracks that may form in the masonry. Traditionally, neem leaves along with plants juices were used as stabilizing agents. A non-erodible soil obtained by mixing it with coal tar can also be used. The latter also serves as a waterproofing agent. In a choice to combine contemporary building materials and wattle and daub, stabilized earthen blocks were used as bearing structure. For doing this, a variation in the height of foundations was introduced: Insertion of a reinforced concrete band in a wattle and daub wall. Photo Hunnar Shaala Covering the bamboo framework. Photo Hunnar Shaala Coating of panles with lipan. Photo Hunnar Shaala     a) b) 2 feet below the stabilized earthen blocks structure 1 foot below the bamboo lattice frame. Stages of construction are as follows: 1. After completion of the plinth a stabilized earthen blocks structure is raised, and every three courses an alternate course of U blocks is introduced, in order to connect the bamboo frame to the bearing walls. For a height of 7 feet, 6 bamboo layers are placed horizontally within the U blocks and thus connected to the bearing structure. Two bamboo layers are connected through and through, bamboos are tied together and also to the vertical rods passing through the stabilized earth blocks masonry. 2. Everything is fixed with concrete, and then the stabilized earth blocks masonry continues. 3. After completion of the framework, concrete is poured into the bands at lintel level and at the top of the wall. After a week of curing the shutters are removed, and the structure can be filled with appropriate split woven bamboo. 4. Culms are split into smaller pieces, and these thinner elements are interwoven with the horizontal bamboos, previously fixed to the structure. 5. After completion of the panel, the split bamboos are tied together at the top and bottom with jute rope. Where openings are desired, the panels are cut and then tied at the top 40 Locally called ‘gobar’ 41 Here bamboo is treated with sodium dicromate, copper sulphate and boric acid For 200 liters of water, 4kg of sodium dichromate (orange color), 3kg of copper sulphate (blue color) and 1.5kg of boric acid (white color) is used. Approximately for a mix, 15-20 numbers of bamboos of 15 feet length can be treated. The bamboos are kept in the mix for 2 days and then they can be used for construction 42 Bhusa is the local name for rice husk 43 A local plant 44 Coal tar 45 Proportions are as follow : 10 parts of soil, 3 parts of gobar, 3 parts of bhusa. Some sand is added. Everything is mixed for one day, after that the material is ready for construction. 34
  • 35. Wattle and daub wall at Rabari school at Bhujodi. Photo Hunnar Shaala Detail of ventilation obtained with a terracotta device at Rabari school at Bhujodi. Photo Hunnar Shaala Detail of ventilation at the Rabari school at Bhujodi. Photo Hunnar Shaala       and base of the openings. 6. The base of the panel is fixed with concrete in order to maintain the bamboo in place, and also to protect the masonry. 7. Once concrete has dried, a mixture of clay, cow dung and rice husk is applied to the bamboo mesh. This process, known locally as ‘lipan’, starts on one side. The clay is pressed between the bamboo, and after application of a 5 inches thick layer, this is left to dry for 4-5 days. Cracks due to shrinkage of clay may appear. 8. The first layer is then plastered with an extra layer, composed of clay, gobar and juice of neem leaves, applied as a paste until the cracks are filled. The result is a smooth finish, which is left to dry. 9. In case of formation of additional cracks it is possible to apply another layer of cow dung with some clay. 10. It is now possible to choose between different options for waterproofing: a) Non-erodible mud plaster b) Lime plaster c) Composite mortar with soil, cement and sand lime plaster is the method used traditionally. Lime is crushed and sieved. It is then mixed with 50% sand and water, and left indoors for a day. The mixture can be used after a day or two, like a conventional plaster. A mix of lime and ‘gugar’ gum is applied over the lime plaster to achieve a smooth surface. The plaster is then cured for more than 2 weeks. 11. For interior finish, it is possible to apply a layer of white clay. One part of white clay and 4 parts of sand mixed with water for 4 days. Then gugar gum and juice of plants are added to this mixture as stabilizers. It is possible to opt for another layer of paint: white clay is added to water, while mixing thoroughly. This liquid mixture is then applied on the wall with a cloth to get a smooth colour, which at the same time protects the interior walls.     detail of ventilation system and view of Rabari school at Bhujodi 35
  • 36. 5.4 Influence of alternate technologies on local habitat During post-earthquake reconstruction some villages, like Rudramata, were relocated. These kind of choices were in most cases determined by economic factors: the purpose was to revitalize the economy by getting the village closer to the city. The choice of technologies to be used for reconstruction was also dictated primarily by economic factors: a low cost habitat was targeted while focusing on acceptable comfort standards and enhancing the use of local materials and resources. The adoption of stabilized earth came in response to the inhabitants’ needs: being already aware of the bioclimatic performance of earth as a building material, as well as of the structural strength and cultural value of round shaped bhungas, they accepted enthusiastically the proposal to use a local material like earth along with technological additions. This choice was justified mainly by low production costs, and also by greater durability achieved through stabilization, hence avoiding the periodic maintenance of the house. With the promotion of handicrafts as main source of livelihood, time to dedicate to house maintenance has been sensitively reduced. Women are now engaged in production of manufactured goods for trade rather than just for household use. Nevertheless, an earthen home is generally considered synonymous with poverty and concrete or stone building are usually preferred, whenever possible. As seen during the site visits, in many cases stabilized rammed earth bhungas are also plastered with cement to avoid periodic renewal of lipan, although this is not necessary. Unfortunately, with stabilization part of the thermal inertia of earth is lost, and this loss is even greater if a cement plaster is overlapped. Instead of cement plaster, the use of simple painting is encouraged, or lime plaster as a better option, although the latter is hardly available in the region. Where preexisting bhungas are found, like in Nanni Daddhar, they are mostly neglected and reduced to storage. This phenomenon took place in spite of the general awareness about the enhanced thermal comfort of old bhungas compared to new ones. In the same village structures like chowkis are still built using mud blocks, but they are afterwards plastered with cement to avoid maintenance work. Traditional skill of building with earth still exists and is widespread in the region. There is quite considerable scope for these skills to be utilized in coming years as well. Recent advances in research are fostering traditional earthen building in Kachchh region. Without stabilization, it is also possible to incorporate seismic safe features in earthen building. Soon the supply of earthen building processes and materials in the region will be even more diverse, thanks to the study of prototypes that combine the bioclimatic properties of unstabilized earth with recent advancements in earthquake engineering. 6. SOCIAL FACTORS INFLUENCING EARTH BUILDING PRACTICES   Women working on walls’ decorations at Hodco Tourist Centre. Photo Hunnar Shaala   6.1 Earthen building from and towards self-construction practices Diffusion of earth building technology in Kachchh was possible thanks to the preexistence of earthen construction practices. Inhabitants themselves are in most cases the builders of their homes, or there is collaboration between communities, so that professional masons help neighbours to build their houses. For instance, exchanges are very active between Harijan community, which is up to various forms of traditional crafts and is skilled in building, and Muslim community, mainly engaged in farming and herding. Relevant presence of wise building practices in Kachchh has allowed further promotion of earth as a building material during post-earthquake reconstruction. The objective has been to foster earthen building, while introducing new technological inputs such as stabilization and seismic safe features and to enhance participation of residents in all phases of projects. Training courses were set up at the headquarters of Abhiyan in Bhuj and in the villages. Full involvement of local artisans in the reconstruction process has been an important objective at this stage, and continues to be one of the main goals for revitalization of rural communities. In recent times use of unstabilized earth is experiencing a new phase in 36
  • 37. Kachchh. Having experimented and practiced stabilization for years, there is now an attempt to go back to the use of unstabilized earth, while introducing specific seismic safe features at structural level. This will allow greater autonomy to builders, who are already familiar with traditional construction practices. At Hodco tourist resort, for instance, traditional unstabilized earth was preferred, opting for mud blocks and stack walls. Reinforced concrete seismic bands were inserted as per guidelines. Particular attention was given to the execution of plaster. The execution of plaster is being researched upon and improved constantly in order to reduce maintenance. Since the economy of the region is increasingly dependent on the presence of visitors, potential buyers of local crafts, Hodco tourist resort was built by and for the residents of neighbouring villages in order to impulse new sources of income. 6.2 Enhancement of earthen building through participation Participatory approach is an essential component of technology transfer: only through full involvement of the beneficiaries transfer of knowledge becomes effective. During post-quake reconstruction in Kachchh it was possible to bring back to people a technology that had been tested over a long time -but at that time was applied only sporadically- in order to use it in a systematic manner. The stage of awareness was facilitated by prior knowledge of the building material -mati- by the inhabitants, and by the trust in earthquake resistant features of their traditional habitat. Organization of workshops and intensive courses contributed to foster a sense of belonging already present in the villagers, which were conscious of the cultural value of their habitat, as well as of the benefits of a cost effective technology like earthen building. 6.3 Interviews with resident self-builders The interviews reported here are punctual: unfortunately due to time and language limitations it was not possible to further investigate the sociological aspects of this research. The purpose of the interviews is to try and understand the level of knowledge of the technologies used and how people perceive their habitat, both in terms of bio-climatic performance, and of structural safety. The following is a series of impromptu questions during field visits and measure drawings, and an interview prepared previously, that could not be simultaneously translated. In some cases questions were interpreted Chowki at Nani Dadhar differently (interpretation by interviewee is shown in brackets).   Interview with Judía Ali, during the measure drawing of a chowki in the village of Nani Dadhar, 5 September 2006. C.C: When was this chowki built? J.A.: Three years ago C.C: Do you use more indoor or outdoor space? JA: The indoor space is used mainly as storage, and outdoor space for various activities. C.C: Who built this house? J.A.: I myself along with my family CC: How many people participated in the construction? J.A.: 15 or 16 people C.C.: How long did it take? J.A.: From 15 to 20 days 37
  • 38. C.C.: In which months have you built the house? JA: During the summers, during the month of ‘Phaguna’ 46 CC: How are you using the building at present? JA: We are not using it, repairing is going on. CC: Which problems are there for repairing? JA: No problem, but the necessary material was not directly available here. C.C.: Why do you use cement plaster? JA: Because it becomes stronger, and then you can use it over and over again, while we must renovate the lipan every time. CC: Do you know that the use of earth keeps houses cooler compared to cement plaster? JA: Yes, we know, but because of maintenance we prefer cement plaster. C.C.: Is this house a bhunga or a chowki? J.A.: Chowki. C:C.: What is a chowki? J.A.: A living room and a storage CC: Why did you first use earth during the construction of the chowki? JA: Because there was no cement, and also because with earth the environment is cooler. CC: If there had been cement, it would have been used? J.A.: Yes CC: Do you think people will continue to build houses out of earth? JA: It depends on economic factors, when somebody has more money he builds with cement CC: Are these Bhunga built with cement (stabilized earth) cooler than the traditional bhunga? JA: No, because the former bhunga had thatched roofs and were made of earth, while these bhunga have tile roofs and walls with cement, therefore they heat faster. CC: These new bhunga are made with cement to protect them from earthquakes or rain? J.A.: Both. C.C.: From where did you get the earth? J.A.: From the pond. C.C: How do you make the sun dried blocks? JA: A wooden mold is prepared, and then a mixture of earth, cow dung and water, mixed using feet, is poured in the wooden forms. CC: For how long do you dry them in the sun? J.A.: From 8 to 10 days. C.C: Which are the dimensions of the block? J.A.: 1 x 1.5 feet. 46 Month of Hindu calendar 38
  • 39. CC: How long did it take to make the wooden roof? J.A.: One or two days. C.C: Who buys the wood, the carpenter or you? J.A.: We go with the carpenter to buy the wood. C.C: How much did the house cost? J.A.: From 30 to 40,000 rupees. C.C: How much would it cost to do it with cement? J.A.: From 70 to 80,000 rupees. Interview with Kersan bhai, Nava Vas (Ludia), 21 September 2006. C.C: Is this a new village? K.B.: Meghpar, Nava Gam, Khavada C.C: Where are you from? K.B.: From Ludia, after earthquake Kersanbhai   CC: How many people live in this house? (How many people live in this village?) K.B. Before there were fewer people, now 50 families live in the village C.C: How old are you? K.B. : 35 C.C: When did you build this Bhunga? (Which materials did you use to build the Bhungas?) K.B.: Raw earth, earthen blocks and we also cut the wood for making them. C.C: When did you build this Bhunga? (Where have you built the Bhungas?) K.B.: I built the Bhungas in Banni, they are my own, and this is my work C.C: How old is this Bhunga? K.B.: 6 years. C.C: Did you build your house by yourself? (How many bhungas have you made?) K.B.: Actually I have built many, Chikkar (a lot) C.C: Who helped you? K.B.: Help? Mahila Vikas Sanghatan CC: How many people participated in the construction of this house? (How many Bhunga have been built by Mahila Vikas Sanghatan?) K.B.: In our village 36 Bhunga were built by Mahila Vikas Sanghatan. CC: How many people participated in the construction of this house? K.B.: Other people came from outside, at least 20 or 25. CC: How long did it take for you to build this house? (How long does it take to build one earthen Bhunga?) 39
  • 40. K.B.: A month and 20 days for a Bhunga. Only for the earthen walls and the Lipan. The construction of the roof has required another 12 days. The wood carving is to count separately: it took another 15 days. This carving is a normal one, while for a more complicated notch it may take 3 or 4 months, but you can finish the job even in a single month. ... There are doors, windows, tiles, .... there is the ‘patli’ above, and on top of this there is the ‘mann’, round ... if we put the ‘nalia’ (tiles), then we must do the ‘para’ over these .... A woman in a full day can do only one foot (30 cm), Lipan and drawings are made by women ... Depending on the work we have to calculate how many women will be needed ... We must take the clayey soil from outside the village, then we have to provide donkey dung, then you must work the dung and soften it carefully before mixing it with earth. Once the bhunga is built it has to be painted, and once the decorations are dry you start the finish. The drawings are made with clays of different colors and these clays can`t be found in any other place, only Kachcch. CC: On which month did you start the construction of this house? (on which months are Bhungas built?) K.B. : You can build them in winter, in summer, but not during the monsoons CC: Why did you use this material to build a house? (How are the blocks made?) Another person (Ramabhai) answers:-The cement blocks are made of concrete and sand. These are the pucca blocks and kachha are made of bagri husk (a cereal) ... then you add the dung and you soak it in water for two days, then it hardens ... all this is mixed and then the block is made. It should dry in the sun for 5 days, then we must turn them so that the outside remains still wet ... and then the block increases in volume. Kersan Bhai adds: - only the locals know which earth to use, otherwise the blocks crack. C.C: How did you make the wall? K.B.: It is what I have just answered. (I point his house in stabilized rammed earth) K.B.: There is a formwork, in which you put sand, cement and soil, and the mixture is beaten to harden. The design is the same as in the earthen bhunga, but this other material is used C.C: How did you make the foundations? Ramabhai replies: You dig into the earth for about 2 feet, and then put cement, stones and sand. Above these foundations construction in earthen blocks or any other material will begin. K.B. If the soil is hard, you have to make foundations one foot (30 cm) deep, and if it is soft, the foundations are made of two feet (60 cm), and we must prepare a base of stone, cement and concrete, above this we can put the blocks of adobe or other. The walls can be 6 to 7 feet high and the diameter can vary from 17 to 20 feet maximum.... If you want to make earthen Bhunga you have to use only earth, and if you want to make concrete Bhunga you will use only cement.... We need to project the roof outside, so that the wall is protected from the rain.... Have you seen all the houses that I have shown, they are made of earth, there will be soon a great festival and people from all over the world will come to see them. C.C: How long does it take to make the wall? K.B. : It takes 20 to 25 days to make the wall. 5 people work on it, and among these 2 are women. This way you can finish a well-made wall in 25 days CC: How long did it take to build the roof? (How long did it take for building the Bhunga?) K.B. There were 25 people working on it, so this one has been done more quickly, otherwise you need to do 2 foot (60cm) at a time, otherwise cracks are formed. CC: How long did it take to build the roof? K.B.: 15 days, with 3 people working on it. CC: Which kind of clay did you use for plastering the wall? White clay, yellow or red? K.B. : White clay 40
  • 41. C.C: From where did you procure this clay? K.B. one kilometer from the village boundaries CC: How often do you need to renew the Lipan? (How many times do you have to bring the soil from outside the village?) K.B. If we go twice, we must fill the tractor twice. Ramabhai replies: Once every three months Kersanbhai: during the rainy season, every month CC: Are you satisfied with the coolness of your house? K.B.: Now we have the fan and electricity, but even if we had not, the house would be pretty cool. CC: Would you change your home for one made of concrete or stone? K.B. : No C.C: Do you feel safe to live in this house? K.B.: Now there are some pieces of metal inside this Bhunga, and it is also more secure, and even earlier bhunga, made out of earth, were safe, but these are safer. In any case, everything depends on God will. During earthquake Maccan (rectangular) houses have fallen, but these did not fall, they are still standing. Therefore they are safer. Thank you.   Kesan bhai shows the placement of seismic safe reinforcement bands in his home   41  
  • 42. 6.4 Cultural and economical factors related to building with earth In Kachchh various forms of crafts are still intimately linked to various aspects of life. Also the construction of the house follows the rhythms of traditional life, by adjusting to seasonal cycles. Very often a house is built over the lapse of time between one and another activity, and usually is completed in conjunction with the marriage of the future inhabitants. Unstabilized earth construction is more laborious than stabilized earth and it is marked by several stages, to which the inhabitants of this region are used to, as to other long and complex procedures necessary for the production of their refined handicrafts. Earthen buildings, often completed by refined decorations, are an integral part of the cultural landscape of Kachchh. Kutchi people are aware of this fact, and this is also why bhungas could be proposed as permanent shelters during the reconstruction process. Communities of builders, like the Harijans, are thoroughly familiar with the traditional technologies currently in use, and especially with the structural features of bhungas. Craftsmen engage in woodcarving and leather manufacturing with endless passion, while women are mainly into embroidery. All these activities are industrious and creative, similarly to the construction and decoration of a bhunga. Fatigue associated with maintenance of the house is usually accepted, knowing that earthen plaster ensures a better thermal comfort than a cement one. Renovation of Lipan results in a collective ritual during the festival of Divali, after monsoons. These practices are bound to disappear when new economic factors intervene to modify the local life style. In most remote villages, like Dhumado, earthen building is the only possible option and at the question of whether concrete would be preferred to mud, the coherent answer is that cement is good for the city, not for a village like Dhumadho. In villages located closer to main roads, like Dhorodo, where trade has already triggered a certain degree of economic welfare, traditional habitat was altered with introduction of concrete buildings, of villas and often chaotic urban forms, which do not match with the regional morphology of kutchi villages. In many cases the inflow of funds for reconstruction has contributed to the spreading of ‘pucca’ houses, for which almost everybody strives. Only in case of economic restrictions stabilized earth was chosen as a viable alternative, and cost effectiveness remains at present the main incentive to continue building with earth. CONCLUSION The research, carried out through analysis of several case studies, has identified a wide range of applications of earth building technology in a well-defined area: extreme geographical conditions, combined with determining economic factors, are the ideal ground for application of earth building technology, which is cost effective and appropriate to Kachchh’s environmental conditions. We have seen how the traditional use of unstabilized earth, depending on readily available local resources, has been unfolded into different building techniques, such as earth blocks, stack walls and reinforced earth with wood and bamboo, and how these techniques are still being used. On the other hand, after 2001 earthquake, the introduction of stabilized earth resulted in a significant variation in the traditional habitat of Kachchh, widening the range of available building techniques and cost-effective building options. Even if low cost remains the main incentive to continue to build with earth, it is remarkable that on an average the inhabitants of Kachchh have a good perception of their own habitat, in the construction of which they are very often directly involved. They are also aware of the cultural value of their homes. Considered the recent revival of unstabilized earthen building, fostered by organizations at the forefront of research and particularly attentive to aspects of seismic safety in buildings, it is very much likely that earth will continue to be used as a building material in Kachcch region. Hopefully the ongoing process of enhancement of earth building technology will also be able to cope with the pressure exerted by rapidly changing economic factors. 42
  • 43. 1a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date: 31/08/2006 Period of construction: 2001, post earthquake Typology: Bhunga Interventions posterior to earthquake: none Location: Nava Vas village, Near Ludia, 70 km north of Bhuj Mud blocks bhunga typical building typologies at Nava vas village Plan and elevation Cross section and elevation Cross section scale 1/100 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Generally adobe construction starts with the dry season, at the end of monsoon. Blocks are made out of clayey soil and rice husk; their size is 20x30x10 cm.Stages of adobe construction areas follows: 1. A trench is dug, 30 cm deep and 45 cm widht. The blocks for foundations are layed using a compund of local soil and cement for the mortar. 2. Walls are built in continuity with foundations, using a mortar made out of cow dung and local soil, mixed with water until the compound is workable. 3. Lintels, door and window openings are inserted where necessary. 4. The platform -otla- is then built using stone and soil, until a height of about 30 cm or more. The otla is then coated with a thin layer of clay, which is applied also on the walls of the bhunga protecting them at the base. The finishing layer, locally called lipan, is composed of clayey soil and dung. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls: adobe Roof: bearing structure of wood and bamboo, tatched roof tightened with rope. Floor: cement Fixtures: wood for doors, wood and wrought iron for windows Interior plaster: stucco composed of white clay and cow or horse dung, suitable for relief ornamentations. Exterior plaster: lipan, composed of clayey soil and cow dung Partitions: absent Fixed furniture - interior: clay and wood Fixed furniture - exterior: soil, cement, wood and mangalore tiles for the veranda 43
  • 44. 1b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Otla and veranda Integrated shelves manje for textiles storage mural decorations Pedlo with traditional furniture: two manje for storing textiles and one kothalo NOTES: This bhunga appears to be structurally sound: a single transversal beam ortogonal to the door’s axes supports the central post, on which the roof rests. The interior is enriched by traditional ornamentation, a mural relief emphasized by small mirrors (ambhla). Construction of these traditional bhungas was promoted after 2001 earthquake by NGO Manav Sadhna, which fostered the reconstrucion of several settlements around Ludyia, near Kavhda. 44
  • 45. 2a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:02/09/2006 Period of construction: previous to earthquake Typology: Bhunga Interventions posterior to construction: none Location: Tunda Vandh village, Near Manvi, 60 km south-east of Bhuj Mixed habitat in Tunda vandh ‘Stack walls’ mud bhunga at Tunda vandh, next to brick shelters Plan BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Stack walls: a compound of clayey soil previously moulded into loaves, is stacked or thrown with force, and then shaped using hands in order to build the bhunga’s wall. This process will result in a very thick and resistant monolithic wall. A final coating - the lipan - is then applied in order to protect and smoothen the surface. The roof is resting on a central post and on the perimetral wall. Cross section and elevation Cross section scale 1/100 MATERIAL USED: Bearing walls: mud stack walls Roof: Understructure made out of palm wood sourced from the coastal area and covered with small twigs tied with rope Floor: cement Fixtures: wood for doors, wrought iron for windows Interior plaster: stucco made out of white clay and horse (or cow) dung, suitable for relief ornamentation Exterior plaster: cement on front wall; lipan, made out of clayey soil and cow dung on back wall. Partitions: absent Traditional furniture: clay and wood Outdoor finish: cement for the platform- otla. 45
  • 46. 2b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Niche with small opening for ventilation Spiralling structure of the roof Foreground: central post holding the roof. Background: pedlo with traditional furniture kothalo and manje- Roofing components are tied with rope Traditional furniture: panjaro Roof scheme - scale 1:200 detail of the roofing system using palm wood sourced from the coast NOTES: in Tunda Vandh bhungas showcase a different roofing system. A central post reaching to the floor holds the roof, which in addition is resting on the perimetral wall. Rather than by concentric trusses, the understucture is given by a single truss that unfolds as a spiral and serves to hold together the twigs and other filling elements, on which the thatched roof is resting. Presence of grass around the perimetral walls indicates lack of drainage. This problem can be seen everywhere in the village, where the grass often reaches the roofs of the bhungas. Presence of grass around the wall indicates lack of drainage 46
  • 47. 3a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date: 04/09/2006 Period of construction: 1985 Typology: Bhunga Interventions posterior to construction: after the earthquake addition of a post in order to support the damaged bearing structure Location: Dhorodho village , 70 km north of Bhuj Earth block bhunga at Dhorodho Typical building typologies ad Dhorodho Plan Elevation Cross section BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Generally adobe construction starts with the dry season, at the end of monsoon. Blocks are made out of clayey soil and rice husk and their size is 20x30x10 cm. Stages of adobe construction are as following: 1. A trench is dug 30 cm deep and 45 cm width. The blocks for foundations are laid using a compound of local soil and cement for the mortar. 2. Walls are built in continuity with foundations, using a mortar made out of cow dung and local soil, mixed with water until the compound is workable. 3. Lintels, door and window openings are inserted where necessary. 4. The platform -otla- is then built using stone and soil, until the height of about 30 to 40 cm and sometimes more. The otla is then coated with a thin layer of clay, which is applied also on the walls of the bhunga protecting them at their base. The plaster layer, called lipan, is composed of clayey soil and dung. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls: adobe Roof: wood and bamboo understructure, thatched roof hold with rope. Floor: cement Fixtures : wooden doors and windows Interior plaster: stucco made out of white clay and dung, suitable for relief ornamentations. Exterior plaster : lipan, composed of clayey soil and dung, cement Partitions: absent Traditional furniture: clay, wood, cement for the pedlo lining Exterior finish: the platform- otla - is coated with cement. 47
  • 48. 3b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Support for the central beam Wooden structure supporting the roof Sanjero Wooden window shutters Interior of the bhunga with stucco mural ornamentations and traditional furniture Door lintel Textile ceiling cover NOTES: This bhunga shows one intervention posterior to earthquake: one post was added as a strengthening measure in order to hold the damaged central beam. On an overall the building seems to be well maintained, and displays particularly rich and detailed ornamentations. The wall is very thick, providing space for niches and shelves in its upper part. This bhunga doesn’t show the typical 1:1 ratio between diameter and roof height, the roof being quite narrowed down. The exterior perimetral wall shows a white color coating, most probably laid on a cement finish, given the smooth and regular texture of the wall’s surface. The floors are also plastered with cement both indoor and outdoor. Cement plaster was also applied on the interior wall of the bhunga up to the level where clay ornamentations start. Wood and bamboo roof understructure 48
  • 49. 4a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date: 05/09/2006 Period of construction: unknown Typology: Bhunga Interventions posterior to construction: none Location: Ramnagar village, about 50 km north-east of Bhuj Wattle and daub bhunga at Ramnagar village Plan Typical village layout at Ramnagar BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS Wattle and daub : the roof understructure is given by twigs and bamboo tied together, while it was observed that the prevailing material for wattle and daub walls in this village is bamboo. In both cases, either wood or bamboo, a framework is made then a compound of soil and dung is applied on the supporting framework, with lipan as ultimate layer. The roof is formed by twigs tied together on a bamboo understructure, and it is anchored to the wall through wooden angular elements, locally called khuta. MATERIAL USED: Bearing walls: wattle and daub Roof: twigs fixed with rope Floor: lipan Fixtures: plywood for the door, windows absent Interior plaster: lipan with three natural pigmented clay : white, yellow and red Exterior plaster: lipan, natural pigments for ornamentations Traditional furniture: clay and wood Exterior elements: lipan for the platform -otla- wood and Mangalore tiles for the veranda Cross section and elevation 49
  • 50. 4b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY ‘Khuta’: wooden angular element for fixing the roof to the wall traditional wood and earth furniture Pedlo Mural decorations using natural pigments wall ornamentations with pigmented clay and embedded shelves Interior with traditional furniture Roof scheme scale 1/100 Central cone for closing the roof - mann- tatched roof and mangalore tiles veranda NOTES: the roof is made out of twigs tied together with rope and fixed to the wall through angular wooden elements -khuta - and jute bags for waterproofing are laid between the twigs’ framework and the thatch cover. jute bags for waterproofing detail of ‘khuta’ 50
  • 51. 5a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date: 05/09/2006 Period of construction: 2006 Typology: Chowki Interventions posterior to construction: the building is yet to be completed Location: Nani Daddhar village, about 50 km north-east of Bhuj Mud blocks’ chowki Settlement layout. Map courtesiy Hunnar Shaala Plan BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Adobe building. Generally adobe construction starts with the dry season, at the end of monsoon. The blocks used for this building are composed of clayey soil, water and dung, and their size is 30x45x12 cm. The compound for the blocks is mixed using feet. Once moulded, the blocks are let to dry in the sun for one or two weeks. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls: adobe, blocks size is 30x45x12 cm Roof: wooden understructure, mangalore tiles concrete on the eaves, in order to fix the tiles Floor: to be completed Fixtures: wood for the door, wood and wrought iron for windows Interior plaster: lipan Exterior plaster: earth, to be coated with a cement plaster once the work is finished. Partitions: absent Embedded Interior furniture: absent Exterior elements: earth for the platform -otla-, wood and mangalore tiles for the veranda Cross section and elevation 51
  • 52. 5b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY wooden roof bearing structure finely carved detail of structural joint Exterior shelves Detail of wooden structural joint Windows with wooden fixtures and wrought iron bars Roof scheme scale 1/200 detail of the wooden structure Woodcarving details NOTES: The wooden roof’s structure showcases refined details of woodcarving, and interesting structural joints at the top of the wooden post in the veranda. Mangalore tiles are fixed at the eaves using concrete in order to contrast wind pressure. Though not insulating, the roof allows enough ventilation, as it is shown in the detail of connection between roof and wall: the roof is actually detached from the wall to optimise air circulation. Wooden roof understructure Veranda 52
  • 53. 6a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date: 04/09/2006 Period of construction: 2004 Typology: House with rectangular plan Interventions after construction: none Location: Dhumado village, about 50 km north of Bhuj Earthen houses at Dhumado Plan Settlement’s layout BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: In wattle and daub construction branches and twigs are used for the walls’ framework, which is then coated with a earthen compound. Smaller twigs that fill the gaps between branches are tied together with straw rope in order to improve structural stability. A mixture of clayey soil and dung is then applied on the structure, both on the inner and outer surface. A thin finishing layer -locally called lipan- completes and protects the walls. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls: framework of branches and earthen coating Roof: wooden understructure, mangalore tiles cover cement on the edges in order to fix the mangalore tiles Floor: lipan Fixtures: wood for the door, branches for windows (continuity of framework) Interior plaster: earth Exterior plaster: lipan Partitions: absent Traditional furniture: absent Exterior elements: earth for the platform -otla-. Cross section and elevation 53
  • 54. 6b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Wooden roof understructure Shelves Shelves and opening Small opening for ventilation Roof understructure Mangalore tiles roof with ventilation Details of woodcarving NOTES: the wooden roof structure showcases refined details of woodcarving. Mangalore tiles are fixed at the edges with concrete, probably to contrast wind pressure. Ventilation through the roof is improved through the insertion of two small ‘chimneys’, obtained from two semi-cylindrical tiles. Details of ventilation 54
  • 55. 7a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:17/08/2006 Period of construction: 2001 Typology: bhunga Interventions after construction: none Project KMVS and HUNNAR SHAALA Location: Rudramata village, 25 km north of Bhuj Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks Bhunga at Rudramata. Photo courtesy Hunnar Shaala Plan Hamlet of Rudramata village BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocks(SCEB): in stabilized blocks cement is added (7-8%) to soil in order to produce the blocks in a manual press. The mixture of soil and cement ( 9293% of soil, composed of 75% sand,15% clays and silt for the remaining portion, to which a 7-8% cement is added), is mixed and with this compound the blocks are produced in the Mardini press. The soil is first sieved, dry mixed with cement, and then water is added while continuing to mix. To produce the block the compound is then introduced in the press operated by two person. The blocks are then cured on a platform for 21 days. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls : Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocs (SCEB) with steel rods as vertical reinforcement and horizontal reinforced concrete bands at various levels as seismic safety measures. Roof: wooden understructure, mangalore tiles cover Floor: cement Fixtures : wooden doors and windows Interior plaster: sometimes cement is used as an addition, otherwise interior plaster is not required Exterior plaster: generally not required or a single layer of paint Partitions: absent Interior traditional furniture: wood Exterior elements: cement and stone for the platform -otla- 55
  • 56. 7b TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Plan, scale 1/100 230 mm thk cement stabilized earth block masonry in 1:4 mortar (in zone 5) with soil (70% sand + 30% (clay +silt) stabilized by 7% of cement by weight; window 450mm x 450mm with wooden frame concrete block 1:3:6 mx decoro 'contemporaneo' a Rudramata 10 mm dia tor steel vertical bar in 75 mm x 75 mm concrete casing of 1:1.5:3 mix. Total - 6 no.s door 900mm x 900mm with wooden frame scale diameter Cross section, scale 1/100 mann (tapered roof memeber) mangalore tiles roof with wooden understructure iron flat (25mm x 2 mm) MS angle 35x35x5 (billy) to anchor main rafter billy anchored with 10 mm dia. bolt RCC seismic reinforcement band Drawings courtesy Hunnar Shaala 56
  • 57. 8a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:17/08/2006 Period of construction: 2001 Typology: bhunga Interventions after construction: none Project KMVS and HUNNAR SHAALA Location: Rudramata village, 25 km north of Bhuj Stabilized rammed earth bhunga at Nani Daddhar Plan Settlement’s layout. Map courtesy of Hunnar Shaala BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS Stabilized rammed earth: As for stabilized compressed earthen blocks, stabilization of rammed earth is obtained by adding about 7-8% of cement to the soil by weight and ramming the mixture with appropriate instruments inside a wooden formwork in order to obtain a monolithic wall. The main advantage of this construction technique is that the bhunga’s wall can be finalised in one day, thanks to the fact that the soil and cement mixture can be poured directly without requiring specialized labor. A stabilized rammed earth wall construction results therefore to be more economic, rapid and robust, as joints are absent. Also within a stabilized rammed earth wall horizontal reinforced concrete bands as well as vertical steel rods have to be incorporated at different levels as seismic safety measures. Photos Hunnar Shaala Bearing walls: stabilized rammed earth with vertical steel rods and horizontal RCC bands at various level as seismic safety measures Roofing: wooden understructure, mangalore tiles Floor: cement Fixtures: wooden doors and windows frames Interior plaster: sometimes cement (addition), or absent Exterior plaster : paint or absent Partitions: absent Interior fixed furniture: wood Exterior elements: cement and stone for the platform -otla- 57
  • 58. 8b TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Roof scheme : scale 1/100 mangalore tiles roof on wooden understructure mann (tapered roof member) beam (addi) dia. 177 mm Plan: scale 1/100 230 mm thk cement stabilized rammed earth. Composition of stabilized soil: 70% sand and 30% clay+silt + 8% of cement by weight window 450 mm x 450 mm precasted RCC frame and wooden shutters 10 mm dia. steel bar in 75 mm x 75mm concrete casing. Total - 6 no.s door 900mm X 1800mm wooden frame diameter 4500 mm Dia. 4500 mm Drawings courtesy Hunnar Shaala Scale 58
  • 59. 9a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:05/09/2006 Period of construction: 2003 Typology: school Interventions after construction: none Project HUNNAR SHAALA Location: Bhujodi village, 7 km east of Bhuj Entrance to Bhujodi’s school. Photo courtesy Hunnar Shaala Overview of the school Plan BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS Bhujodi’s primary school was built using wattle and daub (with bamboo) and stabilized earthen blocks. Mixing stabilized earth with traditional unstabilized earth construction, stabilized compressed earthen columns and walls where used as bearing structure and wattle and daub for filling wall. Every three courses of stabilized earthen blocks one course of U blocks is inserted to fix the bamboo framework to the bearing masonry. The alternated bamboo culms are tied together and also to the reinforcement steel rods of the bearing structure. Plan scale 1/100 MATERIALS USED: Bearing structure : stabilized earthen blocks, in the form of very thick circular columns, RCC bands Non bearing walls: wattle and daub, using bamboo panels. Roof: wooden structure, mangalore tiles cover Fixtures: wooden doors, bamboo panels for windows Floors: pigmented cement Partitions: wattle and daub (using bamboo) Interior furniture: wood, metal Exterior elements: stabilized earth, wood Cross section and elevation Cross section scale 1/100 Drawings courtesy Hunnar Shaala Elevation scale 1/100 59
  • 60. 9b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Production of a wattle and daub panel (with bamboo as framework). Various configuration for ventilation are possible with wattle and daub wall panels. The panel is fixed to the bearing structure. Soil preparation. Bearing columns out of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks. NOTES: Wattle and daub needs fibrous materials like cow dung and rice husk, in order to compensate for the clayey soil which is used. These also function as stabilizers. They help reduce shrinkage cracks that can eventually appear on the panel. Traditionally neem leaves and juices of various plants were used as stabilizers. Before being used bamboo is chemically treated with sodium dicromate, copper sulphate and boric acid. Photos courtesy Hunnar Shaala 60
  • 61. 10a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:12/08/2006 Period of construction: 2005 Typology: tourist resort Interventions after construction: none Project HUNNAR SHAALA with the participation of the inhabitants of Hodco village Location: next to Hodco, about 50 Km north of Bhuj morphological features HodcoTourist resort layout. Site plan Courtesy Hunnar Shaala View from the veranda towards the rooms Site plan. Scale 1:20001/2000 Site plan scale TENTS BUILDINGS TENTS POND RESTAURANT SERVICES POND BUILDINGS OPEN AMPHITHEATRE AREA Plan ofof a typical room : 1:200 Plan a typical room. Scale scale 1/200 PARKING wo od en po sts BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING PROCESS: STACK WALLS buildings: a clayey soil compound is moulded into loaves, and then stack or thrown with force to be shaped using hands for making the wall. The result is a very thick and resistant monolithic wall (45 cm thick). A finishing layer -lipan- is then applied to protect the surface. ADOBE buildings: Sun dried mud blocks are produced using clayey soil and rice husk. Rice husk is a fibrous material, which can be crushed in small pieces. The grains produced by crushing enhance the material’s cohesion and the blocks resistance. The blocks used for the bhungas suites form a 45 cm thick wall. Both adobe and stack walls buildings incorporate horizontal RCC seismic reinforcement bands at different levels. Another technology used in Hodco tourist centre is the space truss for the roof of the veranda. MATERIALS USED: Bearing walls: stack walls and adobe with reinforcement RCC bands Roof: wooden understructure and thatch cover Floor: cement Fixtures: wooden doors and windows Exterior plaster: lime plaster Partitions: earth Interior furniture: clay and wood, stainless steel for the services (kitchen) Exterior elements: clay and wood for the platform -otla - and various ornamentations Drawings courtesy Hunnar Shaala 61
  • 62. 10b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Cross section thatched roof wooden understructure RCC reinforcement band Stack wall RCC reinforcement band RCC reinforcement band RCC reinforcement band Stack wall Drawing courtesy Hunnar Shaala 62
  • 63. 11a TYPOLOGICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Date:12/08/2006 Period of construction: 2006 Typology: Craft Centre Interventions after construction: the building is currently under construction Project by Neelkhant Chhaya with HUNNAR SHAALA Location: Kukma, near Bhuj Overview of the construction site Layout of the Craft centre Ground floor plan administration sector BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS The Craft Park showcases several construction techniques: Stabilized Compressed Earthen Blocks, stabilized rammed earth, wattle and daub (using bamboo), fly ash bricks , stone. It is a park for local crafts, where several building materials are experimented. The project showcases the potential of earthen and recycled materials in architecture. Bearing structures are made out of RCC, as well as slabs and seismic safe horizontal reinforcement bands are incorporated at various levels in the constructions. Elevation Z STABILIZED COMPRESSED EARTHEN BLOCK MASONRY RAMMED EARTH WALL Cross section X MATERIALS USED: Bearing structures: reinforced concrete, steel columns Mansonry walls: SCEB, stabilized rammed earth, fly ash bricks Filling wall panels: wattle and daub (with bamboo framework) Roofs: metal understructure, mangalore tiles cover Floors: IPS (pigmented cement) Fixtures: wood Interior plasters: absent Exterior plasters : only for residential building, lime plaster. Partitions: fly ash bricks in residential buildings Interior furniture: currently absent Exterior elements: currently absent STABILIZED COMPRESSED EARTHEN BLOCK MASONRY BAMBOO / WOOD GABLE AND SCREEN STABILIZED COMPRESSED EARTHEN BLOCK MASONRY RAMMED EARTH WALL RCC BAND RAMMED EARTH WALL Drawings courtesy Hunnar Shaala 63
  • 64. 11b PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY Wattle and daub panels Wattle and daub framework. Photo Hunnar Shaala RCC and steel structure, stabilized rammed earth walls and wattle and daub panels Stabilized rammed earth walls RCC horizontal bands inserted at various levels Details of Stabilized rammed earth walls NOTES: This project showcases various building systems, such as fly ash bricks, Compressed Stabilized Earthen Blocs, stabillized rammed earth and wattle and daub panels using bamboo. The Craft Park not only demonstrates how it is possible to adopt alternate and sustainable technologies, but it will also showcase innovations that can be brought into the construction process by local craftmen such us laquers, carpenters, smiths and others. The project is by professor Neelkanth Chhaya, along with Hunnar Shaala Foundation. 64
  • 65. REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGENTS AA.VV, Asia’s old dwellings. Tradition, resilience and change, edited by Ronald G.Knapp, Oxford University press, New York, 2003 AA.VV, Encyclopedia of vernacular architecture of the world, edited by Paul Olivier, Cambridge University Press, 1997. AA.VV, Nani Dadhar Housing, in http//www.archnet.com AA,VV.,Tour de la terre, Ecomusée Nord-Dauphine, CRATerre-AEG, Villefontaine, France 1987. APURVA Amin, Banni house form: a study of the phenomenon of change, thesis, CEPT, Ahmedabad, 1996. ARYA A.S., BOEN T., Earthquake resistant construction of earthen housing, in International workshop Earthen Buildings in Seismic Areas, Conference Proceedings, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 24-28, 1981, Vol.1, pp.1-10 BARDOU Patrick, ARZOUMANIAN Varoujan, Archi de terre, Ed.Parenthèses, Paris, 1978 CRAterre, Construire en terre, Ed.L’Harmattan, Paris, 1995 DETHIER Jean, L’avenir de l’architecture de terre, in “The Unesco Courier: a window open to the world”, XXXVIII, N°3/1985, pp.31-33. DE VOS Ashley, A survey of the painted Mud Viharas of Sri lanka, in “Adobe. International symposium and training workshop on the conservation of adobe. Final report and majors papers. Lima-Cusco 1983” ICCROM, Roma, 1983, pp.69-75. EERI Special Earthquake report – April 2001, Preliminary observations on the Origin and Effects of the January 26, 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat, India) Earthquake, Http://www. EERI.org EERI, World houses enciclopedia, Bhongas houses. www.eeri.org www.cinl.utb.ac.in /BhujEarthquake/Cover_Pages.htm GSDMA, Guidelines for repair, restoration and retrofitting of Mansory Buildings in Kachchh earthquake affected areas of Gujarat, March 2002. GRIMAUD Vincent, L’habitat indien moderne. Espaces et pratiques, ed. recherche sur les civilisations, Paris, 1986. GUILLAUD Hubert, HUBEN Hugo, Traité de construction en terre, Ed.Parenthèses, Marseille, 1989. JAYRAJ, Annie (2002), Experiences in disaster management in Andhra Pradesh, in “Improving post desaster reconstruction in developing countries”. i-REC conference proceedings, i-Rec, Montreal. http//www.GRIF.UMontreal.ca/pages/papersmenu.html JEST Corneille, SANDAY John, The Palace of Leh in Ladakh : an example of Himalayan architecture in need of conservation, in « Momentum, The Intenational Journal of Architectural Conservation, Vol.25, N°3/1982, ed. Derek Linstrum. JIGYATSU, Rohit, From Marathwada to Gujarat – Emerging challenges in post-earthquake rehabilitation for susteinable eco-development in South Asia, in “Improving post desaster reconstruction in developing countries”. i-REC conference proceedings, i-Rec, Montreal, 2002. http//www.GRIF.UMontreal.ca/pages/papersmenu.html JIGYATSU, Rohit, Reducing disaster vulnerability through local knowledge and capacity. The case of earthquake prone rural communities in India and Nepal, Dr.ing thesis, Throndheim, July 2002 JOYTSAN K, NILAKANTHA Ashari, La science de l’habitat en Inde : Vastu Shastra, Ed. Guy Trédaniel, Paris, 1996. HUNNARSHAALA FOUNDATION for Building Technology and Innovation, Kutchi Bhunga, Traditoinal House in Hot and Arid Gujarat, Rural technology park, A project of national Institute of Rural development – Hydrabad. KEIGHTLEY W.O, Planned testing program on the Roorkee Shock Table, in “International workshop Earthen Buildings in Seismic Areas”, Conference Proceedings, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 24-28, 1981, Vol.1, pp.215-235. K.NATARAJAN, Menon, Kachchh . The crown of Gujarat, ed.Basera, Bhuj, 1999 KUTCH NAV NIRMAN ABHIYAN, Abhyian earthquake rehabilitation efforts 65
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  • 67. Special thanks to Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan and Hunnarshaala Foundation in Bhuj for logistic and documentation support as well as precisous information about the case studies presented in this research. Thanks to the CRD-PVS research centre at Politecnico di Torino, especially to professor Nuccia Maritano Comoglio and Arch. Francesca De Filippi, for the support and confidence demonstrated towards my interest in this particular topic. 67