Collapsible woven refugee shelters by designer Abeer Seikaly
“More than 40 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes and left to find shelter in strange lands. Maybe they find a tarp, or a tent, but their quality of life almost always remains dismal. To close this gap in need, Jordanian-Canadian architect and designer Abeer Seikaly designed a new kind of shelter. One that allows refugees to rebuild their lives with dignity.
Seikaly, now living in Amman, Jordan is well poised to design a dwelling for refugees given that her ancestors in Jordan probably toggled between nomadic and sheltered life in the desert for centuries.”
Directions for DIY wrap-around porch on strawbale house
“Climate and weather in the high desert of Arizona are harsh. Granted, we don’t have the severe cold of northern states, but monsoonal rains driven by 50 mph winds and intense sun that will burn skin through a long sleeved shirt can be tough on a building made of straw and adobe clay.
To counter the effects of the wind, we built our house with its back to the prevailing winds from the west and put only one window in the back wall. For rain and sun, we opted for a 360 degree porch or patio. Choose the name you like. Basically it’s an extension of our roof 8’ past the outer wall and floored with flagstone. With this overhang, our adobe plaster walls were protected from all but the most severe driving rains and our windows were shaded from the intense Arizona sun. The overhang also gave us a shady spot out of the wind to enjoy our mountain views any time of day. All good things!”
More at the source: Grit.com
Thanks to Carroll for this tip. This looks like a good magazine like Mother Earth News.
Small Scale, Big Change by Andres Lepik (Author), Barry Bergdoll (Introduction)
“The role of the global architect in society is changing. Instead of waiting for commissions to come their way, architects are initiating and developing practical solutions in response to dramatically changing living conditions in many parts of the world today. Small Scale, Big Change focuses on a central chapter of this shift, presenting recently built or under-construction works in underserved communities around the globe by 11 architects and firms.
Without sacrificing concern for aesthetics, these architects have developed projects that reveal a post-utopian specificity of place; their architectural solutions emerge from close collaboration with future users and sustained research into local conditions. The projects–which include schools, parks, housing and infrastructural interventions–reveal an exciting change in the longstanding dialogue between architecture and society, as the architect’s roles, methods, approaches and responsibilities are dramatically reevaluated. They also offer an expanded definition of sustainability that moves beyond experimentation with new materials and technologies to encompass larger concepts of social and economic sustainability. Small Scale, Big Change examines the evolving standards of responsibility and participation in architecture and the ways in which architects can engage critically with larger social, economic and political issues currently facing communities around the world.”
Practical Action.org: Micro-concrete Roofing Tile Production
“Much attention has been paid to developing the small-scale production of concrete roofing tiles as an affordable alternative to both traditional roofing materials, such as thatch, and modern, mass-produced, often inappropriate, galvanized iron sheeting or asbestos cement. These tiles are relatively low in cost, durable (with a life span expected to exceed 20 years in most areas), aesthetically acceptable, able to offer adequate security and comfort, and provide protection from both the heavy rain and the hot sun.
Concrete roofing tiles are now produced by small businesses in a number of countries in Africa, South and Central America, Asia and Southeast Asia, and in the former Soviet Union. The key to the success of this technology was the development of equipment and techniques to produce the tiles on a small scale. It typically costs US$5,000 (excluding land and buildings) to set up a concrete roofing tile workshop, and can be less than US$1,000 in areas where the vibration equipment and the moulds are made locally.”
Microconcrete roofing tiles are now big business in some parts of the world. Our building supply centers have an area about half the size of a football field with many colors and styles of roofing tiles to choose from. The quality of big name brands is far above what can be made on machines like in the video. Quite impressive, actually, and I love the tile look. I like MCR tiles because they’re more durable and look better than most metal roofing, and don’t get as noisy in rainstorms. MCR tiles are fast and easy to install. However, metal roofing is my favorite for speed and ease of installation. Both work well for roofwater harvesting.
In the North East of Brazil, millions of people battle to grow food around their houses due to toxic grey water from washing and sewage that runs outside. But now a newly designed biowater filtering system has the potential to change all of their lives. The dirty water passes through a filtering system. The filtered water is then clean enough to use to irrigate the land. This is the story of Ulisses dos Santos who has tested out the system for one year. Now he is not only eating better, but also making a profit.”