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Top Architecture Prize Goes to Low-Cost Housing Pioneer From India

Balkrishna Doshi, the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize for architecture doesn’t talk just about his buildings. This architect, urban planner and educator talks about how his buildings aim to foster a sense of community, how space can promote inner peace, how cities can contribute to the health of a society.

Considered a pioneer of low-cost housing, Mr. Doshi, 90, is thrilled to have been awarded the 2018 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor, which was announced on Wednesday. He is the first laureate from India, and worked with the 20th-century masters Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn.

Mr. Doshi has been consumed with larger issues like social good and sustainability. And he bemoans a culture and profession that he sees as overly concerned with the bottom line. “One is all the time looking at financial returns — that is not only what life is,” he said. “I think wellness is missing.”

What Mr. Doshi means by “wellness,” he said, are considerations like how we can “connect with silence”; how “life can be lived at your own pace”; and “how do we avoid the use of an automobile.”

The architect has brought this type of philosophical thinking to projects like his Aranya Low Cost Housing in Indore (1989), where more than 80,000 low- and middle-income residents now live in homes ranging from modest one-room units to spacious houses, with shared courtyards for families.

Read the full article at the NY Times

The post Top Architecture Prize Goes to Low-Cost Housing Pioneer From India appeared first on Natural Building Blog.

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Migrating Culture Earthbag Chalet

Earthbag Chalet in Ghana by Migrating Culture

Earthbag Chalet in Ghana by Migrating Culture

Sometimes I go back and research previous projects to see if there’s any news. I was pleasantly surprised to see the NGO Migrating Culture making excellent progress in Ghana. Earlier we profiled their Mahali Project. Since then they’re gone on to build other projects include this very nice modern earthbag home called the Aseseeso Project. You can see a slideshow of the entire build.

The Aseseeso earthbag chalet under construction. Note how it’s built on sloping ground.

The Aseseeso earthbag chalet under construction. Note how it’s built on sloping ground.

Eco + Logical Solutions — MIGRATING CULTURE is an African / American design campaign creatively established in 2006 with key projects in Ghana- West Africa. Idealistically the original concept in 2006 was to organize a consortium of artisans that would enable a cultural exchange both locally (Ghana) and worldwide. To showcase their skills, techniques and trades in an effort to produce modern solutions to a variety of the challenges that confront developing communities; with emphasis on rural applications, due to the abundance of both human and natural resources present.

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Rain Harvest Calculator

Darrel sent in a note on the Rain Harvest Calculator that he has developed and made available free of charge on his website.  Its a dandy.

Its a very good Rain Harvest tool that provides a lot of flexibility — you have control over all of the following:

  • Location — specify your location and the calculator looks up the average monthly rainfall.
  • Collection area
  • Collection efficiency
  • Water usage by month
  • Water storage available
  • Supplementary water available by month
  • Specify years with less or more than average rainfall
The calculator provides very nice graphic output that makes it very clear what your rain harvest and water supply situation is and makes it very easy to do what if studies on collection area, storage, usage, …
Well worth having if you are planning a rain water harvesting system.
Thanks Darrel!
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David’s DIY drainback solar water heating system

David has designed and built a very nice solar water heating system for his energy efficient home. It is a drainback system that uses an EPDM lined, non-pressurized wood tank for heat storage.
Some of the highlights of Dave’s system…
  • Tank design suitable for limited height crawlspaces.
  • Nice tank frame design using half lap joints for the corners
  • Used new old-stock commercial collectors at a very good price
  • Efficient heat exchanger installation
  • Using used and recycled materials kept the cost of the system down
David with his three drainback collectors
David’s system consists of three collectors mounted vertically on the south wall of his house. The heat storage tank for the system is in the crawl space under the collectors. Its a drainback system, so for freeze protection, the water in the collectors drains back to the heat storage tank when the pump turns off.
The collectors were obtained on Craig’s list as “new old-stock” for a very good price.
The heat storage tank is a non-presurized, wood framed, insulated with polyiso rigid foam, and then lined with an EPDM liner – this is a design that has been used on quite a few Build It Solar projects, and works well.
David with heat storage tank in his 29 inch deep crawl space.
The heat exchanger uses a 300 ft coil of pex pipe that has been used successfully on several Build-It-Solar projects. The scheme that Dave used to support the pipe coil and space the coils out is very nicely done and likely provides a worthwhile gain in heat transfer efficiency. One nice thing about this style of heat exchanger is that it stores several gallons of fully preheated water right in the coil.
PEX coil heat exchanger with nice coil separation and support scheme.

See all the details here…

January 13, 2018
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Stuffing blinds

Releasing this one a few weeks late, but a few weeks ahead of waterfowl and archery season. Jeff, Blair, myself, and 3 of my family finally crushed a waterfowl hunt on camera. 84 birds in 2 hours, exactly half and half Canadas and mallards. The plan was to base an entire episode around this hunt, but as sometimes happens we ended up with more material than expected later in the season, and so the cameras follow us and our haul of birds down to the grasslands to see through the original plan of revisiting the grasslands for mule deer for the first time since S1. The birds kinda got in the way, and we’re glad they did.

Mule deer and archery figured prominently in S1, and not at all in S2. It was a regret. In part because archery offers some really interesting variety in tackle, in part because the grasslands are such a fascinating ecoregion, and in large part because my family has been hunting from that same spot since 1972 or thereabouts, so there’s some serious tradition and family heritage that were being ignored. That place and its wild things are now baked into the production plan for S3/4/5+. S3E9 & 10 will make up for some of that lost time, and really dig into mule deer cookery in a big way. Trailer below.