Výpisky: Building with Earth & Building Without Borders – Sustainable Construction For the Global Village

K nepravidelnému seriálu o přírodním stavitelství připojuji výpisky ze dvou velmi inspirativních knih. První kniha (Builders without Borders) je kolektivní prací a pojednává o možnostech a zejména velkých šancích a příslibech, které přírodní stavitelství skýtá tzv. rozvojovému světu. Autorem druhé knihy (Building with Earth) je německý profesor architektury Gernot Minke, jeden z čelních odborníků a průkopníků stavění z hlíny a slámy v Evropě. Jak vidno, knihy jsou to v originále anglické, pročež i výpisky jsou v témže jazyce. Knihu Gernota Minke jsem doplnil ilustrujícími fotografiemi, které pochází přímo z této jeho knihy. Napsal jich pochopitelně více, přičemž jedna z nich byla dokonce přeložena i do češtiny, žel dostupná je za poměrně vysoký obnos.

Builders without Borders – Sustainable Construction For the Global Village

Edited by Joseph F. Kennedy

Preface

The Members of Builders Without Borders

Edited by Owen Geiger

BWB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the underhoused. We are an international network builders with the mission to form partnerships with communities and organizations around the world to create affordable housing from local materials, and to work together for a sustainable future. We believe that the solution to homelessness is not merel housing, but a local poplation trained to provide for themselves.

Builders Without Borders believes that within the problem lies the solution. Crisis can afford an opportunity to create something positive and healing. Our view is that we can best work in partnership with local populations to identify needs and propose solutions, and through our involvement leverage important information and material resources. In this vein we seek solutions using local skills and resources and involving all members of society – men and women, young and old, and people of various ethnic origins and different levels of society. BWB also provides workshops, training programs, and educational materials.

BWB does not prescribe one sollution for all situations, but rather uses a relationship-based process that allows local people and other participants to fin unique solutions through collaboration and dialog for the particular problems at hand. Such a process is:

    • Empowering. Co-creating building designs and technologies within communities spreads knowledge more widely and effectively.
    • Hands-on. Practical skills can be learned by anyone.
    • Cross-fertilizing. Creating opportunities for cross-cultural communication and the demonstration of innovative and traditional building techniques serves to enrich the overall knowledge base.
    • Regionally appropriate. The use of locally available knowledge, skills, and materials is emphasized.
    • Respectful. Points of cultural difference are respected and points of convergence highlighted.

BWB training emphasizes a sustainable approach to housing development using natural building methods. Natural building makes use of locally available materials such as straw, stone, and earth as opposed to costly imported materials such as milled lumber, steel, and concrete. The advantages of natural building include low costs, easily obtainable materials (which is especially important in areas with limited resources and infrastructure), energy efficiency, low toxicity, ,safety, and durability. Structures built with natural building materials are typically more readily accepted by local populations and naturally blend in to the vernacular architecture. In addition natural building uses existing work forces of adobe workers, stone masons, plasterers and othes and thus offers significant time and cost savings over other methods. This approach is empowering and develops self-sufficiency, with less reliance on outsiders.“ (XIII-XIV)

Introduction – John F. Kennedy, Co-Founder, BW

„Shelter is a human right, yet billions are homeless or living in inadequate conditions due to population pressure, war, or environmental disaster. The housing crisis facing humanity is widely acknowledged, yet few solutions have thus far succeeded in addressing it. Indeed many hosing projects proposed to solve the problem are a disaster in themselves: available to few and dependent on energy-intensive industrialized models, the resulting shelters are often inappropriate to climate, culturally inflexible, wasteful, environmentally destructive, and expensive.

What this book offers is a view toward another solution. Building Without Bordesr: Sustainable Construction for the Global Village demonstrates hard-won knowledge about possibilities and challenges of addressing the global housing crisis in an ecologically sustainable way. It challenges most „development“ efforts as being ineffective at best and destructive at worst, but also offers a different path, with a series of Case Studies to illustrate potentional solutions. The book takes a holistic approach to the problem of housing provision worldwide and is consistent in its analysis that education and training are the key factors to solving the housing crisis.“ (s. 1)

The Role of Sustainable Construction in Solving the World Shelter Crisis

Truly sustainable construction supports human dignity, while minimizing negative impacts on the natural environment. The contributors to Building Without Borders describe such a way of building – one based on vernacular tradition, on an appropriate use of materials, creative networking, and a human-centered process to create comfortable, decent homes for those most in need. The authors advocate a flexible approach to design, adaptable to available materials and skills and that fit within cultural and social mores. Many authors acknowledge, however, that the addition of minimal modern technology to the timeless wisdom of traditional building techniques can create excellent hybrid structures. These hybrids have greatly improved strength and durability but use locally available, energy efficient, and Earth friendly materials. Appropriate construction techniques can result in buildings that mitigate environmental damage and, through proper siting and design, save energy by utilizing renewable resources such as sun and wind. Ideally such dwellings would form the cores of sustainable communities where food, water, and waste treatment as well as economic and cultural opportunities are all collected, grown, or created locally.

In places without decent housings, natural building techniques can be a key component in achieving cheap, comfortable, and easy to build shelter. For example building with straw bales (widely available at low cost) has been revived over the last decade in the US, and has been used with great success to provide low-cost housing in such diverse locales as Mongolia, China, Mexico, Argentina, Belarus, and on Native American lands. Together with earth, stone, and local timber, building with straw can provide shelter much less expensivelly than can conventional systems (which rely on concrete and steel), while saving 75 percent or more of the energy needed to heat and cool dwellings. This is only one example of a range of techniques that serve the goal of reducing a community’s dependece on nonrenewable energy and material resources by promoting methods of building that rely on perennially available, renewable resources instead.

But this book is not simply a collection of techniques. The different articles, taken together, describe a potential process by which we can solve the housing crisis. No matter how appropriate the design or materials are, external agencies – whether governments, NGOs or aid organizations – will never solve the problem of homelessness by simply building houses for people who need them. Rather those without homes must be empowered to create them themselves, making use of local skills, native wisdom, and community-centered educational and economic systems. Although sustainable builders have much to offer, only through deep dialog can a truly succesful process be created. The goal is to achieve locally appropriate, ecologically sustainable, affordable, safe, and beautiful homes for all that need them.“ (s. 3)

Gernot Minke – Building with Earth

No theoretical treatise, however, can substitute for practical experience involving actually building with earth. The data and experiences and the specific realisations of earth construction contained in this volume may be used as guidelines for a variety of construction processes and possible applications by engineers, architects, entrepreneurs, craftsmen and public policy-makers who find themselves attempting, either from desire or necessity, to come to terms with humanity’s oldest building material.

Earth as a building material comes in a thousand different compositions, and can be variously processed. Loam, or clayey soil, as it is referred to scientifically, has different names when used in various applications, for instance rammed earth, soil blocks, mud bricks or adobe.“ (s. 7)


In nearly all hot-arid and temperate climates, earth has always been the most prevalent building material. Even today, one third of the human population resides in earthen houses; in developing countries this figure is more than one half. It has proven impossible to fulfil the immense requirements for shelter in the developing countries with industrial building materials, i.e. brick, concrete and steel, nor with industrialised construction techniques. Worldwide, no region is endowed with the productive capacity or financial resources needed to satisfy this demand. In the developing countries, requirements for shelter can be met only by using local building materials and relying on do-it-yourself construction techniques.

Earth is the most important natural building material, and it is available in most regions of the world. It is frequently obtained directly from the building site when excavating foundations or basements. In the industrialised countries, careless exploitation of resources and centralised capital combined with energy-intensive production is not only wasteful; it also pollutes the environment and increases unemployment. In these countries, earth is being revived as a building material.

Increasingly, people when building homes demand energy- and cost-effective buildings that emphasise a healthy, balanced indoor climate. They are coming to realise that mud, as a natural building material, is superior to industrial building materials such as concrete, brick and lime-sandstone.

Newly developed, advanced earth building techniques demonstrate the value of earth not only in do-it-yourself construction, but also for industrialised construction involving contractors.“ (s. 11)


In France, the rammed earth technique, called terre pisé, was widespread from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Near the city of Lyon, there are several buildings that are more than 300 years old and are still inhabited.

In 1790 and 1791, Francois Cointeraux published four booklets on this technique that were translated into German two years later (Cointeraux, 1793). The technique came to be known all over Germany and in neighbouring countries through Cointeraux, and through David Gilly, who wrote the famous Handbuch der Lehmbaukunst (Gilly, 1787), which describes the rammed earth technique as the most advantageous earth construction method.

In Germany, the oldest inhabited house with rammed earth walls dates from 1795 (1.10). Its owner, the director of the fire department, claimed that fire-resistant houses could be built more economically using this technique, as opposed to the usual timber frame houses with earth infill.

The tallest house with solid earth walls in Europe is at Weilburg, Germany. Completed in 1828, it still stands (1.11). All ceilings and the entire roof structure rest on the solid rammed earth walls that are 75 cm thick at the bottom and 40 cm thick at the top floor (the compressive force at the bottom of the walls reaches 7,5 kg/cm2). Illustration 1.12 shows the facades of other rammed earth houses at Weilburg, built around 1830.“ (s. 13)

Foto G. Minke 1.11

Foto G. Minke 1.12


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1 komentář

Filed under Bonum communae et societae

One response to “Výpisky: Building with Earth & Building Without Borders – Sustainable Construction For the Global Village

  1. Nice article.

    I like to refer readers to the site of Natural Building Network; http://www.nbnetwork.org

    A membership network which unites Natural Builders internationally.

    Cheers,
    Max

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