Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CONSTRUCTED OUT OF WASTE - An Activity Center for a Squatter Settlement

By Bhakti Shah

During my thesis studies, I was going through a magazine about the contemporary sustainability, in which one small scale project was mentioned. It was a design for an activity center for a Nongovernmental organization in Ahmadabad, India. This project was serving for a largest part of squatter settlement and functioning as multipurpose activities. These activities includes an informal school for young children, an afternoon school for older boys, evening education for adults and a center for local elderly. Architectural program includes training facility, workshop for the manufacturing of craft based products. It also includes dormitory, admin unit and meditation unit. Total built up area is 515 sq.m. Project is designed by Vastu Shilpa Foundation which is a very renowned non-profit, non-governmental research organization for research and studies in environmental design in India.

Design concept was to provide an interactive and flexible layout suitable context i.e it place & people as well as participatory building construction, to provide locals with the opportunity for economic gain. It is an attempt to recycle the municipal domestic waste into building materials and to address environmental concerns, economic issues & affordable housing amenities.

The project characterized for it construction and material used. Building components were made out of recycling of domestic waste. It serves the purpose to help reduce waste as pollutant, to create means of economic activity & sense of empowerment, to provide affordability & higher quality building alternatives for the urban poor and it is cheaper & higher quality than conventional materials.

Building construction uses six types of building materials & techniques for construction of its walls : Cement bounded fly ash bricks, molded compressed bricks made by landfill site waste residue, stabilized soil blocks, recycled glass bottles, recycled plastic bottles and vegetables crate wood paneling for internal partition walls. Floors & roofs are constructed with filler slab with glass bottles, plastic bottles and bricks, stone slab, cement bounded particle board with clay tile cover, light conduit pipe trusses with GI sheets and clay tile roofing. Door paneling uses shredded packaging wrapper & coated paper waste as reinforcement substitute for fiber reinforced, plastic (FRP) Vegetable crate wood for door frame, oil tin container & blades for the ventilation louvers in the toilet. Fly ash and waste residue molded tiles with inlaid ceramic industry waste as china mosaic.

Pandya Y., The Journal of Indian Architecture - Architecture + Design, vol xxiv. October 2007, 68-71.

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