Marbu School in Nepal

This project was a collaboration with Johanna Greenspan-Johnston and Micaela Hall as part of course requirements from 4.411—D-lab’s School.

The goal of the project was to design an eco-friendly, earthquake-resistant structure that could be built using locally sourced labor and materials.

The project began with site analysis. We examined climate data from nearby Kathmandu and what little data we could gather of Marbu, as well. We used our analysis of climate data to come up with a simple model of our ideas for insulation. We outfitted the model with temperature sensors, and tested the model for two weeks. We iterated over the design, changing the roof to include clarestory windows when we discovered we needed more ventilation. We additionally designed shutters to improve air flow.

We researched precedents for other seismically stable dwellings, and found houses in Pakistan built with local materials that used cross bracing for stability. We incorporated a similar idea into our design. As part of our research, we explored the tensile strength of clay bricks, and how their strength varied with the inclusion of cement. We tested the bricks that we made. In our design, we imagined bamboo cross bracing infilled with bricks made of local materials, which would provide plenty of support in a seismic event.

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