Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rudrapur School Complete - Almost
April 27, 2008

I went back to Rudrapur again this weekend with my architect, Marina, and one of her employees, Sakib. The school and three homes are almost complete now; there are just a few finishing tasks that are still in progress. It was really amazing to see the completed building after having seen the construction process.

Site Visit 1 - October 6, 2007
They were still building the foundations and had just started the mudwork.


Site Visit 2 - December 8, 2007
They were building the second floor and had started on the bamboo work.

Site Visit 3 - April 25, 2008
The completed (almost) school!


Other Side
This is the other side of the school.


Classroom
This is the interior of the classroom on the ground floor.


Exterior Detail
Anna put small pieces of bamboo in the mud to break the rain on the exterior of the building. This prevents the rain from damaging the walls.


Hallway on Second Floor
This is one of my favorite parts of the school. I love the bamboo in this hallway. I think that the palm trees overhead and the use of transparent fiberglass for the roof give the light a fantastic quality.


Marina, Anna, and Me
The three of us standing in the hallway.


Benches
Detail of the benches and the bamboo work. I think the design of the bamboo screen is very creative.


Marina
Here is a picture of my architect, Marina, on the ground floor veranda in front of the staircase.


Solar Powered Lights
Unlike Anna's first school, the new building has plumbing and a self-sufficient electrical system. The building is 100% powered by solar panels. The panels charge a set of 12 V batteries which run the lights, small fans, and water pump. Because the system is 12 V instead of 220 V there isn't enough power to run a computer or large ceiling fan. The plus side, however, is that you are not dependent upon the extremely unreliable local utilities. The batteries can power the entire building for 12 continuous hours without sunlight.



Plumbing
The building has four toilets, four sinks, and two showers. The water comes from a 1000 L water tank on the room. The water pump runs off of the solar panels and pumps water into the tank during daylight hours (the water pump isn't connected to the batteries, so it can only refill itself during the day.)


Slumber Party
We liked the new building so much (and the power kept going out in the small Dipshika guest building) that we decided to spend the night in the second floor classroom instead. We brought our bedrolls up there and decided to camp out. Anna stayed in one of the teacher's rooms in a bed nook on the second floor instead. We decided it was because she snored and was too embarrassed to tell us... Even though it is the middle of the hot season now and daytime temperatures can get upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the room was quite cool in the evening. We even wished we had brought some more blankets with us!


House 1 - Hemonto's House
In addition to the school, Anna built three homes for villagers in the area. They were demonstration projects designed by Anna's students to give them some experience with mud work. I had worked on the first house we saw (Hemonto's house) during my first two site visits. It looked really terrific in the end. The rooms that originally thought were way too small, were actually a nice size when they were completed. The two verandas were fantastic.


Inside Hemonto's House
The room upstairs is his sons' bedroom.


House #2
The second house we saw was fine, but it seemed too much like a normal brick and concrete house with a corrugated iron (CI sheet) roof to me. While the spaces inside were nice and had all of the climatic advantages of a mud house, I felt that the design lacked the charm of a traditional mud house.


Traditional Mud House
Here is a traditional mud house. I think that the thatched roof and rounded edges are charming.


Interior of House #2
Here is the inside of the house. In addition to the windows, there are several holes for ventilation.


The Dark Side of Mud
Unfortunately the third house that we visited had major problems with ventilation on the ground floor. The building is only a couple of months old and already has mold growing all over the interior walls and ceiling of the ground floor. Seeing this problem underscores the importance of having proper light and ventilation in these types of buildings.


Ceiling Trouble
Even though all of the bamboo was treated with borax, it is also suffering from the lack of light and ventilation. Hopefully Anna and her team will be able to fix the problem...



3 Comments:

At Sunday, April 27, 2008 1:57:00 PM, Blogger Siam said...

nice to read :) , though few idiosyncrasies that you have pointed out here sometimes shocked me , particularly in Job listings related post , ( I have started to follow related ads carefully , and yes i am ashamed ) , it is nice to see my own country through your perspective. keep it up :)

 
At Sunday, April 27, 2008 2:26:00 PM, Blogger Donny said...

incredible what you can do with bamboo and mud. my favorite shot was of the hallway upstairs as well, but i also saved to my hard drive the pic of the use of bamboo on the exterior wall to help prevent rain runoff damage. what a cool idea.

your architect is great! can't wait to see the hotel she builds for you

 
At Wednesday, May 07, 2008 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Mikey said...

those bamboo and mud houses are beautiful, I love the use of the natural products to create the design. I'm sure your vision for the new place will be simply amazing to see...

 

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