Friday, May 22, 2009

Adobe Construction as an Option for South Asia

I remember reading a lot of stuff about Adobe Construction in India some years ago based on some work that was done by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. All of a sudden, the idea fizzled out like good ideas often do in India - I don't know if a single home was ever constructed using this technology in any of the country's perennially dry areas that dot it across its length and breadth. To give the IISc credit, they did superb work working out a method using cement mixed into the mud blocks to make the idea work in rainy parts of India as well. It was appropriate work for the country, for the extreme poverty and resource deprivation that is a hallmark of India and an exercise in ingenuity that deserved much more than the total silence that it received from the Indian system.

Which brings me to The Adobe Alliance - where else but in the state of Texas - who are doing superb work in developing this technology for the desert areas of the USA: These enthusiasts are involved in what could become a revolution - their movement is creative as it explores combining ancient adobe construction skills with modern technology, political because theya re working to make this acceptable to city planners, banks who do not currently lend money for this kind of construction, and environmentally responsible in the very reduced impact that the system has on the environment in which adobe homes are built. Their workshops have received participants from several other countries - unfortunately, I didn't see any participation from India or Pakistan - though it is my hope that this will happen in the future. The idea is excellent and there is no reason why it should not become mainstream in those parts of the world that need it most. I hope that this group goes from strength to greater strength. Thanks for the good work that you're doing, guys!

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