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April 25, 2007

Building with compressed mud blocks

During ND’s nascent years, they had constructed mud huts with thatched roofs. I am not sure what the problem with the mud walls was but the thatched roofs were home to snakes. They have since made houses using compressed mud blocks. Mud (from the area) is mixed with a little cement (3% is what I remember but am not sure) and then compressed into blocks using a machine. The blocks are put together using some mud-clay plaster. They have not used any steel in making the beams to support the structure. The construction involves the usage of arches that take the load.

The roof is made of tiles (Mysore tiles I think they said) and about 4-6 tiles are replaced with glass tiles. Light streams in through these tiles and keeps the place very well lit. So there is no need for any artificial light during the day. A lot of light comes in through the windows as well. Same holds for breeze. There was some breeze at all times and I really didn’t miss not having a fan. And the nights were a little chilly too – natural A/C!

It is also much cheaper to build a place using mud blocks. The mud comes locally, so theres no transportation costs involved. Since it is being compressed, you dont need a kiln. You are saving on energy and hence costs. Besides all these advantages, the blocks themselves look beautiful and don’t need any paint.

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