27 mar. 2012

School in Cambodia



Sra Pou Vocational School

WHERE:  Sra Pou, Cambodia 
WHEN: 2010 – 2011
WHO:  Finnish architecture firm = Rudanko + Kankkunen 
MATERIALS:  Sun dried mud bricks made from the local red earth
Hole pattern in the walls = daylight + natural ventilation
Bright and colorful handmade shutters 
Large covered porch creates an = outdoor community room

"The purpose of the vocational training centre is to encourage and teach poor families to earn their own living. The Sra Pou community is one of the unprivileged communities in Cambodia, who have been evicted from their homes in the city to the surrounding countryside. They lack basic infrastructure, decent built environment and secure income. The new vocational school provides professional training and helps the people to start sustainable businesses together. It is also a place for public gathering and democratic decision-making for the whole community."

+ info
Images ©Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen

earthen hand

Natural architecture
Earthen Hand

Social & Environment Sustainable,
 Healthy & Beauty

"Currently it is estimated that one half of the world's population, approximately three billion people on six continentsi, lives or works in buildings constructed of earth"
Ronald Rael

"Building the earth movement"
 Earthen Hand Natural Building

"Natural building is the realignment of our space and consciousness with mother nature"

To create amazing earthen structures and empower people by training them in natural building practices
earth + glass + wood + glass + rock


  • Cob Construction and Sculpture
  • Earth Bag Construction
  • Living Roofs
  • Round-wood Timber Framing
  • Adobe Brick Construction
  • Earth Plasters and Floors
  • Earthen Ovens & Fireplaces
  • Mosaics and Stone Work
  • Domes and Vaults
  • Passive Solar

  • Educational courses in earthen architecture:

    Natural building workshops

Oregon, Washington, California, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Thailand, Mali, Egypt, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Madagascar... 

Scott Howard

Promoción del 2012: Off-grid Systems, Ferrocement, Earthships in general (Earthship Biotecture)

Promoción del 2001 (Whitman College)

"Scott Howard's most notable achievements have been; a 17 foot earthen dome completed in Mali; a 23 foot earthen dome built in Thailand; an ornate earthen cottage built for a local Portland school, exhibiting an ecoroof and eight stained glass windows by Scott; a set of artistic earthen columns on a porch in Portland, Oregon. Four other Portland schools also have substantial earthen works created by Scott, who teaches his methods to volunteers on most of his projects. Other works include his privately commissioned earthen benches, ovens, ceramic sculptures, stained glass windows, and artistic furniture."

“Our students are of all ages, and everyone learns a lot. Kids love playing with mud. Adults see the socio-political empowerment and utility of our techniques. Our international workshops assist indigenous communities by creating a useful structure. Participants of these workshops get a wonderful visit to a new country that allows them to interact with and give something significant to local peoples” 

“We encourage experimentation because it brings even more effective designs. It is our goal to create solid, artful structures that will inspire people to want to learn about them”
“I seek to create sacred spaces that inspire reverence for nature. The curvilinear and soft feeling of earthen materials encourages health and well-being. Nature itself shows us all the patterns that we might ever need to make harmonious dwellings in any climate. Natural Building is the realignment of our spaces and consciousness with mother nature. Our ancestors refined constructed human landscapes that never depart from the surrounding earth. Could the ancient builder have been more advanced than the contemporary?”


"The choices we make today affect who we will be tomorrow."



Density (Thermal inertia + sound waves isolation + protection from: fire + wind + water + electromagnetic and microwaves)




Low impact

Low waste

Low energy consumption

Low water consumption

Little skilled labor

Minimal maintenance





“Through our projects we will continually work to advance the technology of ecologically viable house design with innovation and testing on the buildings we construct. We offer the results of our research freely to all interested parties. Sharing information is the way we all win”.


Ahimsa Sanctuary Garden Kiva Meeting House
Philomath, OR
Scott Howard

1200 sf meeting house
Tractor cob
This project was the site of a Cob Cottage workshop   
Scott's first Cob house

Sound Temple Dome
Koh Phangan, Thailand (2004)
Scott Howard (senior designer and builder)
Time: 8-week workshop 
People: 20 participants

-This catenary dome: 23 ft x 23ft (one of the largest of its kind in the world)
-A crew of local Thai builders finished the dome with cement plaster and tile. 
-The interior offers a rare acoustical experience because of its ability to focus echoes in the center of the space.

New Day School Meditation House 
Portland, OR (2003)

Architect: Mark Lakeman 
Builder: Scott Howard
Lead by Scott Howard and Joshua Klyber
Assisted by architect Gabriel Prost
Time: 2 consecutive years during the annual Village Building Convergence  
People: with the help of hundreds of enthusiastic people

-Stained glass windows depicting local landscapes,
-Woodcarvings of animals and plants
-Colorful mosaics.

Village Library
Tirelli, Dogon Country, Mali (2010)

Scott Howard 
Time: 2 week-long workshop 
People: Several local people during construction were employed

- Almost entirely made of earth
- It is a catenary arc, reaching nearly 17 feet in height.
- Serving as a library for many villages in the area, is a gift to the village of Tirelli
- First earthbag dome in Mali

Hand-made items by Scott

Ceramic and Cob Oven

Ceramic and Cob Oven

 Ceramic Planter, "Native Moons"

Large Vase

Mandala plaque

23 mar. 2012

hassan fathy


Hassan Fathy
 Egypt’s best known architect since Imhotep
Alexandria 1900 - Cairo 1989

 amateur musician

Fathy devoted himself to housing the poor in developing nations and deserves study by anyone involved in rural improvement. Fathy worked to create an indigenous environment at a minimal cost, and in so doing to improve the economy and the standard of living in rural areas. Fathy utilized ancient design methods and materials. He integrated a knowledge of the rural Egyptian economic situation with a wide knowledge of ancient architectural and town design techniques. He trained local inhabitants to make their own materials and build their own buildings. Climatic conditions, public health considerations, and ancient craft skills also affected his design decisions. 




almost 160 separate projects
(from modest country retreats to fully planned communities)

"The village of New Gourna, which was partially built between 1945 and 1948, is possibly the most well known of all of Fathy's projects because of the international popularity of his book, "Architecture for the Poor", published nearly twenty years after the experience and concentrating primarily on the ultimately tragic history of this single village. While the architect's explanations offered in the book are extremely compelling and ultimately persuasive, New Gourna is still most significant for the questions it raises rather than the problems it tried to solve, and these questions still await a thorough, objective analysis. 

The idea for the village was launched by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities as a potentially cost-effective solution to the problem of relocating an entire entrenched community of entrepreneurial excavators that had established itself over the royal necropolis in Luxor. The village of New Gourna also seemed to offer Fathy a perfect opportunity to finally test the ideas unveiled at Mansouria on a large scale and to see if they really could offer a viable solution to the rural housing problem in Egypt.

The Village was meant to be a prototype but rather than subscribing to the current idea of using a limited number of unit types, Fathy took the unprecedented approach of seeking to satisfy the individual needs of each family in the design. As he said in Architecture for the Poor, "In Nature, no two men are alike. Even if they are twins and physically identical, they will differ in their dreams. The architecture of the house emerges from the dream; this is why in villages built by their inhabitants we will find no two houses identical. This variety grew naturally as men designed and built their many thousands of dwellings through the millennia. But when the architect is faced with the job of designing a thousand houses at one time, rather than dream for the thousand whom he must shelter, he designs one house and puts three zeros to its right, denying creativity to himself and humanity to man. As if he were a portraitist with a thousand commissions and painted only one picture and made nine hundred and ninety nine photocopies. But the architect has at his command the prosaic stuff of dreams. He can consider the family size, the wealth, the social status, the profession, the climate, and at last, the hopes and aspirations of those he shall house. As he cannot hold a thousand individuals in his mind at one time, let him begin with the comprehensible, with a handful of people or a natural group of families which will bring the design within his power. Once he is dealing with a manageable group of say twenty or thirty families, then the desired variety will naturally and logically follow in the housing." 

All of the architect's best intentions, however, were no match for the avariciousness of the Gournis themselves, who took every opportunity possible to sabotage their new village in order to stay where they were and to continue their own crude but lucrative version of amateur archaeology. Typically but mistakenly misreading the reluctance of the people to cooperate in the design and building of the village as a sure sign of the inappropriateness of both programming and form, many contemporary critics fail to penetrate deeper into the relevant issues raised by this project. These issues now, as at the time of construction half a century ago, revolve around the extremely important question of how to create a culturally and environmentally valid architecture that is sensitive to ethnic and regional traditions without allowing subjective values and images to intervene in the design process. In the final analysis, the portion of New Gourna that was completed must be judged on this basis." 

Steele, James. 1989. The Hassan Fathy Collection. A Catalogue of Visual Documents at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Bern, Switzerland: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 16-18

For all great architecture is contemporary of its time, relevant to its situation in space, time and human society-but also eternal. Without being eternal - that is in harmony with the cosmos and the evolution of life - no architecture can be called contemporary.
Hassan Fathy

+ info: http://www.hassanfathy.webs.com/words-e.html