Case Study: Post-EQ Shelters in Ahmadabad

Key Issue: How can Shigeru Ban’s structures be adapted to local needs?

Following an Earthquake in India in 2001, architect Kartikeya Shodhan worked on the design and construction of 20 paper-tube houses on-site in the town of Kutch. Shodan found that Ban’s design was too expensive to execute in India (even if considered as a permanent shelter) since it involved high-precision and extensive carpentry as well as copious amounts of plywood. Shodan worked with Ban to make adaptations.

Shodan made 3 prototypes which held. The remaining 17 would be used as shelters to live in, shared by the community for sleeping at night and for hand-embroidery workers during the daytime or as classrooms for children and administration. They didn’t give the houses to the homeless to avoid conflicts in the community regarding whom to give to.

The structures held well with one structural engineer claiming they could last at least 10 years. As reconstruction occurred in India, they were moved and became classrooms. Children felt extremely comfortable and “close to nature” in the structures and had no fear of things falling on their heads as the tremors continued.

Lessons learned:
– Lower the cost of the structures to gain broader reach
– Paper tube treatment should be done on site and not at the factory since it delays the process and hampers the purpose of a rapid response

This case provides one example of how temporary architecture can be repurposed by the community in the years following the crisis period. Further, an early understanding of the cost of labor and materials in Chile will go far in our exploration of options. Are there common indigenous materials or reclaimed salvage that we can use effectively?

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