Wednesday, November 3, 2010

shantitown - mumbai 2008

by: Claudia Marforio, the thesis project


The very first idea for my work came to my mind while I was coming back home from my second travel in India. I was in a cab in Mumbai, going to the airport, and from my window I was looking at the very poor houses along the road, wandering about some little and cheap changes that could improve their conditions.

I didn’t know yet, but I was crossing Dharavi, the biggest slum of Asia, the second one in the world (as somebody says, but it’s difficult to give numbers in these cases). Dharavi is an incredible working reality, always moving and growing. More than 1 million people lives there, in a slum too near to the centre of Mumbai to be ignored by economical interests.

I came back to Dharavi after 2 years - in 2008 - and I lived in Mumbai for 3 weeks studying the reality of Indian slums, the bamboo scaffoldings system and trying to do my best for my thesis to be as real as possible (I studied Building Engineering and Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano).

“SHANTITOWN” is a play on the words “shantytown” (meaning slum) and “shanti” (sanskrit word for peace).

The idea is to create a multifunction building system for emergency applied to the case of shantytowns. The frame is made with bamboo simply tied, as the techniques of Asian scaffoldings. The claddings are made with different recycled materials, as typical in cases of necessity.

All the material and the techniques are local, nothing needs to be imported, and local Indian workers can teach people to create their home and to maintain it.

I followed the principles of slum (recycled and cheap material, simple systems, teaching of techniques, multifunctional buildings..) trying to obtain the best comfort possible.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

straw-bale building 2007

by: Simone Di Muro and Marianna Radaelli

The thesis project of Simone Di Muro and Marianna Radaelli with supervision of Marco Imperadori.

The building site is located in Bozen, near Austria in North-East of Italy.
It is possible to build only temporary building, mainly thinked for seasonal workers.
Buildings are inspired to the traditional rural farm (called "Masi") that can be found all over the mountains nearby, basement is heavy stone and upper floors are built with light wood-frame structure. Inspired by this concept we thinked a building with a fixed heavy basement and a light structure thermal insulated with straw-bale.
The technological testing try to reveal the practical use of straw as insulated material and test PCM (Phase Changing Material) in order to increase the thermal inertia with no use of heavy material as concrete or stone. We test PCM's on vertical application in a screen and, thanks to Velux Italia, we were also able to test them in a roof-window application; for the straw-bale we realized a test-building inspired to our thesis project.

Results were very interesting: even if PCM are light, they can gain heat and release it with an interesting time gap providing to light-building (not based on concrete construction technique) a good thermal inertia. Straw is a good insulated material: it is cheap, easy to find, easy to use and has excellent insulated properties.