Technology transfer

Tanzania, Winter 2009

Satprem Maïni, Director of the Auroville Earth Institute, conducted the first part of the technology transfer  in August 2009 at Karatu with the training of block makers on the Auram Press 3000. At that time, he also conceived the library of Ganako secondary school which was supposed to be the first building to be built at Karatu with the technologies developed by the Auroville Earth Institute.

The second step of this technology transfer is the construction of the library, during the 1st of November to the 21st of December 2009. Satprem went there againto train the team of Dunia Architecture / Bricks for life and Mr. Cristo Mabilat, an experienced engineer from Auroville, came along to help with the site management and ferrocement works. Mr. Cristo Mabilat, who is a board’s member of the Auroville Earth Institute, has a long building experience in Auroville and in the world. Especially his vast experience with ferrocement works was very valuable for this construction site.

This library of 335 m2 was designed to be earthquake resistant with the technologies developed by the Auroville Earth Institute, as Karatu is in the Rift Valley which is earthquake prone. Foundations were done with stabilised rammed earth. The superstructure of the library was built with reinforced masonry composed of compressed stabilised earth blocks, vertical reinforced concrete members and 5 composite ring beams (U shape CSEB and reinforced concrete). The roof of the veranda was done with ferrocement cast in situ.

The beginning of the superstructure was delayed as the foundations took a long time. The construction site was further delayed and the main roof of the library could not be completed before the departure of Cristo and Satprem. This roof was conceived with four hyperbolic paraboloid shapes and was meant to be cast in situ with ferrocement. Only the reinforcement bars and chicken mesh were laid on one quarter of the roof. The local team was trained to lay these bars and mesh and they are supposed to continue for the three other parts of the roof. Mr. Cristo Mabilat is supposed to go back in February 2010 to supervise casting the ferrocement and complete the roof.

The construction of the library of Ganako School is the first step for the transfer of technologies developed by the Auroville Earth Institute. It was a successful event and 70 people were trained: 1 engineer, Mr. Douglas Ommanney – 1 supervisor, Mr. David Suddy – 35 masons and 33 workers. The local partners and authorities were very enthusiastic about the project and the construction site attracted many visitors.

This programme was sponsored by the project “Bricks for Life” created and financed by Mr. Alberto Navarro, a Spanish citizen, resident in USA. Mr. Alberto Navarro is a dedicated man who wants to help the development of Karatu and in order to achieve his goal he first to the Auroville Earth Institute, to get trained in June / July 2008. The project “Bricks for Life” that he created, aims at poverty reduction in Karatu district through the achievement of access to vocational training for youth out of the standard education system, SES (primary, secondary, high school) and the creation of a Community, Cultural and Learning Centre as a vocational training centre for youth and entertainment centre for local population and visitors.


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