New Earth UK was proud to invite Ritushree Sengupta, PhD Scholar, Department of English, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India for a one month Research Residency program between April 2018 and May 2018. She presented a series of lectures and was guided to select libraries and archives which could only be found in London, where she collected a variety of research materials for her PhD.
Her lecture finale to conclude the program was organized by New Earth UK entitled Ecocriticism: Ethics and Aesthetics on 8thMay, 2018. In her lecture she explored several well-known works of children’s literature and the message they give about the environment and sustainability for future eco-communities of the 21stcentury.
As New Earth UK promotes multidisciplinary studies related to Earth Architecture and Eco-Village and extends their abilities to help the humanity, the arts and the environment, it was a pleasure to host Ritushree’s stay as an in-house Resident Researcher.
We extend our warm thanks to Ritushree for bringing her unique perspective to New Earth UK on her residency.
This year we are offering one workshop in Eco-Village design with a hands-on focus on Vaulted Houses, and meditative study of the four elements as a design process. The workshop is in Spain and details can be found on www.domoterra.com under “cursos de formacion”, as well as on this page. You can register for the workshop either through Domoterra or through us, by email, phone, or through our website “Workshops” page.
Please note! For students who are coming from outside of Europe, we regret that neither New Earth nor Domoterra can provide letters of support for visa purposes. We are not a degree granting institution and are not authorized to provide any letter for student or business visas.
This class is an advanced Earth Architecture workshop, highly recommended for those who have taken a first workshop in the basics of Earth Architecture, or for students of architecture, engineering, or construction who want to put their talent to serve humanity’s present needs and our planet’s need for environmentally friendly building.
This year of 2017 has seen some momentous changes in the world. Homelessness and migration due to climate change disasters and wars have made millions homeless. Scientists continue to tell us that climate change is a reality which we are making worse by our way of life, yet today’s technological solutions, vital though they are, can only be the “tip of the iceberg”, as the expression goes. Our response at New Earth grows ever more sure that humanity must learn to Live sustainably in this world, which means building ethical, truthful and life-giving communities. The way we design our life space in the home, our habits, architecture, cities, is both physical and spiritual action, and it must reflect those timeless values.
Our vision continues to be for Eco-Communities based in faith, with a design process for Eco-Villages based in the qualities of the elements, and the peace, love and togetherness that come with goodness. The process of designing with the elements includes research into the action as well as the inspiration of the mystic poets such as Rumi, whose message about love includes the Universal Elements of his time, earth, water, air and fire; Lalon who employs vivid images symbolically; Teresa of Avila, and the “Cento” of Proba, whose poetry take into consideration the people’s knowledge of their day.
We decided not to rush around the world teaching in workshops in this year, but to carefully select the main issue and one or two teaching workshops which are really important for 2017 and 2018. Our only planned 2017 WORKSHOP is about developing the right housing for a community cluster, suitable for homeless and refugees to build as a family. Though we are idealists on the issues, putting safety first, we are practical when it comes to design efficiency, cost, and speed of construction. Our approach in this workshop is a self help MODULAR VAULTS method which can be learned by a short training.
The workshop will take place from July 30 – August 13, 2017, in Spain, at Domoterra Institute. You will have the opportunity to learn the next stage, after the Vaulted Houses workshop of 2016. Maximum enrollment is 10 places, so book early! Minimum enrollment will be five places. Some partial scholarships will be available based on individual letter of application.
Following is a description of the workshop plan. You can find related articles and photos from the 2016 workshop in our “Workshops” section. To enquire with your questions about joining the workshop you may contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
“At Home in the World” article describes the issues which concerned us in the Vaulted House workshop.
The workshop was completed at Domoterra at their Institute of Natural Building, in Monroyo (Teruel), midway between Barcelona and Valencia, by students of Earth Architecture and Sustainable Living, and others who had taken a basic earth building course.
Check with our New Earth FaceBook page for details of the next Vaulted House course in Spain.
In 2017, our hope is to develop on the basic vaulted prototype, with new innovations in materials and space planning.
During the Summer months between June 3rd and August 7th, we will be teaching and constructing a 3-Vaulted House according to architect Nader Khalili’s design. There are three 2-week-long intensives, and an introductory 3-day long weekend. You may attend one or all of these. The techniques and design for the 3-Vaulted House system, are taught in Domoterra’s unique setting of Eco-Village at the traditional small town of Monroyo. As a special bonus, a weekend course in Ayurvedic acupressure and reflexology, is offered, for which you may also register.
Learn the Principles of Eco-Village Design and Construction through hands-on experience building a full scale Earth Dome. Work with the sandbag shelter technology, awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for refugee shelters after the 1st Iran-Iraq war, and learn from its original researchers and developers. Experience Village life and live healthily and sustainably while you work and study. Learn to convert the “materials of war”, sandbags and barbed wire, into the “building blocks of peace” by working with EARTH.
Our project will be Hands-On workshop on Ecobuilding & Sustainability, in Agia Eirini near Morphou (Guzelyurt), CYPRUS.
15-30 November 2015, Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, INDIA.
Learn the Art of Ceramic Houses amid Tagore’s inspiring poetry and Bengal’s sacred terracotta architecture. Take this chance to serve humanity through the arts of masonry and ceramics. Your work will address some of the world’s most pressing problems of homelessness and environmental disaster, by building in harmony with nature using timeless principles and universally available materials. The process of building, firing, and financing a ceramic house relies on human knowledge and creativity rather than products. Experience hands-on research and teamwork, to empower you to pick up the earth under your feet, either in a remote village, or with hi-tech tools like 3-D printers, and build the dream structures of 21st century Eco-Villages.
If you dream of an architecture that is relevant now, pack your bags for two weeks and join this unique hands-on retreat.
The workshop is organised by Visvi-Bharati University for the Kala Bhavana students of fine arts, but there are a limited number of five places for students of New Earth UK. Participants from countries other than India are advised to register before October 30th, to be assured of getting the visa and travel arrangements in time.
Dates: 15th November, 2015 – 30th November, 2015
Duration: 14 days plus two days of Nandan Mela (art fair).
Simple accommodation (shared house with other participants) and meals are included on campus. Travel expenses excluded.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy
I woke up and saw that life was service
I acted and behold service was joy”
– Rabindranath Tagore
“Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture”
The art, sculpture and ceramics departments of Kala Bhavana (Institute of fine art ) of Visva Bharati University, are among the most renowned in India. The university, often called Santiniketan (meaning the abode of peace), was founded and developed by the Nobel Laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. His life was portrayed by film maker Satyajit Ray in a 1961 documentary, “Rabindranath Tagore”.
India is a country of high art and ancient traditions, including masonry and ceramics. Yet today these arts are being forgotten and superseded by a modernism that is out of tune with human nature and the traditional arts. The arts of ceramic masonry and terracotta sculpture have existed for centuries in Bengal, especially around Santiniketan, in the ancient methods from Vishnapur to Dinajpur, with a tradition of highly skilled masons.
The process of Ceramic Houses is based on the work of architect and humanitarian Nader Khalili, whose journey through the tradition of Iran, to the technology of the USA gave humanity this innovative technique in the 20th century. His first works fired entire houses and a 10 classroom school in Iran in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continued in the USA thereafter, taking the technique to NASA in 1984 and aerospace industry research. Khalili’s later work with Iliona Outram Khalili from 1991-2008 established his futuristic Earth Architecture techniques as safe in earthquakes, floods, fires, and wind-storms, successfully passing tests and being permitted under the toughest seismic building codes in the world, in California.
In this workshop we explore new techniques, building upon the Ceramic Houses of architect Nader Khalili, for affordable building in India at Santiniketan near to Kolkata, India. Our long-term goal is to empower the common man to work with artisans, creating safe and beautiful buildings in harmony with human aspirations in art and soul. In the spirit of fusing tradition and technology, the workshop participants will learn with advanced Santiniketan students of art, ceramics and design. They will learn to build and fire a domed structure, an evolution of earlier Ceramic Houses techniques, in which the students’ ceramics sculptures and utilitarian products may be fired along with the dome itself.
The workshop ends at the time of Nandan Mela, an art orientated fair, which attracts international crowds to the university town on Dec. 1st and 2nd. The proposal that a homeowner, or village collective, can make products in one room which can be sold to raise money to build the next room will hopefully be tested as the ceramic products will be offered for sale to increase the Kala Bhavana school fund for needy students, during the Mela. Participants are welcome to stay on the extra days and experience this cultural event.
Emergency Sandbag Shelter and Eco-Villages: The need for safe shelter. August 7, 2015
After the Major earthquake of April 2015, the Himalayas moved a metre south. Within the same month millions of homeless Nepali villagers are living in tents, under leaking tarps, and corrugated sheeting. They must survive the heavy monsoon rains in transitional shelter and after that, the cold Himalayan winter. Over 9,000 people died and an estimated 70% of village homes and historic buildings collapsed in the devastating earthquakes earlier this year. New buildings of concrete and steel cracked open with the earthquake’s uplift forces and are unusable. The last such major earthquake was 80 years ago. Now it will take years to re-build.
Earth Architecture Proposal by New Earth: A proven system
Immediately after the earthquake, New Earth UK sent a team of six to Nepal, including three earth architects led by Iliona Outram Khalili, Aktanin Khair Tanin, Ion Maleas, Mahfuz Russel, Fatiha Polin, Mahin Ahmed, on the invitation of Nepali architect colleagues, Mahesh Maharjan and Kris Gurung, to show a method of re-building safely using affordable earth and natural materials which are used in the local tradition. The Earth Architecture technique used was based on “Emergency Sandbag Shelter, and Eco-Villages”, a technology which architect Nader Khalili tested at Cal-Earth Institute, and was approved in California’s highest seismic zone 4 during the 1990’s; this won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004 based on United Nations refugee prototypes. New Earth and the local architects instructed volunteers to build a transitional home for Surja Maya and Mangal Maharjan from 21st May to 12th June 2015 in the village of Lanagol – 15, Kirtipur.
The home was built by 100% volunteers, including the villagers themselves. In the midst of many aftershocks, the dome and vaults were unaffected. In the process, the earth bricks and materials from the fallen village house were recycled into the new home. Diverse people came together; Nepalis from all walks of life worked together with New-Earth’s team from the UK, Greece, and Bangladesh, who stayed in tents in the village. When an earthquake brings down the house, what remains are the people who survived, and “tradition” lives in them, not the house. Traditional values get overlooked when the modern, global building industry tries to rebuild by reinforcing and replicating the forms of the past. Yet this building process includes valuable traditions like village togetherness, helping each other, using available and affordable natural materials, working closely with the earth as they do in agriculture, building in the rhythm of climate and seasons, eating together, feeding each other, including the community’s prayers and ceremonies, the traditional way of using the house, and respecting the family/social relationships. By living in the village and working together as a family of souls, we learned that what is timeless in the traditional way of life can live on and be renewed by translating into safer, more stable forms based on timeless principles. As a process, the new house depended on brotherly/sisterly love and peaceful togetherness to be constructed.
Fatiha Polin, New Earth volunteer architect writes: “Surjamaya-Mongal Home: An expedition beyond expectation Lanagol, Kirtipur, Nepal: One home for a homeless elderly couple in the village of Lanagol, thousands of dream accumulated by hundreds of volunteers from different part of the world. Being a part of this project is being a part of our lost adolescence. We built, we played, we dream. We forget the pain of hard work, scorching sun, appetite for delicious food, we forget to be selfish. In return, we flooded by the love of those humble villagers, amazed by their strength of facing the destruction and accepting life as the way it is.”
We would like to thank the generosity of all those individual sponsors who contributed to this work, and the institutional support of HBRI (Housing Building and Research Institute) and IAB (Institute of Architects Bangladesh). In early 2014 and 2015, New Earth UK on the invitation of HBRI, brought the existing California-tested technology to the HBRI testing facility in Dhaka, to further its research for application in the SAARC region with their support. Based on these tests, we gained the confidence to go to Nepal during prolonged seismic activity and build a safe and lasting home.
New Earth’s original intention was to build an emergency shelter, but the high quality result was more than a “transitional” shelter, and can become a permanent home by adding good windows and doors, plastering, waterproofing and installing interior fittings and finishes. The total spent on the shelter phase was 1.3 Lakh NPR , and upgrading to permanent needs an additional 1.7 Lakh NPR. A new septic tank must also be added. With the knowledge gained by this project, it could be possible to reduce the transitional shelter cost by a further 1/2 Lakh NPR with appropriate training. During construction, we taught over 40 students and volunteers how to build a disaster resistant, safe and long-lasting shelter with available materials, using 95% unprocessed earth. Based on these costs, Nepali villagers with a little financial support, could most easily re-build their villages safely.
Turning Transitional CGI Vaulted Shelters into Permanent Homes.
The existing CGI vaulted shelters in Nepal could be re-used to form multiple vaulted roofed homes based on the tested California prototypes and construction specifications. Such houses could be designed to incorporate sustainability principles such as heating with the sun and cooling with the wind, by scientific orientation, calculation and design. Several prototypes could also provide models of sustainability to inspire the whole country.
The experience of seeing the devastating effects of the earthquake on the traditional houses, and the success of building one sample shelter during the aftershocks, reinforced for us the strong message that tradition is more than mere looks. Now in Nepal, are people going to be nostalgic to go back to the way things used to look, or will they move beyond the looks and carry with them what is valuable and lasting into safe homes in the future? The Sandbag Shelter system offers a safe scaffold, like the basic chassis of a car, onto which people can customise their own colours, decorative symbols, spatial arrangements, and meanings. We believe the Nepali people will rise to this challenge and include disaster resistant earth housing into their 21st century vision.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and their organisations: Aware Nepal, Rotaract Club of Durbar Patton Square, Change the Lives.
Photogallery of Building the House In Lanagol, Nepal.
Nepal earthquake survivors need transitional shelter, NOW !
After the magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April, and shook the continent from India to Bangladesh, more than 8,461 people have died and are 16,808 injured. More than 4,16,359 houses are damaged and mostof the people are sleeping out in tents unable to go back to their ruined homes. International aid agencies are on the ground helping them with food, medicine, water and more. Yet a pressing need for earthquake victims’ families is safe, transitional shelter until the ruined homes can be repaired or re-built. Our team is going to Nepal IMMEDIATELY to teach and build “Emergency Sandbag Shelter”, a self-help transitional shelter system which has passed the strictest seismic tests in California and won the Aga Khan Award for architecture.WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO TEACH LOCAL PEOPLE TO BUILD SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! The whole world is donating in every way they can. Among 5 basic needs, after food and clothes they need SHELTER. And YOUhave a chance to help them in this very crucial TIME & SPACE. How about donating the value of your morning cup of tea or coffee?
Welcome in series of WORKSHOP IN THE CAFE: “Surviving in the 21st century”, going to Conducted by Architect Iliona Outram Khalili and Aktanin Khair Tanin.
Let’s celebrate our lives on this earth with its knowledge in this 2 hours workshop on how to survive in this global natural disaster and manmade crisis with freely available natural elements like earth, air , water and fire.
Date and Time
Pomme de Pain – UK
260 Tottenham Court Road,
(1 min walk from Tottenham Court Road Station and 2 min walk from Goodge Street Station by Northernline tube, opposite of Barclays Bank)
Surviving 2012 & Beyond Book £5
( All the money will go to Nepal Earthquake Charity)
Nepal earthquake survivors need transitional shelter NOW !
After the magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April, and shook the continent from India to Bangladesh, more than 5,000 people have died and are 10,000 injured. More are sleeping out in tents unable to go back to their ruined homes. International aid agencies are on the ground helping them with food, medicine, water and more. Yet a pressing need for earthquake victims’ families is safe, transitional shelter until the ruined homes can be repaired or re-built. Our team is going to Nepal IMMEDIATELY to teach and build “Emergency Sandbag Shelter”, a self-help transitional shelter system which has passed the strictest seismic tests in California and won the Aga Khan Award for architecture. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO TEACH LOCAL PEOPLE TO BUILD SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! The whole world is donating in every way they can. Among 5 basic needs, after food and clothes they need SHELTER. And YOU have a chance to help them in this very crucial TIME & SPACE. How about donating the value of your morning cup of tea or coffee?
Today’s globalized civillization is geared towards the end product, and selling it. Everyone wants to have an end product that is repeatable, scaleable, and saleable. New-Earth’s work does not dispute that, but it is not our focus. We see the process and the person as inseparable from the end result. As innovators, we must always return to the universe’s timeless principles, and seek only the essence as the inspiration for a new project. When we learn and work with these timeless principles in the spirit of unity, only then can we be sure of the appropriateness of the end product.
Our workshops for 2015 will be located in diverse countries, and we hope that you can join us. We will be building with “earth” and working with sustainable gardens, as well other practices, in the spirit of “research and insearch”.
This book was written over a period of almost 15 years and is not only an easy-to use manual, but woven into its text and its 700 photos and drawings is the development of a new technology. This technology was awarded one of the highest prizes in architecture in the world, the Aga Khan award for architecture, for a small and temporary refugee shelter because of what it represented, and thus a new category was created for it by the Judges, called “Prototype”. A prototype is not so much an end point as a starting point, a template, an idea that must go into application in diverse scenarios…..not repeated blindly as a machine repeats, but evolving consciously into every needed scenario.
Every Prototype is developed from certain timeless principles, and ultimately from a single origin, and an earth dome tells this story while being a practical product.
For how-to courses in Sandbag Shelter and Earth Architecture we recommend our friends and colleagues, Domoterra in Spain and Italy, the Instituto Omati/Superadobe Dojo in Guatemala and Cal-Earth Institute in California USA. For those who have already learned how to build in this way, you have in fact learned everything you need to know hands-on.
If you are interested in taking the next step to learn in-depth about the timeless principles which can help you become an innovator, then our workshops are for you. We cannot guarantee that they will focus only on Sandbag Shelter or building with earth, as they may include other arts and techniques which we feel are part of building an Eco-Village, but we can guarantee that this is the best way we have found so far to pass on the knowledge gained over the last 25 years working with earth.
“Within the hearts of all living entities resides the Supreme Lord, O Arjuna, and by the potency of the illusory energy orchestrates the movements of all living entities like figurines on a carousel
Just surrender solely unto Him, completely in every way, O Arjuna; by His grace you will receive transcendental peace and the eternal abode” – Bhagavad Gita 18:61 & 62
Sustainable Living Eco-Villages and Earth Architecture