Earthquake resistant mud/bamboo structures
• This building system was developed and implemented by John Norton, Development Workshop, France, in a USAID technical assistance project in the Koumbia region of North West Guinea, following the December 1983 earthquake.
• Traditional houses were generally made of wattle and daub walls, and thatch roofs. Similar materials, techniques and house forms had to be used in reconstruction, in order to be sure of acceptance by the people. But the new houses had to be earthquake resistant.
• The solution arrived at was to construct the walls with sun-dried mud bricks and to strengthen them by tying bamboo frames on either side. This external reinforcement can be easily checked for termite or other damage and replaced if necessary, thus avoiding the problem faced by traditional houses, in which the concealed bamboo lattice was usually destroyed and consequently failed during the earthquake.
• With this construction, it was possible to retain the traditional house form and thatch roofing, so that no problems of social acceptance arose.
Further information: John Norton, Development Workshop, B.P. 10 Montayral, 47500 Fumel, France; Bibl. 24.13, 24.14, 25.10.
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