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close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT; 1988; 430 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building materials
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building elements
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on protective measures
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of foundation materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of floor materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of wall materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of roof materials
close this folderExamples of building systems
View the documentMud brick vaults and domes
View the documentEarthquake resistant mud/bamboo structures
View the documentAdobe brick house
View the documentModular framed earth block construction
View the documentLok Bild system
View the documentConcrete panel house
View the documentFerrocement housing units
View the documentFibracreto building system
View the documentBamboocrete construction
View the documentBamboo houses
View the documentPrefabricated timber hut
View the documentPrefabricated wooden house
View the documentTimber houses for flood areas
View the documentRha-lime prototype house
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Modular framed earth block construction


Special properties

Earthquake resistant, light frame, easy assembly

Economical aspects

Low cost



Skills required

Average construction skills

Equipment required

Soil block press, simple construction equipment

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on soil stabilization

Resistance to insects

Medium to good

Climatic suitability

All except extremely hot dry climates

Stage of experience

Applications in relief projects in Africa


• The key elements of this building system are hollow steel connectors and specially formed earth blocks made in a manual block press (with a system of inserts).

• The steel connectors have either square or circular cross-sections and are used to connect straight pipes of square or circular section, or even sawn timber or bamboo components, to form the basic framework, which carries a light, corrugated aluminium sheet roof.

• The earth blocks, produced on the MARO Block Press (see ANNEX), are made to interlock with the framework to form durable walls. This system is ideally suited for disaster relief housing projects. A single truck-load of connectors, roofing sheets and a few block presses can be sufficient to build a group of houses with local soil and bamboo.

• The framework should rest on concrete strip foundations, though for temporary structures no foundation is needed.

• The walls can initially be plastic sheets (for immediate shelter), which are gradually replaced by earth blocks or even locally available burnt clay bricks, such that the quickly erected refugee tent camps are efficiently converted into permanent housing by self-help and low-cost methods. Extensions are possible in all directions.

Further information: Mark Klein, MARO Enterprise, 95 bis Route de Suisse, CH-1290 Versoix (Geneva), Switzerland.

MARO Construction System

Steel connectors with square and circular sections

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