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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
close this folderExamples of roof materials
View the documentEarth reel roofs
View the documentSoil brick roof
View the documentClay tile roofs
View the documentGypsum-sisal conoid
View the documentPrecast concrete channel roof
View the documentFerrocement roofs
View the documentCorrugated fibre concrete roofing sheets
View the documentFibre and micro concrete tiles
View the documentDurable thatch with stiff-stem grasses
View the documentBamboo roof structure
View the documentPole timber roof structures
View the documentBamboo and wood shingles
View the documentCorrugated metal sheet roofiing
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of building systems
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Gypsum-sisal conoid


Special properties

Innovative material and design

Economical aspects

Low to medium costs



Skills required

Special training

Equipment required

Simple wooden framework

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane

Good, if protected from rain

Resistance to rain


Resistance to insects


Climatic suitability

Dry climates

Stage of experience



• This is an experimental unit, developed by Prof. Roberto Mattone and Gloria Pasero at the Turin Polytechnic, Italy.

• The conoid unit has a shape which makes it suitable for use as roofing as well as wall components.

• The aim was to produce a strong, versatile component from gypsum and sisal (which are abundantly available in some regions), using simple formwork and equipment.

• Laboratory tests showed a good strength to weight performance, since the fibres have high tensile strength and bond well with the gypsum. Furthermore, resistance to fire and biological attack is good.

• The main drawback is the solubility of gypsum in water, which calls for a completely waterproof surface protection.

Further information: Prof. Roberto Mattone, Facolta di Architettura, Politecnico di Torino,

Viale Mattioli 39, Torino 10125, Italy; Bibl. 23.15.

Preparing the formwork: the timber frame is filled with broken bricks and stone, first large pieces, then small pieces and finally a fine sand, which is smoothed to the desired shape, and covered with a polythene sheet. On this the gypsum-sisal mortar is spread to form the conoid.

Potential assembly of the modules

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