Not all of the world has ready and affordable access to manufactured materials. In Bangladesh, Anna Heringer & Eike Roswag designed the Modern Education and Training Institute (METI) using the vernacular materials of earth and bamboo. These projects offer an even greater opportunity for designers to express the materials in a new way while still utilizing their natural buildable strength.
For this project the designers used local labor and readily available materials, but the design doesn’t follow the typical conventions of Bangladesh’s alluvial sand bricks. For the first floor they used a technique similar to cob walling where a straw-earth mixture is layered and trimmed down. Each layer dries for about a week before the next layer is added.
From explorations in local materials and a combination of local laborers, regional builders, and world designers the METI building provided “help for self-help.” It was a teaching tool for all parties involved simply because of the questions asked in the design.
In this scenario the simplicity of the material and the low technical knowledge required allowed any level of labor to be involved in the building process. This example is very loosely applicable in the Western Built world when there are so many structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc. systems going into the building.