Hands in the Mud
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Experimental Construction in Lahore
Friday, December 2, 2011
The opening ceremony of Institute for Experimental Construction (IEC) was held in the Beaconhouse National University, Raiwind Road, Lahore on April 29, 2011.
The theme of the event was Mud Housing and Appropriate Technology. Other related topics like Natural Disasters and Slums and Upgrading of Housing Experiments also came under lime light. The demonstration and discussion also included not only the construction but also the technical infra-structure (electricity supply, toilets, water filtration) and more.
The small mud house stands rather intelligently and provocatively against the monumental brick construction at BNU Tarogil Campus of Beacon House National University and points to a new problem area: How are the students supposed to gather their experiences, because the next catastrophes will surely come. Are we in Pakistan supposed to always wait for foreign help. Students of architecture must gather practical experience. Knowledge is Power, but knowledge comes out of practical experiences! This was amply recognized by the audience, mostly students of BNU and the Punjab University in addition to faculty members and others interested in Appropriate Technology.
Exhibition served to point out the problems very loudly. Discussion partners were available for some possible solutions. They included people like the construction contractor Iqbal from Harappa to Omar Hassan, Professor at the Beaconhouse National University.
The German architect Arne Tönissen who is currently involved in the construction of a traditional building in Sheikhupura using mud as construction material was also present. Shakeel Amir arrived with Farooq Ahmad from district Okara in order to demonstrate his Kite project, which revolves around using wind energy for charging a battery for operating a desert cooler in the health station of the village Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka.
After a visit and discussion at site, a workshop was conducted in the seminar hall of the BNU, in which the architect Arne Tönissen presented an introduction of his work and another presentation by the young researcher Shakeel Amir where he explained start of work by the Institute of Experimental Construction (IEC). Both the presentations were followed by question answers session.
Taking advantage of the occasion, Environment Protection Award by Foundation for Promotion of Academic Collaboration was presented to Architect Ghayyoor Obaid to acknowledge his work. The president and secretary general as well as some founding members of the foundation were also present on the occasion.
The event was made possible through the cooperation and permission of the BNU for the experimental construction, which hopefully will allow the students of the PU, COMSAT, NCA, UET to carry out experiments not only for fun but also to gather valuable necessary experiences.
The network of organizers and support organizations (German Embassy Islamabad, Senior Expert Service Bonn, Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture, Lahore) for the event was woven by a wanderer between the worlds, who was nominated as Senior Research Fellow by the FPAC in recognition of his services. He is so to say the founding director of the Institute, which will be meaningfully active only after involvement of the local colleagues. Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch is also president of the Royal University Centre, Cameroon. He reported and discussed with students his experiences at MIT in Boston and at the University of Stuttgart, suggesting for example a transport of cartons and foils from the Tetrapak-Company, located nearby, providing interesting working material to the students for using in experimental construction.Read more »