In 2011, architect Eike Roswag developed a seven classroom infrastructure that would prove to be an affordable and eco-friendly construction plan for the struggling community of Jar Maulw. The Tipu Sultan Merkez School has served as a place of opportunity for underprivileged girls in Pakistan for the past ten years. As financial hardships have increased within their local economy, the expansion of a larger school facility remained a distant idea. That was until Eike Roswag executed the two year TSM extension project.
The project was specially designed to illustrate traditional building methods while utilizing readily available resources such as earthen bricks and bamboo. Compared to wood, bamboo was harvested at a lower cost and even became an energy saving alternative to concrete. With the participation of local craftsmen and additional supporters of the privately financed school, the expansion became a reality.
Vernacular architecture building techniques are popular in Pakistan and provide various ecological and economic benefits to locals. Construction was divided into two building phases beginning with the ground level. In order for the structure to withstand earthquakes and climate changes, a solid earthen foundation was necessary. A traditional cob technique was used to make clay-like bricks that held the lower floor together. As for the upper floor, a triple layer of bamboo poles were connected securely to protect against the outdoor climate. The combination of the earthen material and bamboo poles allowed for moisture regulation and climate control within the building.
The two story school housed two kindergarten groups, five grammar classes, and four advanced classes. The project was a success and even received a Holcim Award with 100,000 dollar cash reward. Construction was completed in 2013 and currently offers new training seminars, self-help, business support, and health advisory for the community. Each training seminar focuses on bamboo and earth construction techniques. In the future, the school hopes to offer courses that deal with bamboo specifically. In this case, bamboo has certainly made a positive impact on the Pakistan community! For more information about The Earthen School Tipu Sultan Merkez, visit The Holcim Foundation.