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Samskara, Made in India © 2014 Anshika Varma

Teaching

Delhi, SPA University

EXPLORING FERROCEMENT, 1:1 HANDS-ON BUILDING WORKSHOP
School of Planning and Architecture, (SPA),

New Delhi, India

October 2008

Director: Anupama Kundoo

Faculty members: Ar. Mona Chandra, Ar. Manjushree Golhar
Photography team: Satish Rawtani, Aditi Gupta, Kushagra Keshav

Background
Ferrocement was first reportedly used in 1847, and its early applications concentrated chiefly on boat building until the Italian engineer Pier Nervi in the early 1940s demonstrated the material’s suitability for roof structures. Nervi’s roofs designed for the Italian Naval Academy swimming pool and the Turin Exhibition Hall still rank among the most spectacular examples of the use of ferrocement. In recent years, boat construction has still probably been the main area of ferrocement application though uses in housing, grain and water storage and biogas tanks, have gained increasing popularity.

Particular relevance to developing countries
In 1972, according to the findings of a project supported by the US. National Academy of Sciences to assess the utilization of ferrocement in developing countries, ferrocement was concluded to be be particularly suited to developing countries for the following reasons:
Its basic raw materials are available in most countries. It can be fabricated into almost any shape to meet the needs of the user; traditional designs can be reproduced and often improved. Properly fabricated, it is more durable than most woods and much cheaper than imported steel, and it can be used as a substitute for these materials in many application. The skills for ferrocement construction are quickly acquired, and incluse many skills traditional in developing countries. Ferrocement construction does not need heavy plant or machinery; it is labour intensive. Except for sophisticated and highly stressed designs, as those for deep-water vessels, a trained supervisor can achieve the requisite amount of quality control using fairly unskilled labour for the fabrication.
(Report by the US National Academy of Sciences publication of 1973)