Summer School Program

Description of Workshop

Topics: alternative construction, social design, emergency architecture,
safe construction, hands-on building experience
Disciplines: architecture, civil engineering
Type: complete design & build workshop
Hands-on: solar cooking, soil testing, the art of upcycling, height challenge
Field Trip: highly recommended
Duration: 3 to 6 weeks

Summer School – Building your own ideas with your own hands!

The summer school program is the most complete package, as it combines elements of all our formats. Through a series of lectures, design assignments and hands-on experiments, it will lead to the grand finale: Building your own design with your own hands!

The first week is all about changing perception and creating different mindsets. The participants are subjected to sets of extreme design conditions in difficult contexts. The students will realize that the surprising outcomes of the assignments and experiments are universal and that they apply to all disciplines and design tasks.

In week 2 and 3 we introduce them to unconventional materials and alternative techniques, such as the use of natural materials and recyclables. All this knowledge and experience will be transformed into a full design and building strategy for their final task; building an actual structure. This can be walls, roofing systems, benches, playground equipment, a cafeteria… the sky is the limit!

Although this program is meant for students of architecture and civil engineering, we encourage students of different disciplines to participate as well. We strongly believe that cross-breeding of knowledge creates better solutions and unexpected outcomes.

 

Aims and Outcomes

The program aims to change the minds of the students completely in order to stimulate out-of-the box thinking, but in a realistic way. During the design courses we will introduce them to unconventional materials and create enthusiasm about alternative construction techniques and the need for sustainable solutions.

We will encourage the students to make designs that directly benefit the university or local community. We can raise awareness about waste and recycling concepts, by making a recycling station that is built from waste materials. Or we can build a cafeteria on campus, which is completely off-grid, by using solar applications and biogas.

While constructing their own creation, the students will learn first-hand to discuss, coordinate, collaborate, and compromise. The hands-on approach will provide insight in the detailing of non-conventional materials, such as corner solutions, connecting the elements, making openings, finishing and such.

Along with directly applicable knowledge, and powered by hands-on experience, the students will learn to develop strong and sensible designs, which will guide them in their future work.

 

Lectures and Timetable for Week 1: Social Design

#1. Introduction about the work of Smart Shelter Foundation and explanation of the design assignments to the participants. (30 minutes)

#2. T-Shelters and Semi-Permanent Housing; What can we offer to people in post-disaster areas, when there is minimal finance available for reconstruction? (1 hour)

#3. Case Study; Rebuilding after the Tsunami in Sri Lanka; Full description of the design and rebuilding of 170 houses on the east coast, in a post-disaster and conflicted area. (1 hour 15 minutes)

#4. Case Study; Building a school in India with Earth Blocks; Complete story from design phase, to making blocks and masonry in a small village. (1 hour 15 minutes)

#5. Case Study; Building Earthquake Resistant Mountain Schools in Nepal; Construction overview for building safe schools in remote mountain areas. (1 hour)

#6. Lessons Not Learned; Relief Work and Developing Aid; A Critical View. Why is it difficult to work in developing countries or disaster struck areas, how can we deal with these situations? (1 hour)

Morning Program Afternoon Program
Day 1 #1 Opening + spaghetti challenge
#2 Semi-permanent housing
#3 Rebuilding in Sri Lanka
Start design brief
Day 2 #4 Case study India
Work on design brief
#5 Case study Nepal
Work on design brief
Day 3 Prepare for halfway presentations Halfway presentations
#6 Lessons not learned
Day 4 Field trip or local research Field trip or local research
Day 5 Field trip or local research Field trip or local research
Day 0 Field trip or local research in weekend (optional) Field trip or local research in weekend (optional)

Lectures and Timetable for Week 2: The Art of Upcycling

#7. Wastewide Architecture; Inspiring examples from all over the world, of artists, designers and architects that use secondary materials in their work. (3 x 45 minutes)

#8. Movie ‘Garbage Warrior’. (1 hour 30 minutes)

#9. Engineering for the Bottom of the Pyramid; improving the lives of people by designing simple devices for lighting, energy, cooking (product design), tools and machinery (mechanical engineering). Includes making a solar cooker from campus waste. (1 full day)

Morning Program Afternoon Program
Day 6 #7 Wastewide architecture pt.1
Explain assignment
#7 Wastewide architecture pt.2 + pt.3
Start collecting materials
Day 7 #8 Movie
Work on art and products
Work on art and products
Day 8 #9 Engineering for the BoP +
Solar cooker assignment
Solar cooker assignment
Day 9 Work on art and products Work on art and products
Day 10 Work on art and products Work on art and products
Explain new assignment for Monday
Day 0 Work on art and products in weekend (optional) Work on art and products in weekend (optional)
Day 11 Present art and products
Prepare height challenge
Height challenge

Lectures and Timetable for Week 3: Natural Materials

#10. Building with Earth; An overview of 12 different construction types and examples of vernacular earthen architecture worldwide. (2 x 1 hour)

#11. Soil Identification; How to recognize different types of soils and how to modify them for certain construction uses. Includes soil testing assignment. (1/2 day)

#12. Building with Bamboo, examples from all over the world. (1 hour)

#13. Movie ‘Superadobe, the works of Nader Khalili. (55 min.)

Morning Program Afternoon Program
Day 12 #10 Building with earth pt.1
Explain final assignment
#10 Building with earth pt.2
Work on designs for building week
Day 13 #11 Soil identification +
Soil testing assignment
Work on designs for building week
Day 14 #12 Building with bamboo
Work on designs for building week
#13 Movie
Work on designs for building week
Day 15 Finalize and present designs Prepare site, materials, tools,
equipment for the next week
Day 0 Prepare site, materials, tools,
equipment for the next week (optional)
Prepare site, materials, tools,
equipment for the next week (optional)

Timetable for Week 4: Building the Structure

#14. Movie ‘Taste the Waste’ (1 hour 15 minutes)

#15. Closedown Lecture; The future strategy of Smart Shelter Foundation; A Center for Alternative Construction and Disaster Response. (20 minutes)

Morning Program Afternoon Program
Day 16 Start construction Work on-site
Day 17 Work on-site + #14 Movie
Test solar cookers during lunch
Work on-site
Day 18 Work on-site
Test solar cookers during lunch
Work on-site
Day 19 Work on-site
Test solar cookers during lunch
Work on-site
Day 20 Finalize construction Finalize construction
#15 Close down and closing party

 

Summer School Requirements

For the design weeks with lectures and hands-on experiments we don’t need anything other than the workshop requirements as described here.

However, for the construction week we need to have several things in place:

  • We need a site or space to carry out the work, preferably on campus or nearby the university. We may need certain approvals from the university or the local authorities. The advantage of building on campus is that students are able to continue, expand and use their structures in the future.
  • We must have our building materials ready and available before we start constructing. Although we are focusing on natural materials and recyclables, please keep in mind that finding, collecting or purchasing of materials takes time, and some costs may be involved.
  • For tools (shovels, hammers, drills) and perhaps some simple materials for connections (nails, screws, tape) we may need to include some budget. If the university has a work hall or tool shed on their premises, this may reduce the costs.
  • A list of all expected items, materials and tools will depend on the type of structures we are going to build, and will be drafted in advance, with all parties involved.
  • A small budget should be reserved for some food and drink items, which we will prepare with our own built solar cookers. It would be nice to organize a small closing party on the last day as well.

Important Note

The proposed 4-week schedule on this page is not fixed, and everything can be discussed and adjusted. For example, if you want to include more actual building time and less lectures, just let us know, and we will make a custom-made proposal that serves you best. Please send us a request by filling in the contact form.