Friday, May 23, 2008


When thinking about the recent earthquake in China, and the tragedy of Myanmar, I was reminded of the work of an old friend from Cambridge who was working on the problem of affordable, safe, mud-based houses, boats and such, at MIT. At the time he was showing, in his thesis, how one could use mud and chickenwire to create said homes and boats. I think he already knew what the future was going to bring.

Doing a simple search, I found this related article on some of his more recent work, which needs to be embraced and multiplied.


Mr Sultan told Dawn that he had designed mud houses that could withstand a 8.5 intensity earthquake - one point higher than the October tremor which measured 7.6 on the Richter Scale.

Mud houses could be highly resistant to seismic forces if modern architectural techniques are used in their construction.

“Iran did nothing good by putting a ban on building mud houses after the Bam earthquake. I can prove that Iran’s decision was unwise,” he said, claiming that his building techniques would be best for Iran, Turkey and other countries located in dangerous seismic zones.

All the building materials - mud being the basic - required for the house he designed are indigenously produced and could be put together simply. That makes the construction cost of the mud house very low, he said.