STRAW



Straw

Straw belongs to the family of grasses. Grasses are plants, which typically have one seed leaf and continue to grow with narrow leaves from their base. The family includes “true grasses”, sedges and rushes. The Chair of Architecture and Construction at FCL is mostly interested in true grasses such as bamboo and cerials, since their characteristics show a high potential for taking tensile stress.

The Chair of Architecture and Construction at FCL Singapore started a research project together with the Bauhaus University in Weimar and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development in Addis Ababa focusing on straw panel building technology. New settlements are emerging in developing territories almost every day, growing fast into urban conglomerates. One of the biggest problems in emerging cities is next to infrastructure measurements, available and affordable building materials and techniques for shelter production. The research project is focusing on the development of innovative and low-weight construction materials for emerging cities in developing territories, based on agricultural “waste” products like straw.

Straw panels and first ideas about load-bearing applications (Source: Prof. Dr. Dirk Donath)

The company STRAWTEC© in Berlin, Germany developed over the last years a production system for pressed straw panels. Through heat, the natural starch in the straw is activated and functions as natural glue without any other chemical additions. So far, the panels are only used as non-bearing structural elements. The project will investigate possibilities to develop the product and invent construction methods for load bearing applications. Presumed a positive research outcome, this innovative method could be applied in developing territories, which are economically agricultural based, including India, China and Indonesia.

SUDU and SECU at the AFRITECTURE exhibition Munich, Germany

afritecture

CoReSing is exhibiting the research projects SUDU and SECU as a joint effort of the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development and the Bauhaus University Weimar at the AFRITECTURE exhibition of the Architekturmuseum, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany. Additionally, the exhibition features the two movies “Disappearing Spaces” and “Emerging Spaces” from the cinematic research project by Felix Heisel and Bisrat Kifle.

In the accompaning catalogue, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel is featured with three articles (one with Prof. Dirk Donath of Weimar University) explaining the efforts of CoReSing on establishing alternative building materials and construction methods in Africa and how this doing could be reflected in architectural education programs.

Contemporary architectural practice in Africa is witness to many new and innovative approaches in the area of socially committed building: schools, nursery schools, marketplaces, hospitals, cultural centers, sports facilities and assembly halls. It is these public buildings and commonly used spaces in particular where signs of new utility and architectural concepts are made manifest. In many cases, future users are directly involved in the design and building processes. In addition to the use of the latest technology many of the construction projects are being developed with local materials and resume dormant building traditions.

In its exhibition »AFRITECTURE – Building Social Change« the Architekturmuseum der TU München sheds a spotlight on those projects, with a particular emphasis on those that have been initiated by architects and whose conceptualization incorporates global relationships in addition to those of local culture and individual social groups. By taking into account ecological, economic and social aspects several architects have developed sustainable approaches and solutions to some of the continent’s most pressing design challenges. The exhibition comprises twenty-eight projects from ten countries within Subsaharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and South Africa. All projects have been developed since the turn of the millenium and have been planned by African as well as European and North American architects.

SECU Workshop Video now online

Successful EiABC/ETH/FCL/Bauhaus University Workshop in Addis Ababa on Straw Panel Technology

Addis Ababa/Singapore/Zuerich April 2012

The EiABC together with the Bauhaus University Weimar and the Chair of Architecture and Construction at FCL Singapore completed successfully the first construction of a double storey dwelling unit out of straw panels world wide. The so-called Sustainable Emerging City Unit (SECU) workshop arose immense interest from nation wide media and the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction. During the workshop, State Minister Heilemeskel Tefera announced to support the project to make the technology available for mass housing projects in Ethiopia. In near future, building codes need to be established, further research has to be conducted and production facilities need to be erected. The Chair of Architecture and Construction at FCL Singapore commited itself to be a strong partner of EiABC in the years to come to achieve these goals. We want to thank all partners for their immense energy and work, especially to all students who attended the workshop from EiABC, Bauhaus University Weimar and ETH Zuerich.

EiABC: Prof. Dr. Dirk Donath, Helawi Sewnet, Belay Getachew, Denamo Addissie, Ingo Oexmann, Jakob Mettler, Peter Dissel, Karsten Schlesier, Sami Tsegu, Fahmi Girma, Melakeselam Moges, Nejmia Ali, Mintesinot Tekle, Samrawit Tazezew, Henok Teshome, Habtamu Regassa, Aknaw Yohannes, Seyume Weldeyesuse, Estifanos Kiflu, Mohammed Jemal, Seife Abdulsemed, Nejat Hassen, Peniel Tekle, Regbe Hagos, Fruta Haddish, Samia Ibrahim

Bauhaus University Weimar: Prof. Dr. Bernd Rudolf, Stephan Schuetz, Timo Riechert, Michael Baer, Carolina Kolodziej, Nadine Wolz, Tereza Spindlerová, Paul Eikemeier, Mona Volkmann, Amelie Wegner, Johannes Martin, Victoria Goldmann, Anna Rodermund, Sebastian Linder

FCL/ETHZ: Asst. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, Marta Wisniewska, Felix Heisel, Martin Kugelmeier, Sarah Sassi, Tanja Studer, Christian Schwizer and Nike Himmels

Special thanks: Chair of Building Construction EiABC Prof. Dirk Donath, BAM – Federal Material Testing Institute Berlin, AAiT, ICEAddis, D-Arch BUWeimar, D-Arch ETH Zuerich, ETH Sustainability, ETH Global, FCL Singapore, Chair of Information Architecture ETHZ Prof. Gerhard Schmitt, Strawtec Group AG Berlin Eckhardt Dauck and Dirk Niehaus, Frank Wildenhayn, Dr. Karola Hahn, Joachim Dieter, Fasil Giorghis, Prof. Elias Yitbarek, Bisrat Kifle, Teddy Kifle, Binyam Kifle, Prof. Dirk Donath and his energetic and highly motivated EiABC team

see also www.eiabc.edu.et/secu-project


National Media, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, State Minister Hailemeskel Tefera, Prof. Dirk Donath, advisors to the State Minister

Photo credits: Marta Wisniewska.

 

ETH/FCL/EiABC/Bauhaus University conduct Workshop in Addis Ababa on Straw Panel Technology

Addis Ababa/Singapore/Zuerich April 2012

In collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) and the Bauhaus University in Weimar, the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk Hebel at the Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, ETHZ is conducting a one-week workshop to construct a full-scale double-story building out of straw panels in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Five students of the Department of Architecture of ETH Zürich were offered the opportunity to join this international workshop, which concentrates on testing a building material, produced completely out of straw. New settlements are emerging in developing territories like Ethiopia almost every day, growing fast into urban conglomerates. One of the biggest problems in emerging cities is next to infrastructure measurements, available and affordable building materials and techniques for shelter production. The SECU (Sustainable Emerging Cities Unit) research project is focusing on the development of innovative and low-weight construction materials for emerging cities in developing territories, based on agricultural “waste” products like straw.

The company STRAWTEC© in Berlin developed over the last years a production system for pressed straw panels. Through heat, the natural starch in the straw is activated and functions as natural glue without any other chemical additions. So far, the panels are only used as non-bearing structural elements. The workshop will investigate possibilities to further develop the product and test construction methods for load bearing applications.