Have been thinking on the alternate material to be used in low cost rural housing to make it a self helped house and finally got an idea as to use the Sugar can juice and the molasis to prepare block that can be laid one upon the other to make it a self helped housing. in this technique the Sugarcane juice is sun dried till its voulume is reduced to half and than the saw dust and rice husk is mixed to it, to make it an aqous paste and pour into a block reinfore with Sugar cane Molasis which is abundant in the village. This wil have a non erodable mud plaster on both the sides and also a bitumen cutback layer on the outer side to make it water proof. All these being very light in weight wil be very suitablefor Earth Quake prone zone.
thus i repuest u to give ur comments on this new proposed building material to make the necessary improvement in it.
My question is about an insect infestation (like ants) going for the material. Have you tried making the blocks and leaving them outside for a while?
It will be interesting to know your results.
In addition to Maria s response, i think it s very intresting to take a look at Dr. Hasan Fathy s work (available on archnet)...
I second Souheib's suggestion and also looking at Barefoot Architect's project in Tilonia, India. I think it is here as well, and it won a prize from the Aga Khan Foundation.
It is great to develop new materials, but in case your material can't do it all, then "make do" from other things and have them as alternatives in your design.
Both are innovative projects.
Best of luck.
Like others who are responding, I would question the use of a sticky agent like molasses...it is not necesary to introduce a material that has no relativity to the clay blocks you using. Instead of mixing a aqueous solution, you should make a paste of the same clay base as the blocks, so they adhere better. Look at what Hebel has done with their AAC blocks, the adhesive is from the same base as the blocks. And as for earthquake resistance...try mixing fibres derived from sugarcane into the blocks and the external plaster to give these walls some resistance to movement. I specialize in earthquake proof design here in Asia. ciao for now