In early 2015, a temporary structure was erected for a few classes of the primary sections of the English Medium School in Nongbah Myrdon village. A new school block was to be built here to replace this structure. We were approached to design and guide the construction.
This building was envisioned as an adobe and bamboo structure, utilising the resources of the region. Myrdon had excellent red soil that lent itself beautifully to the making of adobe blocks. Moulds were made locally in Umnsing. Bambusa Balcoa, a construction grade species of bamboo was sourced from a nearby village, for the main structural components.
We had initiated some work on training youth from Nongbah village as part of a livelihood programme that we had initiated and remain involved with, and they were employed for the construction of this structure. Click here for more on this.
The school designed has 6 classrooms distributed across two blocks. Two classes are housed in a single storyed block, that is predominantly a bamboo superstructure, with cement plastered wall panels, and low height stabilised adobe masonry walls. Four more classrooms are in a double storeyed structure. The lower floor of this block is made with full height stabilised walls made using 9 inch thick blocks. As part of design for Sesimic Zone 5, in which all of Meghalaya falls, all the masonry walls are provided with horizontal reinforcement at plinth, sill, lintel and wall top levels. They are additionally provided with buttress like stiffeners and GI wire containment. The upper floor of the doube storeyed block is a bamboo superstructure, similar to that of the single storeyed block. Both blocks are provided with a large span bamboo roofs, comprising of two inverted trusses, that extend well beyond the rear side and the front verandah that runs all along the east side of the school. The extended portions of the roofs are supported over external columns that are tied to the main superstructure.
The upper floor of the double storeyed block has a timber floor, supported on MS channels which are in turn supported on large span metal girders... all of this was fabricated right at the site.
Stabilised adobe block masonry and bamboo structure
Nongbah Myrdon village, Umsning Block, Ri Bhoi District, Meghalaya
Design : Nov 2017,
Construction : In Progress