Commissioned to demonstrate building technologies recommended by us as a part of the 'Sustainable Housing Technologies for Rural Meghalaya', we were given 3 sites. Of the two we finally went ahead with this site at Paham Village, on the northwestern corner of the state of Meghalaya, near the floor plains of the Brahmaputra, as it bends to the south as it heads towards Bangladesh. Paham village is a village of the Rabha community, and is a landscape that is dotted with scattered low lying hilly outcrops from amongst a flat plain. The plains are usually agricultural patches, mainly paddy, and are often submerged in the flood waters of the mighty Brahmaputra.
The building itself was a 'U' shaped structure created by the close clustering of three distinct blocks, with a connected corridor following the 'U' around a central court. This shape follows the typology of the adobe houses built in these lower areas of western and southern Garo Hills. The building is accessed from the West, and comprised of the NREGS office block, a large meeting room block, and the Computer section block (which also housed the common toilets).
The NREGS block has with sill high stabilised adobe block masonry walls and bamboo columns holding up a bamboo roof. The wall area above the masonry is cement plastered on a split bamboo framework. The meeting room, has full height stabilised adobe block masonry walls with a 6 metre span bamboo trussed roof above. The computer section is cement plastered split bamboo panels held between bamboo columns, and a bamboo truss roof above. The toilets are full height masonry structures with stabilised adobe block masonry.
The entire building has a number of disaster resilient features like cross bracing of the bamboo framework in the vertical and horizontal planes, and intermittent GI containment on all masonry walls tied to the horizontal bands provided at plinth, sill, lintel and wall top levels. All masonry openings were also provided with reinforcement all around.
The Seva Kendra has an overall area of around 1,800 sft, which is larger than the stipulated requirement of around 1,350 sft. This building was built within an extremely tight and fixed budget of Rs 10 Lakhs.
Stabilised adobe block masonry and bamboo structure
Paham village, Selsella Block, West Garo Hills, Meghalaya
Design: Jan 2016, Construction: Completed in Jan 2018