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Pamtbuh was one of the two sites finally chosen for the construction of structures demonstrating the building technologies for the 5 identified Housing Construction Zones identified by us for rural Meghalaya. This area was clearly in what was Housing Zone 4 (high meghalayan plateau, with high wind, sandy soils, very sparse tree growth), but was also relatively close to Housing Zone 5 (southern hills, high rainfall, tropical, access to good bamboo, clayey soil and so on).  The design of the building took up to the task to demonstrate design considerations and construction technologies applicable to both regions.

The site chosen was on a barren hillock, opposite the village of Pamtbuh. The hillock itself was a rocky and sandy, with lots of different grades of crushed gravel. There was no clay in the soil for either compressed earth blocks, let alone stabilised adobe blocks. After some initial soil testing, we chose to construct Mud Concrete blocks, with some minimal introduction of red clayey sol (sourced from about 15 km away to the south). Moulds were at a small fabricator for the price of Rs 3,000/- for two 9" x 12" x 4" moulds. 

The building was designed as two distinct and separate buildings. One housing the Meeting room also had the common toilets, and the other housed the NREGS and Computer Section. The Meeting room block was provided with a low height masonry wall, and a bamboo structure holding up a hipped roof with large overhangs, supported by brackets (originally, we had external row of columns supporting the 4 ft deep overhang).  The rear toilet block has a 9 inch thick full height masonry wall, which also provides the backdrop for the large meeting room wall. The NREGS and Computer Section Block was provided with sill high 4.5 inch thick block masonry. Here too a bamboo superstructure held up the bamboo trusses of the hipped roof structure. Brackets held up the deep overhangs of the roof of this block. The angle of roofs provided was 30 degrees to counter the high winds.  

Disaster resilient features were incorporated into the structures.... containment reinforcement tied to horizontal reinforcement bands of the masonry, bracing of the bamboo members, proper ties and anchoring of all members, and so on.

The area of this building was 1,840 sft in comparison to the originally stipulated 1,350 odd sft, and was built within the fixed budget of Rs 10.00 Lakhs.


Stabilised adobe block masonry and bamboo structure


Pamtbuh village, Amlarem Block, West Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya


Design : Jan 2016, Construction : Completed in Jan 2018

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