This project was a collaboration with Johanna Greenspan-Johnston and Micaela Hall as part of course requirements from 4.411—D-lab’s School.

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The project began with site analysis. We examined climate data from nearby Kathmandu and what little data we could gather of Marbu, as well. We used our analysis of climate data to come up with a simple model of our ideas for insulation. We outfitted the model with temperature sensors, and tested the model for two weeks. We iterated over the design, changing the roof to include clarestory windows when we discovered we needed more ventilation. We additionally designed shutters to improve air flow.

Rendering of School
A rendering of the finished school design. The main facade of the building is coated in clay, and the columns as well as the roof are constructed of bamboo, which is native to Nepal.
Wind Analysis Wind Analysis
We used the program CoolVent to test the airflow with wind from all directions. A rainbow spectrum represents windspeed, with yellow being the fastest, and blue being less than 1 m/s. Light blue is ideal. On the right, the shutters funnel the air into the building. On the left, airflow through the windows is evident.


We researched precedents for other seismically stable dwellings, and found houses in Pakistan built with local materials that used cross bracing for stability. We incorporated a similar idea into our design. As part of our research, we explored the tensile strength of clay bricks, and how their strength varied with the inclusion of cement. We tested the bricks that we made. In our design, we imagined bamboo cross bracing infilled with bricks made of local materials, which would provide plenty of support in a seismic event.

Pakistani house Bracing Diagram
Left: Precedent for rock-filled cross braces in Pakistani house. Right: Diagram of execution.

Daylight Plan Daylight Snap
Left: Overhead view of Daylight Analysis, completed using DIVA. Blue indicates 0% daylit during time occupied (9am-6pm) and orange indicates 100% daylit. Right: A snapshot of light strength at 9am on February 12.