Edition #19, March 2006

Creative solutions during a special period

Orlando Espinosa
Orlando Espinosa

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and intensified US economic sanctions, Cuba suffered a lack of economic and material resources, a difficult situation called the "Special Period". This implied a permanent search for solutions. Investigations underway about EcoMaterials also were affected by the lack of resources, but, creative and ingenious solutions always emerged to resolve small inconveniences.

Orlando Espinosa, EcoSouth consultant, spoke about how the lack of the commercial metallic screens required for the granulometer test forced him to search for a cheap and available solution which he found it in empty metal cookie boxes. In these boxes hundreds of small holes were made with a hammer and a nail, of a diameter that approximated those of the commercial metallic screens. With these perforated cookie boxes, the granulometer tests were carried out and work with the MCR tiles continued. He said that in return for the favor, "we simply invited the colleague who gave us the cookie boxes and helped us to make the holes, to eat fried chicken and drink a beer."Although EcoMaterials technologies use simple materials and resources that are easily and locally available, or that can be improvised, behind such apparently simple solutions, lies a large history of scientific research. 

First experience with MCR tiles

Most of those who attended the third International EcoMaterials Conference had just heard or read about the MCR tiles in the EcoSur website and, therefore, were attracted to the stand in the conference hall, where an MCR production unit was displayed, along with MCR tiles. During the three day event many people had their first exposure to MicroConcrete Roofing tiles, and admired the quality and properties of the tiles, as well as the first hand experience with the machinery and the process. A 10-minute video focused upon MCR production in Ecuador (part of it is available in the "publications" section of the website). Conference participants could see the "flagship" product of the EcoSur Network, understand how it works and how the tiles are made.
The MCR tiles for the counter came from Ecuador, where MCR tiles are marketed under the "Techofácil" trademark. Although one of the tiles broke during transportation, it was not a lost. Rather, the broken tile was useful to demonstrate the internal structure of the MicroConcrete Roofing tile.


Su primera experiencia



Campus EcoSur

The Campus program fits within the commitment of the EcoSouth Network to lead the process of knowledge sharing about the construction sciences. Its first activity of forming human capacity in the area of EcoMaterials encompasses the theme of "Earth", another response to the interest expressed at EcoMaterials 2001 and the followup presented in the Earth Seminar in Havanna prior to EcoMaterials 2005. It is a course in Spanish open and with cost, directed toward students, professionals and those engaged in construction and has limited space for participants. A flyer concerning the course accompanies this summary. 

More information in www.campus.ecosur.org


Student workshop about EcoMaterials in house design

Taller estudiantil While some people believe that building with EcoMaterials leads to a rather typical architecture without variety of design, many committed architects think that building with EcoMaterials is the right path towards the dreamed of sustainability. More so, if one considers the people who will live in the houses, as well as the context of location, climate and culture, it is possible to design appropriate and attractive houses. Mixing these elements together with architectural creativity was the task taken on by 5 teams of students at the construction faculty of the UCLVduring a 21 day period of work.

Read more: Student workshop about EcoMaterials in house design

Light weight floor slab system: Mini Vaults Technical Sheet

Mini VaultsThe Technical Sheet presented in this website update focuses upon a light weight floor slab system of modules of based upon beams with Mini Vaults between them. This is an idea system for intermediate floors in multi-storey buildings. It is a technique that evolved out of the MicroConcrete Roofing experiments and applications and is a natural diversification for EcoMaterials Workshops. It reduces the use of timber for internal ceilings and as such contributes to environmental conservation and, of course, it is an economically interesting solution as it optimizes the use of concrete and steel.

You can download this document from our "Publications" section 

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Javier GilJavier Gil
Topography Engineer, Spain
Spanish, english, french
Project management, construction, budgeting, training


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