R & D
Natural Building Research and Development activities by Thannal Natural Homes
Natural building Research and Development are essential for exploring more traditional knowledge and applying it to present-day construction. Most of the indigenous methods are not in use for decades now. However, old artisans around the country know about such traditional methods. Thannal meets such artisans and documents the method through interviews and prototype works on our campus or in their native. The documentation preserves the method for future generations.
Thannal brings the methods back to life by making real-scale applications on the campus, working with the artisans. A crucial part of the research is carrying out scientific analysis of various properties like strength, durability, water-resistance and much more. The aim is to develop the methods further for present-day use by observation, analysis, progressive trials and learning through errors.
Thannal dedicates years to understanding and reviving each method before teaching through workshops or publishing about the method. Many plant and animal derivatives are used as admixtures with Natural materials in traditional Indian natural buildings. However, very few scientists like Dr Thirumalini Selvaraj actively research and publish papers on this topic. Thannal intends to support more research on subjects related to natural building materials and admixtures for the cause of spreading sustainable practices in shelter making.
Below are Natural Building Research and Development activities by Thannal Natural Homes.
Scientific Exploration of Natural Material Properties
Fixing of Terracotta tile in Earthbag home- second trial
Determination of Densities of different natural building materials
Determination of Compressive strength of various Natural building Units- Samples casted.
Testing of Adobe blocks
Manual testing of Adobe bricks, CSEB, Mud bricks stabilized with different admixture
Testing of Blocks in Civil engineering laboratory, Arunai Engineering College, Tiruvannamalai
Lime plastering & trials in Bamboo trusses
Experimentation on Bamboo to check the bending curve of three types of bamboo
Experimentation on the main beam made by Truss assembly and compound bamboo beam for Flat Mud Roof.
Experimentation on Truss assembly for large span about 26feet- Made of small solid bamboo (vedar)
Experimentation on Truss assembly for large span about 26feet- Made of Bamboo
White clay plaster
Fixing of Terracotta tile in Earthbag wall- second trial
Village mud kitchen- Finishing on Limecrete roof with lime plaster and linseed oil
Village Mud kitchen- Correction in Wattle and cob, Basecoat plaster
2” thick Wattle & Daub wall
Greywater tank rework- Inspection chamber correction, adjusting the level of pipe, replacing the filter materials, Redo of Kadappa Coping.
Plastering in Egg-shaped arch seating
Checked the effect of Hot lime slaking mix and compare the results with the wet slacking mix.
Sampling for Mortar to find the suitable mix for floor/wall tile fixing
Fixing the steel rod inside the rocks using natural binders.
Experimenting with thin wattle and daub having thickness about 1.5” to 2”.
Checking the compatibility of cow dung wash & LInseed oil finishing
Lime putty/Cow Dung flooring in the Learning centre
Clay plaster in Earthbag wall and sealed with linseed oil
Application of Cow Dung wash and sealed with linseed oil on cob bench in the Learning centre
September 2020 to December 2020
Back home, book & online video course about Indian natural building writings & Shooting work
30 days fermented Mud with different natural admixtures
Stabilisation of Mud using admixtures which are given in Traditional texts and making adobe bricks out of it
4” thick, load-bearing Wattle and Cob wall
Fast and Thin wall system by doing wattle and cob wall in Village Mud Kitchen using Mud, Lime and Cow Urine.
Coconut shells in foundation & Exposed Lime Crete roof
Coconut shells in the foundation for Ambasamudram project
Limecrete in the foundation for Ambasamudram project
Cob bench in the village mud kitchen
Washing area with Mud and Lime
Exposed Limecrete roof made with different admixtures laid over bamboo support. This was done using the guidelines from IS code 3036 (1992).
Exposed Flat Mud Roof for G+1 Model
Making Flat Mud Roof on workshop Kalari using Mud, Lime, Bamboo
Living roof & Studies with foundation experts
Re-work of Living Roof by replacing recycled rubber sheet
Meeting with foundation consultant at Chennai for foundation study
Can we be able to break the Wattle and Daub wall by using a crowbar?
Checking the strength of wattle and daub wall made with different cob mixes by breaking it.
Natural Flooring & Adobe Roof
Learning centre Flooring experiment with Lime, Mud and Cow Dung
Keeru Roof re-plastering
Adobe roof first trial on Earthbag studio
Furniture using Mud (Adobe bricks) and Thappi lime plaster for making the bed.
Master Mason’s visit Thannal Campus, Creating Waterproof Surfaces in Bathroom and Roof, Trial with Sandwich roof
Trial of Traditional Rajasthan Araish lime plastering in the bathroom to check the waterproofing
Trial of Araish Lime Plastering on Keeru Roof
Earth-bag home roof work – experimenting with new roofing method – sandwich roof with bamboo, lime, terracotta tile. Watch video
Khiri roof second coat plastering
Visiting of Traditional Lime Artisans to Thannal Campus – Abdul Razak ji, Shahid, Islamudin and exchanging knowledge.
Experimentation for lime tank using bricks and lime mortar, thappi lime plastering by artisans from Rajasthan.
Growing plants on Living roof
Living roof experiment with cocopeat and mud.
The foundation using waste from the cutting of granite tiles for workshop kalari
Pallet wood roof & Testing Mud samples in Laboratory
Khiru roof plastering – 1st and 2nd coat
Khiru roof side roof with pallet wood – exploration in waste wood re-use.
Experimenting with Drip Irrigation with Thannal Natural Building Grove.
Testing different samples of Mud with CUSAT professor Mrs Lekshmi
Cob bench, Khiru flat roof, Seating Made by Reclaimed wood
Keeru roof learning centre structural works
Testing different natural filtration methods in Grey Water Tank
Experimentation of Lime Wash in interiors of Store Room for durability
Working on Verandah Seating – Outdoor seating in Earth-bag Home – with waste wood to explore the recycling of wood.
Making of Cob Bench in the technique of Flat Mud Roof
Making of exposed cob walls with plastering and without plastering to check withstanding in rain.
Application of herbal termite mix in the learning centre and testing for durability
Interior flooring experimentation with cow dung and mud.
Traditional Rajasthani Lime plastering – Lohi application on the exposed wall to check the durability of lime plasters in rain.
The first trial of Roof with Adobe bricks above Keeru Roof
Glass placing for skylight and water-proof plastering on the adobe roof.
Learning Center Pallet wood east side roof.
Learning Center Cob Bench making.
Experimenting flooring with Islamudin – using waste granite tiles to recycle waste materials in natural construction.
Masonry using Hollow clay blocks
Exploring Hollow Clay Block with Lime Surkhi mortar by constructing a Padippura – Entrance gate at Guruvayoor, Kerala
Earthbag studio kitchen interiors.
Pallet Wood treatment using boric borax to increase durability in exposed conditions.
Fixing tile & plastering on Earthbag walls
Terracotta tile cladding on Earth bag Studio exteriors using Lime mortar
Earth-bag studio exterior and interior plastering
Roof using wooden shingles
Dervish Studio internal and external plastering
Corrections in Pallet Wood Roofing in Dervish Studio
Field Study on Flood affected Mud buildings in Kerala
Making of Tusali thara using Natural materials
Travel in flood-affected regions in Kerala to study how old traditional buildings are affected in flood and what are the learning based on buildings made in natural materials.
Lime Tank – kadappa stone placing using lime mortar, plastering trials.
Interiors using Natural colours
Limewash with colours interior of storeroom
Flooring inside storeroom with tiles
Greywater Tank and Lime Storage Tank with out cement – Placing of stone with lime mortar
Electrical works in Earth-bag studio
Thankappan Achari – Vastu Consultant visiting Thannal Campus
Stairs & Loft – Cost effective approach
Making Loft in Earthbag home using Pallet Wood – experiment to reuse packaging wood in construction.
Stairs with Bamboo and Waste wood
April & May 2018
Study & Practice on Plaster of Rajasthan
Making furniture in Mud and finishing with smooth lime plaster – Le Corbusier Chair in Learning Centre.
Travel to Rajasthan for research on Araish Lime Plastering and other traditional building methods, meeting and interaction with artisans.
Store room brick work with mud and lime mortar to close the gaps.
Research & Practice of Araish Plaster with Master Artisans from Rajasthan.
Mud and Lime Flooring
Making Fish Tank using lime under Cherry tree near Washing area-Islamudin
Base coat flooring of Dervish Studio with Mud and Lime
Curved shape tile roofing in Dervish Studio