The Brick Master from Kerala

Who is Laurie Baker ? One fighting India’s rush to resemble the West by making beautiful buildings out of sustainable materials — recycled bottles, clamshells, and mud. Use local mud not more than 5 km away, use local stabilizers, — “to make it stick together, to act as a sort of glue or binder. There are dozens and dozens of stabilizers — from latexes to the wild cactus in the forest: If you cut the cactus stalk a white milk comes out and it’s a very good stabilizer.” Baker had one memorable lesson in stabilizers in his early years: “We used to go through a place on our way from the Himalaya to Delhi, where we had to wait for a train. There were beautiful mud houses, but the soil was totally unsuitable. So I tried to find out what the stabilizer was that they used. But they would not tell me! What was this nosy blighter from outside wanting to know this for? Eventually I discovered that they were using pig’s urine! We chased pigs and got their urine analyzed. The urea content is very high, and urea is a binder.” … more >>>

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