The Kaza Eco-Community Centre aims to promote renewed use of traditional Tibetan building techniques and materials in the valley, while introducing a number of modestly innovative features to improve the seismic resistance, thermal comfort and energy efficiency of buildings in this context. For example, the centre has introduced "trombe" walls with a special ventilation system for passive solar heating in winter, to reduce the heavy consumption of firewood for domestic heating.
In November 2016 at the UN Climate Change Conference COP22 in Marrakesh, the Kaza Eco-Community Centre was recognized as the Low Carbon Winner at the Green Building Solutions Awards.
A COMMUNITY CENTRE FOR THE SPITI VALLEY
Located in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh India this community centre was initiated by the Spiti Projects, under the leadership of Joan Pollock. It includes a dental and optical clinic on the ground floor, a room for vernacular craft, a small library, a kitchen and cafe. The first floor is devoted to guest accommodations for villagers travelling to Kaza from remote outlying regions.
The building, which consists of a stone masonry foundation, CSEB elements, and raw rammed earth walls, has been designed especially for the harsh winter climate of Spiti. Trombe walls have been incorporated for passive heating of the building during the winter.
Rammed Earth Walls
As the region is prone to seismic activity, earthquake-resistant features have been incorporated. Buttress walls have been added for lateral stability. Since vertical reinforcement can be problematic in rammed earth, horizontal reinforcement has been extensively used. This includes ring beams with AVEI's CSEB U-block system and bamboo reinforcement embedded into the rammed earth walls and buttresses at critical corners of the building.
The video presentation of the Kaza Eco-Community Centre shown during the Green Building Solutions Awards ceremony can be seen here: