The Haitian- and the recent Chilean-quakes have forced developers to envision quake-proof homes to avoid casualties and deaths if another strikes again. Resorting to one of the most traditional home-construction-materials, i.e. straw bale, the Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building (PAKSBAB) has developed simply unique, low-cost housing systems. Darcey Donovan, a structural/mechanical/civil engineer and founder of PAKSBAB, is familiar to the earthquake-stricken northern Pakistan and hence, she made sure that her houses offer the highest resistance to tremors. See the video below:
Straw bale construction…offers numerous benefits, including energy efficiency, the use of natural non-toxic materials, and resistance to earthquakes, fire and pests. However, similar to modern conventional building methods, it typically requires the substantial use of energy intensive and high-cost materials, skilled labor, and complex tools and machinery, making it largely unaffordable for the poor.
PAKSBAB also claims that its houses are 80% more energy efficient and cost half of what is required to put together a conventional earthquake resistant construction.