AI12_28_2018_3_33_08_AM_MI.jpg
Simple construction details

Atelier-3’s design solution was an integration of Nepal’s vernacular housing typologies, construction techniques and local materials.

Raw material

The frame was designed and manufactured in China and transported by road over the Himalayan mountains to Nepal.

Training the locals

Three instructors from Atelier-3 took a month to demonstrate a variety of wall, floor and roof material combinations with local techniques such as wattle & daub and stone wall, to a group of locals.

Building with the locals, the home-owners

“Due to the language and cultural difference, the most efficient way of communication was demonstration of the actual building process.”

Co-building a home

Ying Chun thought it best to spend most of the budget on building a solid framework, that could be later filled in and turned into a “home” by the individual homeowners.

A concoction of various materials

While constructing, the teams either salvaged materials from the collapsed debris, or the inhabitants bought their choice of available material from the local markets.

Evolving over time

The last three years have seen the locals steadily work on their village with freedom and creativity.

Rebuilt Nepal

Providing the locals with the basic knowledge of construction, as well as a simple colour-coded assembly system and sheets of simple line drawings, Atelier-3 equipped them to assemble each house at their own speed.

AI12_28_2018_3_33_08_AM_MI.jpg
Lab 10 Jan 2019

Making a Home: Atelier-3’s project of rebuilding Katunje, Nepal is essentially architectural democracy

In Nepal, due to a decade of of civil wars and arms fights, the nation’s infrastructure remains primitive. The local labour is also limited, due to the high export of labour overseas. But with the earthquake that shook Nepal in 2015, the country came to a complete halt. Thousand of people lost their homes, their livelihoods and their loved ones. How were they to rebuilt Nepal?

With a minimum budget and close to no work force, “Future Village Nepal”, a local non-profit organisation, along with the Hong-Kong-based NGO “IDEA”, reached out to Atelier-3 for a fundamental design solution. The project aimed to support locals who had lost their houses to the devastating 2015 earthquake, and find a way to rebuild their home, as soon as possible. Racing against time and resources, Hsieh Ying Chun’s team suggested that the organisations utilise a maximum of their funds in making the structure –the steel framework, and less on everything else and allow maximum houses to be provided for free.

Integrating Nepal’s vernacular and local, with the new.

Atelier-3’s design solution was an integration of Nepal’s vernacular housing typologies, construction techniques and local materials – a simple light-gauge steel frame reduced to minimum structural members. With a budget of 2000 USD per housing unit, Hsieh Ying Chun thought it best to spend most of the budget on building a solid framework, that could be later filled in and turned into a “home” by the individual homeowners.

Simple construction details

Atelier-3’s design solution was an integration of Nepal’s vernacular housing typologies, construction techniques and local materials.

The frame was designed and manufactured in China and transported by road over the Himalayan mountains to Nepal. It was also made to be easily assembled, even under extreme circumstances, such as an earthquake. The steel structure was designed such that it could be expanded in the future.

Raw material

The frame was designed and manufactured in China and transported by road over the Himalayan mountains to Nepal.

While constructing, the teams either salvaged materials from the collapsed debris, or the inhabitants bought their choice of available material from the local markets.

A concoction of various materials

While constructing, the teams either salvaged materials from the collapsed debris, or the inhabitants bought their choice of available material from the local markets.

Ying Chun thought it best to spend most of the budget on building a solid framework, that could be later filled in and turned into a “home” by the individual homeowners.

Made by the people

Three instructors from Atelier-3 took a month to demonstrate a variety of wall, floor and roof material combinations with local techniques such as wattle & daub and stone wall, to a group of locals. “Due to the language and cultural difference, the most efficient way of communication was demonstration of the actual building process,” Chun tells us. Building the first two units – that later became the Future Village community school – the team showed the local group the process of layouts, foundations, assembly and the erection of the steel frame.

Training the locals

Three instructors from Atelier-3 took a month to demonstrate a variety of wall, floor and roof material combinations with local techniques such as wattle & daub and stone wall, to a group of locals.

Building with the locals, the home-owners

“Due to the language and cultural difference, the most efficient way of communication was demonstration of the actual building process.”

“For almost 20 years we were practicing how to be involved in the architecture for the “70%” of human. One of the original questions is to what extend as a professional architect should [one] be involved in a project? How to design and build by and with the people?” Hsieh Ying Chun explains, of his practice. The steel frame was a systematic solution to the same. Right from design to construction and then habitation, the frame is a practical method for integrating many design considerations into a very versatile and compatible open framework. It gives the users – who are also the builders in this case – the freedom to express their own culture, knowledge, and professional background as they see fit.

Co-building a home

Ying Chun thought it best to spend most of the budget on building a solid framework, that could be later filled in and turned into a “home” by the individual homeowners.

Providing the locals with the basic knowledge of construction, as well as a simple colour-coded assembly system and sheets of simple line drawings, Atelier-3 equipped them to assemble each house at their own speed and with little help.

“One of the original questions is to what extend as a professional architect should [one] be involved in a project? How to design and build by and with the people?”

Making a village of homes

While the first 2 units were built in a month, the locals enclosed their spaces to form homes over the next year. The last three years have seen the locals steadily work on their village with freedom and creativity. As Chun puts it, “Home is a space that you engage with, with time and spirit along with your loved ones, and also a community that is built cooperatively with your neighbours.” And that is exactly what the locals of Katunje have build.

Evolving over time

The last three years have seen the locals steadily work on their village with freedom and creativity.

Rebuilt Nepal

Providing the locals with the basic knowledge of construction, as well as a simple colour-coded assembly system and sheets of simple line drawings, Atelier-3 equipped them to assemble each house at their own speed.

Find out more about Atelier-3’s humanitarian architecture here.