Earth & Bamboo
Auroville Earth Institute & Auroville Bamboo Centre, 21st May 2018 - 25th May 2018

Earth and bamboo are two materials which have been used together for a wide range of traditional construction techniques in Southeast Asia. Both materials are locally abundant and affordable materials with a very low carbon footprint. Both are known to be materials of the people. And both are materials which can be used for crude self-construction or with highly engineered precision. Are earth and bamboo only materials of the past, or are they also materials for the construction of a sustainable future?  Please come to discover yourself in this 5-day hands-on and experience workshop in Auroville. The same workshop format will be offered four times in the year 2018.


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This short workshop at the Auroville Earth Institute is intended as an experience workshop in earth construction with both traditional and modern earth techniques. Participants will learn basic principles of soil identification and how different soils can be used for earthen construction. They will split into groups to build walls with both traditional raw earth construction (e.g. adobe and cob) and modern stabilized techniques (e.g. stabilized rammed earth and compressed stabilized earth block or CSEB). Construction with the traditional “waddle & daub” earth technique will be integrated in the workshop at the Bamboo Centre.

This experience aims to give students a series of physical inputs – to ask a beginning set of questions about ecologically sensitive construction, use of local materials, climate appropriateness of buildings, and social aspects of labour in construction.


•    To offer hands-on experience building walls with earth

•    To impart knowledge of traditional and modern earth techniques 

•    To give students a “material imagination” for design


The Auroville Bamboo Centre workshop aims at teaching the participants the basics of working with bamboo, a plant with amazing characteristics. First, the students will learn how to harvest, treat, and work with bamboo using both traditional and modern techniques. After the brief theory, they will split into groups to build structures which are intended for real use after the workshop ends. Over the years, students have built bridges, storerooms, showrooms, workshops, houses, public toilets, domes and many fanciful structures using a variety of techniques which integrate bamboo, steel, jute, lime, and earth as their primary components. 


  • Learning how to use bamboo as a building material
  • Applying the proper construction methodologies for the task at hand
  • Solving problems as they arise
  • Setting priorities and keeping work on schedule


We invite anyone with a sincere interest in earth and bamboo construction techniques. All skill levels are welcome to participate (e.g. engineers, architects, technicians, supervisors, masons, students and laymen). This is a limited capacity, highly interactive workshop that requires active participation of all attendees. 


Final schedule is to be determined based on number of enrolled students.

Day 1: Earth

09:00 – 11:00     Introduction tour & lecture “Earthen Architecture: Tradition & Modernity”

11:15  - 12:15     Soil as a building material

12:15 – 13:30     Lunch 

13:30 – 15:00     Raw earth & Modern stabilized earth block production  (Adobe & CSEB)

15:15  - 16:45     Raw earth construction & Modern stabilized earth block production  (Adobe & CSEB)

16:45 - 17:00      Quick Clean-up

Day 2: Earth

09:00 – 11:00     Hands-on construction of earthen walls

11:15  - 12:15     Hands-on construction of earthen walls 

12:15 – 13:30     Lunch 

13:30 – 15:00     Hands-on construction of earthen walls (continued)

15:30  - 17:00    Closing Discussion

Day 3: Bamboo

09:00 – 11:00     Introduction to bamboo; the material and its properties

11:15  - 12:15     Introduction to bamboo;  it’s application relating to its use in construction

12:15 – 13:30     Lunch 

13:30 – 15:00     Intro – Tools/Joins/Bending/Techniques

15:30  - 17:00     Intro – Tools/Joins/Bending/Techniques

Day 4: Bamboo

09:00 – 11:00      Intensive practical work, put your skills to the test!

11:15  - 12:15     Intensive practical work, put your skills to the test!

12:15 – 13:30     Lunch 

13:30 – 15:00     Construct a custom bamboo structure 

15:30  - 17:00     Closing Discussion

Day 5: Site Visits and Presentations

09:00 – 10:00      Site Visit

10:00 – 11:00      Site Visit

11:15  - 11:45      Introduction to Auroville as an Eco-City

11:45  - 12:30     Sustainable Energy Solutions for the Building Sector

12:45 – 13:45     Program Closure & Lunch 


The Auroville Earth Institute (AVEI), which was founded by HUDCO, Government of India in 1989, is a non-profit organisation specialising in the research, development, promotion and transfer of earth-based building technologies. In particular, AVEI is a global leader in the production and use of Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB), construction with various stabilised earth techniques, disaster resistant building technologies, and construction with arches, vaults and domes. These cost effective and energy efficient building technologies are disseminated through training courses, seminars, workshops, manuals and other publications. The Institute also offers various services and provides consultancy within India and abroad. 

One of the aims of the Auroville Earth Institute is to restore to people the possibility of building their own habitats using earth techniques. The Auroville Earth Institute has offered capacity-building programs and promoted technologies with stabilised earth in 36 countries and has trained more than 10,000 people from 79 countries. The Auroville Earth Institute is the Representative and Resource Centre for Asia of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development”. AVEI is part of a world network with CRATerre (The International Centre for Earth Construction) and several global NGO’s. AVEI provides information and guidance to a wide array of policy makers, professionals and non-professionals. Auroville Earth Institute has been recognised with thirteen awards (two international awards and eleven Indian awards) for our training course activities and the endeavour to promote raw earth as a building material for sustainable and cost effective development.


Auroville Bamboo Centre was established in February 2007, with the aim to incorporate the following four aspects:

- Vocational training opportunities for the unemployed youth around the villages of   Auroville and transforming them into craftsmen who can produce world class   Bamboo products

- A technical and sociological research component to bring together Indian traditional craft with contemporary world culture

- Production and marketing of Bamboo craft for income generation and building stronger communities for sustainable living

- Unending research and development of Bamboo for the welfare of local and international communities


Fee: Rs. 18,500 per person

*Includes five nights of accommodation, five breakfasts & dinners, lunch, transportation within Auroville, materials and facilitation for all activities, and all taxes.

Fee: Rs. 14,700 per person

*Without accommodation, breakfast and dinner. Includes lunch, transportation within Auroville, materials and facilitation for all activities, and all taxes.

Please note:

  • Registration will close once the maximum capacity of 80 participants is filled. Registration will be confirmed after receipt of payment. We cannot refund your payment if you cannot attend for any reason, but you can transfer your registration to another person in writing, 5 days before the workshop starts.
  • Accommodation is basic, in a dormitory, and will be shared by up to four people. Alcohol is not permitted in Auroville guest houses. All meals are vegetarian. 
  • If a facilitator is unavailable, then we will substitute the relevant activity with a similar one.
  • In case the programme is cancelled by us, fees will be refunded within 10 days. 
  • A certification will be provided upon completion of the program, however full attendance is mandatory.
  • Participants from abroad: regulations require a Conference Visa for attendance. Should you need assistance during your visa application process, please contact us well in advance. 


T. Ayyappan

T. Ayyappan is the co-director, senior masonry technician and faculty member of the Auroville Earth Institute. An Indian national born in Edayachavadi, Tamil Nadu, India, Ayyappan followed a standard education in his village and partnered at an early age with Satprem Maïni in the founding of the centre in 1989. Since then, he has acquired many years of practical experience as a draftsman, site supervisor, researcher and trainer. He has supervised constructions across India and abroad. As head faculty at the Earth Institute, he is in charge of AVEI practical courses. He also supervises long term trainees and interns for their work in design, development and research initiatives. His skill and dedication -- along with Satprem's -- has made the Earth Institute what it is today.

Satprem Maïni

Satprem Maïni, French national born in Bône, Algeria, is the director, executive and soul of the Auroville Earth Institute. He works as an architect and builder, consultant, researcher, trainer and lecturer. He studied in France and holds a master's degree in architecture and a postgraduate master's degree in Earthen Architecture from CRAterre. Since 2000, he has been the representative for Asia of the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development". Since 1989, Satprem has trained more than 10,000 people from 79 countries. He has been active in 36 countries for consultation, lectures and workshops. He has built more than 30 projects in India, 3 projects abroad and has produced more than 22 publications. Under his leadership, the Earth Institute has won 11 national and 2 international awards, has educated several generations of young architects in India and abroad, and has become one of the global centers for excellence in earthen construction and research. 

Lara K. Davis

Lara Davis is an architect, structural masonry expert and co-director at the Auroville Earth Institute, India, UNESCO Chair of Earthen Architecture. She is a specialist in earthen construction and the structural design and construction of thin-shell masonry vaulting (in particular with Catalan vaulting). She holds a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics (NYSCC) at Alfred University and an M.Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Lara has been the recipient of multiple international research awards for her work at the MIT Masonry Research group, the Institute for Lightweight Structures (ILEK)/ University Stuttgart (Germany), the BLOCK Research Group/ ETH Zürich (Switzerland), and the Future Cities Laboratory (Singapore). She has worked professionally as a mason, foreman, architect, junior engineer and project manager, leading key constructions and teaching workshops in India, Algeria, Ethiopia, Switzerland, UK and USA. Her work has been exhibited at the Modern Museum of Art (MoMA), The MIT Museum, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Venice Biennale.

Balasundaram Ponnusamy

Balasundaram is the creative director and co-founder of Auroville Bamboo Centre. His passion for education, natural resources and social entrepreneurship inspired the vision for the Centre. Previously, he was involved in a range of Auroville projects, such as co-founding Mohanam Cultural Centre and Svaram Music Centre. The common objective of these Auroville projects has been providing a rich educational environment, both sharing traditional knowledge and exploring modern practices. His dream with Bamboo Centre is to inspire new generations to be connected with nature and bring change through the incredible potential of bamboo.

Walter Van Asshe

Walter was part of the first group of Auroville settlers back in the 1970’s. He worked with Roger Anger, the then chief architect of Auroville. Upon returning to his native Europe, he worked as a master carpenter and woodsmith. He had his own business doing restoration of historical buildings in Belgium and France. Upon returning to Auroville three years ago, he has been applying and teaching his knowledge of wood to bamboo and has developed a variety of furniture pieces as well as supervising the work on numerous construction projects. He is the workshop leader at the Bamboo Centre, introducing hundreds of students every year to the wonderful world of bamboo.


  • A very comprehensive program conducted by mentors who are thorough and confident, which reflects their years of experience, passion and research. The workshop is just the tip of an iceberg and opens the immense possibilities for the design fraternity to make this world sustainable and a better place to live!!

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    • Priya Thanawalla - Mumbai
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Priya B

Auroville Green Practices

Tel: + 0413 2622571