Page B2.1 . 03 April 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Building Department
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    Improving Traditional Brick

    by Ikrom Khadjiev and Kodir Rosiev

    An analysis of major earthquakes over the last 50 years reveals the preponderance of structural damage, building collapse, and fatalities to have occurred in the residential sector. This highlights a serious problem in the rural districts of Central Asia, where more than 65 percent of residential construction uses clay-based materials and methods.

    Researchers at Tashkent Architectural Building Institute in Uzbekistan are exploring ways to improve clay's physical and mechanical properties so that village houses are better able to withstand seismic effects.

    Since ancient times, clay has been used as a primary building material throughout much of the world. When worked with traditional, time-tested construction methods, clay makes stable and enduring buildings. In Uzbekistan, the centuries-old clay fortress walls and buildings of the cities of Khiva, Khazarasp, and Bukhara testify to the skill of local architects and to the enduring qualities of earth-based construction materials.

    Plentiful and inexpensive, clay is also one of the most ecologically clean building materials available. It makes massive walls which, with few openings, serve to keep buildings cool by day and warm by night. Its passive solar advantages, combined with its cost and availability, account for clay construction's enduring appeal in hot, dry climates. Clay-based construction also allows residents to modify their buildings easily in response to changing needs over time.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    The centuries-old four-story house "Chadra-Khauli" testifies to the skill of local architects and to the enduring qualities of earth-based construction materials.
    Photo: Ikrom Khadjiev and Kodir Rosiev

    ArchWeek Image

    New construction of houses with walls from a wooden frame filled with raw oval bricks, called guvalak.
    Photo: Ikrom Khadjiev and Kodir Rosiev


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