Archive for August 10th, 2019

August 10, 2019

NOCMAT Conference

The International Conference for Non-Conventional Building Materials was held at the University of Nairobi which has a beautiful campus. On day 1 my favourite sessions were a keynote lecture on the development of standards for non-conventional materials, a presentation about the challenges and opportunities for the reuse of excavated material in the built environment, and a presentation on the development of a panelized building system for low-cost housing using waste cardboard and repurposed wood. Another interesting presentation was the one before mine on lessons learned by MASS Design Group and ARUP on earth construction they did for the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture. My own presentation was on the analysis of earthquake testing trends of alternative building materials. It went well and I received some valuable critical feedback afterwards from two structural engineers.

The following day my favourite sessions were on the application of alternative construction techniques in rehabilitation of urban slums, and the study of the socio-economic, cultural, and environmental impact of the use of unconventional building materials in conventional buildings. These were both presented by the partners of a design practice in India called Masons Ink. Overall I enjoyed the conference and made connections from a variety of backgrounds including engineers, materials researchers, architects, and community activists. The overlapping of various disciplines was a welcome sight as collaboration between these groups is what is needed to solve the complex problems in our world today.