Auroville Earth Institute
Presentation of the institution
The Auroville Earth Institute (AVEI) is a non-profit organization specializing in the research, development, promotion and transfer of earth-based building technologies, among the most cost effective, low carbon, low embodied energy solutions for sustainable development.
As the Representative and Resource Centre for Asia of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development”, AVEI aims to empower local stakeholders to build their own dwellings using earthen techniques through an international network of experts. It attempts to revive traditional skills and link vernacular traditions of raw earth construction with modern technologies of stabilised earth.
Founded in 1989 by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), Government of India, the Auroville Earth Institute has since become one of the leading centres for excellence in earthen architecture and the most rapidly growing carbon economy in the world. AVEI has worked in 39 countries to promote and disseminate knowledge in earth architecture, and has garnered 15 awards for its work (four international awards and eleven national awards). Over 33 years, it has educated over 14,000 people from 94 countries, training them in sustainable building technologies and land management practices, focusing on the use of earth as a building material.
The activities of the institute include research and development of earthen technologies, training and education, publication and dissemination, consultancy, architectural design and construction, heritage conservation, production of materials, and quality control testing.
The research developed here includes Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB) made in a manual Auram press (designed and manufactured in Auroville) using a mixture of earth with 5% cement, Hollow Interlocking blocks (HI CSEB) for disaster resistance which was used extensively in Gujarat after the 2001 earthquake and received approval from the Gujarat and Tamil Nadu state governments as well as the Iranian government, CSEB arches, vaults and domes, Composite Columns and Beams, Stabilised Rammed Earth Foundations (SREF) and Stabilised Rammed Earth Walls (SREW), etc.
AVEI also offers training courses regularly, both on-campus and online, while awareness programs are offered on request, to introduce and promote these technologies of earth construction developed by AVEI. The Earth Institute also provides technology transfers where Satprem and the team travel to different parts of the world to train the local personnel to build with earth technology that is appropriate to their context.