Three professors and one graduate student from the Department
of Construction Science in the College of Architecture at Texas
A&M University recently received an award for their paper
on research into earth construction techniques for buildings.
Their paper, entitled “Movement Coefficients for Compressed
Earth Block Masonry,” by Dr. Charles W. Graham, Mitchell
Endowed Professor, Associate Professor Skip Coody, Assistant
Professor Richard Burt, and graduate student Dushyant Beniwal,
won the Arie Huizer Award for the best paper on technologies
for developing countries at the 10th Canadian Masonry Symposium.
The paper was given on Friday, June 10, 2005, in Banff, Canada.
The Symposium was attended by researchers from every continent
on earth, and over 120 papers were given on various aspects of
masonry design and construction.
The paper by the Texas A&M team is on ways to limit the
shrinkage and expansion of compressed earth masonry units. Little
is known about this technology in terms of the physical characteristics
of such units, which are used for the construction of both affordable
housing in developing countries, and higher priced housing in
industrial nations. Research is currently underway to determine
what these coefficients should be. The Arie Huizer Award is in
its inaugural year and will be given every four years at the
Canadian Masonry Conferences. Mr. Huizer was a distinguished
professor of civil engineering at the University of Calgary,
specializing in engineering design of masonry structures. His
wife and two sons were present to help give the award.
The Sustainable Construction Technologies team in the Department
of Construction Science, directed by these professors, has recently
been involved in a variety of projects involving housing for
developing countries. Following the tsunami in Sri Lanka, the
team assisted in arranging to have four compressed earth block
machines delivered to aid in reconstruction efforts there. The
faculty and students are advising local teams on affordable housing
projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Spain, and the
United States. Recent invitations have included going to Iraq
and Afghanistan to assist in rebuilding efforts there.