Eco Dome Sadhana Forest India 2010
From the website www.sadhanaforest.org
written by Nico
Post February 2010
The ECO dome is an earthen dome for silent contemplation and
meditation. The dome is located next to the mud pool, in the midst
of Sadhana’s forest in southeast India. It was built in
2009, with plastic bags filled with earth and lime in the method of
CalEarth.org (organisation founded by architect Nader Khalili). The
plaster that was applied in 2009 is presently being removed.
The top plaster/outside layer contained a large quantity of lime and
was crumbling off and proved not to be water resistant as part was
washed away in the rains in August 2009. The layer underneath this top
plaster, but above the base plaster (plaster applied directly on the
bags) is also vulnerable. Initially we decided to remove what is
crumbling and falling without much help, but after a week’s work more
and more started crumbling and we decided to remove all the plaster.
Yes, it is a shame to remove all the work done with many good
intentions, but.. we have to remove what is not right as we would like
to enjoy using the dome and not worry about it crumbling. We are
improving the dome and its weather protection.
The team sees their work not as destruction, but rather as polishing a rough
diamant, slowly revealing the beautiful jewel that is the eco dome.
Why was the base plaster not right, why was it not holding? We are not
sure, but we would like to share some thoughts and share what we
learned till now;
We believe that the mixture of the plaster was good, its composition
seemed to be earth and lime, mixed with coco hair. We can only guess
about the proportions, but they seem ok as they hardened out well. A
reason for the plaster to crumble could be that the plaster was
applied soon after the dome was built, perhaps too soon, as earth
buildings tend to ‘move’ a bit after being built, and there are
several air pockets to be found in between the plastic bags and the
plaster. And in some places the plaster is applied very thick, this
has probably resulted in a disturbed drying process. These are
possible causes of the plaster not holding. We try to learn from the
past and continue to work on finding the right plaster for the dome,
with a team of amazing hardworking people who are enthousiastic to
experiment with earth!
Since one month we are giving the dome a new cover.
This new cover consists of water, coconut fiber and soil (40% clay). This mix is applied with a special throwing technique which is fun and messy.
The past week we’ve also started putting the mud floor in, and gave the windows and air-vents extra protection against the rains.
Temperature is rising at Sadhana Forest, and after their hard work the Ecodome team and Sadhana’s mud people cool down in the mud pool.