Sustainble Reconstructrion

I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support for our Post Tsunami Visions initiative, which has resulted in a great increase in Sola Roof Community activity, which is growing rapidly both in the UK and worldwide . A large portion of my time is focused on the issue of sustainable reconstruction for the Tsunami devastated region. Our purpose is to collaborate and engage in open discussion and invite feedback from you (all members and guests at this Wiki) to help Sola Roof to engage immediately with many teams and projects in the affected region and supported by our global network.

I am personally dedicating extensive time to the Sri Lanka Vision projects with the next steps that will be hosted at Nottingham University. The implementation of the proposed Ecotourism projects, as local enterprises, are sponsored by a London based Islamic business and charitable community and the Human Care Foundation as well as other organizations (Sri Lanka National Airlines and the UK Office of the Sri Lanka Tourism Department plus a large tour operator) have joined in - with an initial focus on helping specific (predominantly Muslim) villages in Sri Lanka. It is wonderful to see how this group, lead by the Human Care Foundation, is moving ahead with vision, compassion and much awareness of the need for new patterns and innovative approaches. They wish to assist communities without building aid dependency and the action plan is more in line with Ethical Investment as compared to conventional "aid". Since this is close to the theme that SF is advocating, of bringing the enterprise model into the charitable sector, I felt compelled to inform you about this initiative and to invite your participation towards the goal of long term solutions for sustainable living and building livelihoods.

Most importantly I would be very excited about setting up a Proof of Concept project - for the Eco Sphere Concept - with the participation and assistance, at the School of the Built Environment, Nottingham University, where we have been invited by Dr. Saffa Riffat, Head of School and Director of the Institute of Building Technology, to establish a "rapid prototyping" to develop, design, fabricate and test the Sola Roof project . All of the Sola Roof designs for innovative Eco Living can be demonstrated in one project that I call the Eco Sphere Project, which is my first effort to create a human habitat after years of development experience with Solar Greenhouse systems. The Eco Sphere is an Arcology vision (synthesis of Architecture and Ecology that draws on inspiration from Paolo Soleri and Bucky Fuller) that provides exceptional value for the investment. We are planning an Ecotourism project called the Eco Sphere Guest Home that will use an Eco Sphere/Dodecahedron Shape transparent envelope and Tensegrity Structure to house an extended village team who will operate and develop a sustainable livelihood project as an example and to demonstrate leadership in all aspects of sustainable reconstruction.

At 87 feet in diameter, the Eco Sphere building envelope encompasses 20,000 square feet and furnishes also a total of 20,000 square feet of floor area on 7 levels, which are naturally created by the internal structure. Within the controlled environment this floor area is used for living, working and recreational space and includes the intensive gardening space on the top floor level and the surrounding vertical growing space; for a total of over 10,000 square feet of crop growing area.. The structure is self contained and can be easily dismantled to relocate to other sites. The Eco Sphere is not emergency shelter, it is long term accommodation, workspace and life support systems. The capital budget for a fully equipped system is estimated at £20K and the structure and solar controlled environment is less costly and delivers higher value than any low cost "shelter" (refugee camp) concept available today. It is suitable for disaster reconstruction, where budgets are very tight. The Eco Sphere advantages and benefits are very real and appropriate for many similar situations - for fighting endemic poverty and homelessness - but also can be applied as an answer to the need to transform wealthy consumption based communities to an Eco Living lifestyle. Thus the outcome of this initiative could be a worldwide movement to build prosperous, attractive and sustainable lifestyles, which can bridge the have/have not gap and empower positive movement in the direction of Contraction And Convergence?, which reduces the burden of Humanity on the planetary ecology and resources to a level that will no longer destroy but which will actually restore wellness of humans and the well-being of nature.

The Eco Sphere habitat will be hyper healthy environments. The building resonates with sacred geometry, the energy of water and living plants - and we will use the building envelope to produce algae that has exceptional health benefits and also is 50% oil by weight - a sustainable liquid carbohydrate energy system producing biodiesel - that is CO2 neutral but can also be a powerful CO 2 sequestration strategy and Global Warming Solution. Since all of these issues relate to the root cause of bad health and the way to reverse depletion and stress and restore wellness then I would suggest that my innovations can form the practical and profitable core of a network of enterprises that delivers Eco Living? systems as a central business mission.

There is also a supportive business team in London that comprises senior partners of Architecture and Engineering and construction businesses (notably DewMac, WhitbyBird, and ESS) and international collaborators including Philip Yiin of TAG International and Muftah Benomram of Journey of Light and a growing team of businesses that would like to associate with the many Post Tsunami Visions initiatives.

I believe we have felt a greaSolaRoof/t synergy in all our recent discussions and now, working together with so many others we share an opportunity build a visionary team - and make some rapid progress on a practical path to technologies and products for a sustainable future where wellness would be a characteristic of our business products. It may be that your business should invest in the process of proving out and demonstrating these new built environments so that many enterprises can start to work on commercialization plans - in addition to the DIY potential. Please do consider how you can plug into what is underway with the University of Nottingham. (See my Log).

I will be very eager to know what you think of the Eco Sphere Concept. The preparations for applying this innovative design to the rebuilding of lives and livelihoods in Sri Lanka urgently require a rapid action plan. Please help us to move ahead quickly and effectively.

Thanks again for your interest in Solaroof - Rick

Discussion (here or at Post Tsunami Visions)

Hello Architecture For Humanity friends,

Working sensitivity, on site and with local materials and local people leading the process is one way of helping tsunami victims to rebuild a sustainable future. It also offer those of us in the "west" an opportunity to learn and to connect with the culture of these communities. When working with traditional methods of construction we see natural patterns more clearly so that we can harmonize our livingry technology (in Bucky's passionate vision) with nature's abundance. This means biomimicry and is the way forward with technology. Habitat is our most fundamental technology for living. When we see it destroyed by tsunami and reduced to broken debris then this is a time to rethink and rebuild our Habitat closer to natural and sustainable patterns; thus becoming more accessible and affordable to all - especially those who through disaster or poverty have not a roof over their heads.

At the Sola Roof community we have been looking at the issue of the affordability (that was a key issue of Marcin's paper on affordable eco housing - (see: it is most important to look again at our habitat design solutions for those who are destitute - since the great majority will be given shelter that is rudimentary protection from weather and which provides no climate control. Such shelters are often too hot and too cold and have crude finishes (dirt floors, flap doors and vents) that preclude any possibility of comfort and productive lives - yet some disaster refugees may be stuck in such primitive living conditions for years. Here is a good example of the best of such emergency shelter systems:

This results in immediate relief but living in such environments on the long term results in debilitation and sense of hopelessness. What is needed is a habitat that enables and empowers; it would provide the means for families to bootstrap to a better life; the habitat would build self reliance and knowledge; it would produce confidence and a way forward out of difficulties; it would be an investment that would continue to yield material and social benefits and build local resources and wealth. The habitat for sustainable living which we seek would able to exploit inexhaustible resources from the ambient environment - by using water, plants, eco systems and sun - and homes would be designed and equipped to directly capture and use such "free" and abundant resources.

The question can be raised as to whether traditional, local construction is actually able to achieve such goals. It was such structures that were completely destroyed by the tsunami disaster. Perhaps the challenge is not to repeat the patterns of the past but to seek an evolution in our concepts and methods of construction. Is some of our reverence for tradition simply a lack of vision for the future. The reality is that not only are disasters frequently destroy the lives of millions, but these events are likely to be more dangerous because of Global Warming: - further, it is estimated that there are currently 400,000 homeless due to poverty and that by 2030 that number is projected to double. These numbers indicate that we need 30,000 new homes to be constructed each and every day just to hold position with the problem. The reality is that the gap between the have and have not populations is widening and that a large fraction of humanity is left behind.

At Sola Roof we are ready to take on this challenge by going forward with a technology approach that is based on life science and systems for controlled ecological life support that are integrated with our buildings. Innovations and advanced materials and design provide a way forward. Technical elegance and simplicity is needed to increase efficiency and do more with less materials and resources. Our goal is also to exploit effectively ambient energy and resources that have not previously been fully utilized. The Sola Roof Habitat would be capable of harvesting and converting solar energy resources using the power of living plants and algae. The building itself becomes a living system that nests within the planetary ecology. Its functions are not designed only for zero environmental impact but to generate net energy above the embodied and consumed energy, positive environmental benefits, production of distributed wealth and creating well being, health and comfort. These systems should also be universally effective in hot and cold climates, arid deserts and tropical rain forests.

These results are not a utopian vision but a real capability of the process of the Liquid Solar controlled environment systems and Bubble Tech innovations. These are referred to as the Blue Green solutions; Blue for "water working" systems and Green for the Phytomechanisms of living plants that are integral to the energy transformation and climate control process within the Habitat. No opaque building envelope can achieve these same results and the Sola Roof construction teaches how to build transparent building envelopes. Our building envelope is built with high tech Sola Fabric (laminates and coated scrims and fabrics) that simplify the building envelope to one single component, which is hundreds of time lighter than other building envelopes and which provides a cavity space as a boundary between the external climate and the controlled environment within. All the control functions are achieved within this boundary layer and the processes provide active and dynamic response to changing external values. All heating and cooling loads are handed by simple liquid circulation within the cavity space of the Sola Roof envelope and the liquid thermal mass system. This energy requirement has a COP of 20 to 40 and the Phytotechnology system for food, water and biomass are net energy producing systems. The Blue Green? solutions are the only energy path that can exploit roofs everywhere for removal of CO 2 from the environment at a very high rate with Mass Algae Culture that is many multiples more productive then the land based energy crop systems for biomass production - even as compared to land (pond) based algae culture (see:

In the past I have focused on controlled environment greenhouses but the need to apply the Sola Roof concepts to human habitat is urgent and I see that it is important to create cost effective and affordable ecological habitats. Logic would say that the best value for money would be obtained with the enclosure the greatest volume of controlled environment space for the least area of lowest cost building envelope. There is no more efficient solution to such a formula than the geodesic sphere and so I have begun the development of the Eco Sphere, which has a dodecahedron shaped, transparent envelope building. The Ecosphere is proposed as a tensegrity structure so that the internal cubic space is framed with compression members and thus produce a large floor area with natural opportunities for as many as 5 floors within the Eco Sphere. The cubic space is one of the 5 possible cubes that can be inscribed within a dodecahedron and it is aligned with three pair of pentagon edges on the x, y and z axis. Aligned with these principal axis are also pairs of compression members forming two central columns, two beams of the main floor, and two beams supporting the upper and lower floors respectively. The number of floors depends on the scale of the Eco Sphere. The top floor level is used as a plant culture area and the "floor" is a net that supports the plant leaf canopy. This area and the vertical volume of space around perimeter of the Eco Sphere envelope is all utilized for aeroponic plant culture. The algae biomass culture is continuously grown within the transparent building envelope. The floor levels and living & growing space are shown with diagrams (a work in progress) on the Eco Sphere Concept? pages.

I estimate that full scale Eco Sphere will cost as low as 10 to 15 dollars per square foot of floor area because of the minimum envelope area for enclosed volume and floor area improves with the increasing diameter of the Eco Sphere. The DIY approach and the mass production of components will also contribute to increasing the affordability. What is the important criteria is NOT how cheap a habitat design can be but how much cost reduction over conventional construction is achieved or possible, while ALSO providing the ecological life support system (ongoing production of sustainable resources such as water, food, biomass for biofuel) that is integral with the habitat - this is the "eco" approach. In this regard the Eco Sphere would have a low operating cost and a high net income that can pay off the building investment from a combination of savings and revenue that is not generated by a conventional "enviro" or "green" building.

Additionally there is the aspect of investing to avoid future risk from physical disaster and climate change. If we follow the old patterns then there is the risk of reoccurrence of loss and lack of adaptability to change. The ecological life support methods are affordable and very adaptable and the advanced materials technology and engineering results in a building that is very strong and resistant to disasters and are also portable and lightweight. All components are non toxic and can be reused and recycled into other buildings or new materials. There is enough money to build sustainable homes and communities but if we continue to be dependent on non renewable resources to support our lifestyle (even with great efficiency) then we are all doomed to a world where only a minority will have enough and they will be seen to be "wealthy" and the majority will have on alternative to crushing poverty.

This message has the purpose to place due importance on the step of ecological design that takes us beyond Green concepts to the Blue Green vision that is embraced by the Eco Sphere project and which should be our key design goals for sustainable reconstruction and development - our collaboration can produce this revolutionary change - so please team up with Eco Sphere and spread the word about this design project - we need a great deal of collaboration to respond to the urgent need for change; the pressing need for new Open Source solutions that will build a sustainable future for all.

Blessings and best wishes for 05 - Rick

Cameron Sinclair wrote:

Hi guys, Here is an update on our tsunami reconstruction project. I’ve been amazed by the response but more is yet to come. I had a long chat with Jonathan Glancey yesterday and he is doing a write up on Monday in the Guardian.

One thing we may need is engineering help – I know Arup has worked on some low tech projects (the Druk White Lotus School springs to mind) perhaps we could form a partnership with then on rebuilding one of the villages.

Cheers, Cameron

Most of our donations have come from the state so it would be great if you could forward this to the UK design media (I did BBC Belfast this morning)

Project Re:Build

On December 26th, a series of earthquakes occurred in the area of the western coast of Northern Sumatra, Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands. The two strongest earthquakes had the magnitude of 8.9 and 7.3. The earthquakes caused tsunamis impacting nine countries in the region leaving more than 150,000 dead and a further 4M forced from their homes. Over 12 countries are affected as far away as Somalia and Kenya with the Aceh province in Indonesia and Sri Lanka said to be worst hit.

Within hours of the disaster Architecture for Humanity and, a web site covering "Tools, models and ideas for building a better future" jointly launched a reconstruction appeal with a target of $100,000.

Prior to this response we have been involved in previous reconstruction efforts in Grenada, Iran (Bam) and Kosovo, where permanent homes and community spaces where build for less than $2000 through local relief groups. These partnerships are formed with groups who employ local labor and utilize local construction techniques as well as economic and environmental sustainability. By working those affected this keeps funds within the community, creates micro-economies for those trying to get out of this disaster and is the most cost-effective way of rebuilding. As Alex Steffen of calls a ‘small good thing in a large tragedy.’

In just over 10 days the total for the reconstruction appeal is just over $72,000 from a staggering 745 donors. Donations and support has come all walks of life from seventh graders, general contractors, established design professionals, college students, to the American Institute of Architects. In addition to many individuals who have responded, small businesses like, Blue Star Jets and Inform Interiors? are running fund raising initiatives on our behalf.

This target, coupled with pro-bono design services (all AFH staff are working without compensation) and material donations, will allow for the building of more than just basic shelter, allowing the construction of schools, infrastructure and medical clinics. With a more holistic and sustainable approach of reconstruction, a truly worldchanging idea, the funds will help to build beyond simple dwellings to live but create real communities for life to grow, rebuild and renew.

We are already beginning to undertake reconstruction initiatives in Sri Lanka and our country representative, Samir Shah, is assessing villages in the Hembanthota District at this present time (click here for further information). One of the major projects that we are developing, Project Re:Build, will be to utilize locally based construction techniques, allowing immediate community participation, and innovative sustainable initiatives to rebuild a entire village which has been devastated by the tsunami. This project is more than building homes but will involve the construction of a community hub that will include a school, health clinic, marketplace and public gathering places. This form of architectural acupuncture creates a catalyst in which communities to grow and build - eventually towns and villages will re-emerge.

Once the project has been completed, the finished urban planning and architectural schemes will be made available to other NG Os? and local communities so that this idea may be replicated throughout Sri Lanka —and eventually, other regions affected by this tragedy.

There are 3 ways to donate; either by Paypal or Network for Good via the Architecture for Humanity website or by mailing a check to: Architecture for Humanity, 923 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, 07030 USA

Recent Press:

NPR (Day to Day)

Guardian (UK):,15671,1382912,00.html/

New York Times:

Architectural Record:

About Architecture for Humanity Architecture for Humanity seeks architecture solutions to humanitarian crises and brings design services to communities in need. The organization is currently involved in eight countries including developing healthcare facilities to combat HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, tackling issues of poverty and homelessness in America, refugee housing issues on the Chad/Sudan borders and recovery assistance in Grenada, Iran (Bam) and Turkey.

We believe that where resources and expertise are scarce, innovative, sustainable and ollaborative design can make a difference.

About The online publication covers tools, models and ideas for building a better future. With contributors in nine nations, and a web of allies around the planet, World Changing? delivers essential information for people who want to make a difference -- an approach that has won it accolades in the press, hundreds of thousands of readers and an Utne Independent Press Award.

Cameron Sinclair - Executive Director Architecture for Humanity 923 Washington Street Hoboken, New Jersey

Tel: 1 646 765 0906 Email:

Architecture for Humanity seeks architecture solutions to humanitarian crises and brings design services to communities in need.

Between now and January 5th – please click on the following link and help us build a better world --