May 2019 Issue
|Dear IHBA Members,|
As is often the case I start these newsletter with an apology for not writing to you all sooner or more regularly and this is no different except it was not because i was too busy but that my family had to come first as you will read later in this message. So to start with all the news…..
At the very end of 2018 I received an email informing me of a new Hempcrete spraying system and asking for help in promoting the system he calls EREASY (Air Easy). The email was from Damien Baumer and I replied that I would only help once I had seen the machine working for myself. It just so happened that Damien lived an hours drive away from where I would be, over the Xmas holidays in Switzerland. So my brother in law and I drove to see him near to Besançon. We were welcomed by him and his family and were given a demonstration of the machine. It works very well and has two very different aspects to other machines. One that it works by sucking the material up the pipes rather than blowing and the second that it requires a unique binder that Damien has developed for the purpose. I was certainly convinced and as you will read later in the newsletter things progressed.
|The beginning of this year has been especially chaotic mainly due to traumatic events in the locality where we live and amongst our youngest daughters circle of friends. I won’t go into very much detail but suicide was involved which has had a massive effect on many people around us and made us a lot more aware of mental health issues. These events happened just as we were about to go traveling but in the end we went anyway knowing that the real impact would be weeks or months into the future as has proved to be the case.|
So to the news from Nepal first. My wife Aia (IHBA fellow director and company secretary) and I flew out to Kathmandu in late January to attend the First Asian Hemp Summit held there by the joint efforts of Hemp Today and S.H.I.V.. Aia and I spent a couple of days acclimatizing ourselves and visiting some of the sites we had both known previously. Aia having lived there as a child for six months in the late 70’s and I had visited in the mid eighties and of course during my first journey back to meet up with Dhiraj and Nivedita in 2016. We did in fact manage to find the house Aia and her family had lived in all those years ago despite the surrounding landscape undergoing dramatic changes since that time. It was encouraging to see that many of the damaged temples in Durbar Sq were now undergoing repair and many were surrounded in scaffolding as a result of the ongoing work.
The event it’self was held in another part of the city, out by the Airport in what was formally the Kings Hunting Palace but is now a luxury hotel, The Gohkarna Forest Resort. For a first event it was well attended and the range of presentations helped us all get an idea of what was going on in the region and what the potential might be. We could of done with more Asian representatives and there was an atmosphere of many people from the Hemp world of Europe and the U.S. trying to get to grips with what was happening in Asia and how we might react to it. I was pleased to meet several young entrepreneurs from India and a few from other neighbouring countries such as Pakistan who lent the event a local voice. I hope to be working with several of the people I met in the future where the expertise and experience we have acquired in Nepal might also be appropriate.
|Group shot of delegates to the Asian Hemp Summit, Kathmandu, Nepal 2019|
|After the Summit Aia and I spent a day in Bhaktapur one of the three ancient cities in the Kathmandu Valley which were once separate from each other but are now virtually all part of Kathmandu. Here several of the damaged temples have been repaired and many others were in the process of being rebuilt. I am particularly interested in seeing if I can contribute to this activity of rebuilding the old structures but also to see if it is possible to retain the old exterior appearance with a much improved structure and interior climate as none of the homes of temples have any heating and at that time of year are extremely cold especially at night. We found that there is an incentive being offered to people who want to keep the traditional architecture alive in the form of rebuilding grants and we discovered one such building project in progress. I was fascinated to see how they were doing this and saw that the brick faced walls were being infilled with a mixture of Lime and Sand but that it was not being packed down very solidly and would be a problem in the future if similar earthquakes were to revisit the city. My intention is to try to replace the infill and internal brick wall with Hempcrete tamped around a Bamboo framework which hopefully will make the building more earthquake proof but also make it easier to heat or cool the building in the future. I hope to get a chance to design such a building outside the city and then to convince some residents of Bhaktapur, I met and stayed with, to rebuild one of their houses within the U.N World Heritage Site in this manner. These aspects of building in Nepal are very important for the future as they are in every earthquake prone zone. The heating aspect is another one that might be not so apparent to many people but after you have stayed in a variety of homes in the Kathmandu Valley that have no heating you realise how cold they are!! Whilst I was there I managed to buy a book about traditional Nepalese architecture which informed me that the only heating present in the old buildings was in the top floors where the Kitchen was as the smoke from the stoves would have found it’s way out of the roof tiles as there where no chimneys.|
|Traditional brick walls being rebuilt in Bhaktapur Nepal|
Traditional Window surrounds of Kathmandu valley buildings
|After our stay in Bhaktapur Aia returned to Ireland and I traveled south to stay with Dhiraj and Nivedita at S.H.I.V. Headquarters in Janekpur. I was returning for several reasons, one being to see how the building work we had started at the hospital bult by Dr Ram K Shah, Dhirajs Father has progressed and the other to visit one of the many other projects Shiv had completed since then.|
From humble beginnings the work we had started of developing a system using as much local materials and skill we could incorporate, had been finished with remarkable results. The initial wall was now part of a conference room facility and there were now more rooms built next to that which were being used as surgeries for Cranial- Facial repair. The success of these buildings had convinced the team operating the hospital to build another larger unit with the same materials. Though this time with that as part of the design plan, rather than trying to adapt structures meant for concrete.
Janakpur Cranio Facial Unit. Cast hempcrete with timber and bamboo frame.
|While in Janakpur I went to visit one of the houses S.H.I.V. had helped build for one of the Dahlit community. It was a more complicated procedure than one might imagine not least due to the fact that Dahlit society has some of the problems India and it must be said other societies worldwide has in its attitude to widows. The chosen recipient of the house was indeed a widow but the fact that she was receiving such help did not endear her to her neighbors even members of her family who jealousy erupted into full blown objection and obstruction during the building process and the local police and landowner had to be called to restore justice before work could continue. Eventually this meant that the home could not be finished in the manner originally planned though the owner was quite happy with the result. Built around a basic bamboo frame it was a simple structure to say the least but better than living in the open with all the dangers that entailed for a widowed mother and her children.|
Dahlit home built by S.H.I.V.
|Work was also progressing on S.H.I.V.’s headquarters and manufacturing space behind the Shahs family home in Janakpur. Various experimental plasters had been tried out on the exterior of the building but unfortunately they had not worked and Wolf Jordan and myself got another version together, applied it and finished it with some painted decorations. I used the local art style for my inspiration as I have tried to do everywhere I work, in order to create a new vernacular style. In this instance I selected a detail from the local Mithila art.|
Painted decoration inspired by Mithila Art
|Soon after my return from Nepal I was off to Poland to teach the Deep Green Building Course at the Naklo Palace in Lelow. This is the home of Hemp Today publisher Kehrt Reyer ad his wife Marzenna who are hoping to turn their home, which was a past palace belonging to European royalty from the 19th century into a world centre of Hemp events from just the very successful B&B it has formally been.|
A large group of international attendees and members of the Polish Hemp world came to be part of the lessons in which I was helped by Wolf Jordan from Belgium and John Patterson of the U.S.A.
We were starting another room in the attic area of the palace, part of the expanding accommodation resource and Kehrt has had the idea of having each room in the style conceived by famous Hemp builders involved in the building and design process. So this was the Steve Allin room which featured a curved wall built upon one of the massive chimney stacks and some decorative plaster work on one of the walls against which the bed will be positioned.
It was a pleasure to meet up with both some of the Polish contingent I had previously met at Symposiums and a well known Czech Hemp Builder Honza Besik together with other new and old friends.
Kerht had wanted to have space in the programme for lengthy presentations each day but I wanted to demonstrate the amount of work that could be done by a team as this was, from my point of view, training for a trade not just a holiday!!! Everyone, especially Kehrt, were surprised by the amount of wall we succeeded in erecting over the 3 days.
Deep Green Building crew. Naklo Palace Lelow Poland
|I was also holding hemp Building Courses at my home in Ireland but with all the disruption our family was experiencing I decided to limit the events to just one in April and cancelled the May course. Despite spending very little effort in promoting the course we had a great crew turn up to the Advanced level edition here in the beautiful Ballygriffin Valley where I live.|
I was very surprised when I received bookings from two members of one of the largest Hemp Building companies in the world, Equilibrium of Italy. Paolo Ronchetti and Gilberto Barcella came for a number of reasons one of which being that Paolo had studied in Dublin and attended the 1st International Hemp Building Symposiums during that time, so for him there was the returning to a special place in his life and he wanted to bring Gilberto to see the beauty of the place but they also had other reasons to come to attend the course that being that I have experimented so much with different versions of materials and systems they wanted to discuss many of these with me in order to expand their knowledge. it was a great privilege to host them and catch up with all their news from Italy and the methods they are using there to expand the use of hemp Building materials. A few days ago I received a pallet containing some bags of their Dolomite Lime Binder and samples of the Hemp blocks made by Sennini for my hemp Building showroom/museum That we started during the course.
Another attendee of the course was Damien Baumer who as I had previously mentioned I visited at Xmas in France to see him demonstrate his new spray technology and this time to bring a spray gun and binder that I am purchasing to both promote and further develop in the future. Damien and his daughter Luanna added to the international element of the course as did Regardt Kenny a natural builder from S.Africa who arrived a few days earlier to help with some of the preparations.
Despite some awful weather during the first day we were able to combine framing, casting and plastering with spraying hempcrete.
Advanced Hemp Building Course, Kenmare April 2019
|Several hemp Building projects are underway here at my home and will be finished soon and another will start in a month or so when I add another storey to our sun-room to the south end of our house. Not only do we need the extra room but bats got into the roof space and damaged the underfelt beneath the slate roof so that during the increasingly ferocious storm we are now getting as a result of Climate Change rain is getting into the guano and Hemp insulation and turning into a fine compost heap above our heads. Luckily for us the Bats have vacated the premises and we can remove the old roof and build upwards. This I will do using the Ereasy spray machine and binder.|
As for other IHBA news you will see from the logo carousel on our website that we have many new members and this is very encouraging. Due in part to the extreme volume of work I now have the next Symposium is being delayed until April next year no definite venue has been chosen yet but a couple are being investigated. Meanwhile other groups of IHBA members are requesting smaller events under the IHBA banner to promote the system in their localities including those in Germany and the U.S.. I am communicating with these groups to see what we might arrange.
Work in updating the Best Practice Guide also is taking place as several new binders and techniques have come to our attention and should be included.
Pierre Amadieu sent us news of the 4.20 event in Paris and about an event upcoming called une balade au Printemps du Chanvre le 26 Mai à Fons (46). see details below.
The 16th E.I.H.A. Conference will be held in Cologne again this year and I will be giving a presentation about the wide variety of Hemp Building around the world now as a preview of the new book I am working on.
To close I want to mention a funding campaign for the Solar Decathlon entrant by Monika Brümmer of Cannabric and the members of her Adrah Nouh group as featured during the 8th Symposium in Brussels. details of the campaign can be found here.
Pierre Amadieu at the Festival 4.20 Paris 2019
Coöperatie voor natuurlijk bouwen
Kalkhennepbouw en wetenschappelijk onderzoek
een stand van zaken door Tinne Vangheel (WTCB)
18 mei om 17:00u in Gent