Architecture

Award-winning building shows possibilities of mud-based construction

Award-winning building shows p...
Anandaloy has been declared the winner of the second annual Obel Award, a new architecture award that aims to "test the boundaries of architecture and transcend the age in which they are created"
Anandaloy has been declared the winner of the second annual Obel Award, a new architecture award that aims to "test the boundaries of architecture and transcend the age in which they are created"
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Anandaloy was built using mud and bamboo by a team of locals
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Anandaloy was built using mud and bamboo by a team of locals
"Mud is not just dirt – it is a real building material of high quality that you can use to build very exact structures – not only small huts but also large engineering structures and even public buildings," says architect Anna Heringer
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"Mud is not just dirt – it is a real building material of high quality that you can use to build very exact structures – not only small huts but also large engineering structures and even public buildings," says architect Anna Heringer
"To all of us in the jury, Anandaloy is an outstanding project," says Obel Award judge Martha Schwartz. "It is an original piece. It is not in the style of; it is not imitating something else. I think Anna is absolutely dedicated to what she is doing, which is what you see when you see a good piece of art: that there is a good, focused intent behind it"
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"To all of us in the jury, Anandaloy is an outstanding project," says Obel Award judge Martha Schwartz. "It is an original piece. It is not in the style of; it is not imitating something else. I think Anna is absolutely dedicated to what she is doing, which is what you see when you see a good piece of art: that there is a good, focused intent behind it"
Anandaloy measures 253 sq m (2,723 sq ft), which is spread over two floors
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Anandaloy measures 253 sq m (2,723 sq ft), which is spread over two floors
Anandaloy's interior is split into two floors. The first floor is taken up by a therapy area for people with disabilities, while the second floor features a workshop for local women
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Anandaloy's interior is split into two floors. The first floor is taken up by a therapy area for people with disabilities, while the second floor features a workshop for local women
Anandaloy's interior includes cave-like spaces meant as a quiet retreat
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Anandaloy's interior includes cave-like spaces meant as a quiet retreat
Anandaloy has been declared the winner of the second annual Obel Award, a new architecture award that aims to "test the boundaries of architecture and transcend the age in which they are created"
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Anandaloy has been declared the winner of the second annual Obel Award, a new architecture award that aims to "test the boundaries of architecture and transcend the age in which they are created"
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Building with mud may bring to mind a simple shelter, but Anandaloy, by German architect Anna Heringer, shows that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. The project showcases the possibilities of building with mud and bamboo, and provides an impressive new therapy center and manufacturing workshop in rural Bangladesh. It has been declared the winner of the Obel Award 2020.

Anandaloy, which means "the place of deep joy" in Bangla, measures a substantial 253 sq m (2,723 sq ft), spread over two floors. The construction process was managed by local contractor Montu Ram Shaw and involved a team of mud and bamboo workers from the local area, including people with disabilities, using traditional cob building techniques.

"It is important to me to show that it is possible to build a modern two-story house with simple resources," explains Anna Heringer, who has been researching mud-based construction for decades. "Mud is not just dirt – it is a real building material of high quality that you can use to build very exact structures – not only small huts but also large engineering structures and even public buildings. It is our creative task to take an old material and make something modern and appropriate to contemporary uses, needs, and aspirations. Mud buildings can be healthy, sustainable, humane, and beautiful."

Anandaloy was built using mud and bamboo by a team of locals
Anandaloy was built using mud and bamboo by a team of locals

Inside, the first floor is a therapy center for people with disabilities and is accessed by a sloping ramp (the ramp also provides access to the second floor). Elsewhere are a series of snug cave-like areas meant as a secluded place of retreat for those physically able to explore them.

The upper floor, meanwhile, hosts Dipdii Textiles, which is a clothes-making enterprise for local women that aims to support traditional textile production and improve work opportunities in the village for women.

Anandaloy's interior includes cave-like spaces meant as a quiet retreat
Anandaloy's interior includes cave-like spaces meant as a quiet retreat

Anandaloy is the winner of the second Obel Award, which is an annual architecture award created in 2019 that aims to celebrate works that "test the boundaries of architecture and transcend the age in which they are created."

An award ceremony took place on October 21 and, for her efforts, Heringer has received a cash prize of €100,000 (roughly US$84,000), plus an artwork by Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

Sources: Obel Award, Anna Heringer

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6 comments
Heckler
Make architecture sustainable again.
WB
those caves are creepy
michael_dowling
How would it hold up in an earthquake?
RichardMoore
Perhaps the photos change the look, but I see much larger plan area than 253 sq m (2,723 sq ft)
ArdisLille
I wish there were a lot more pictures along with this article
Don Duncan
So, what is the new formula using earth to build large structures? Or is it in the design only? Or, is it a combo? What makes the "possibilities" possible?
An extremely superficial article.