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Eco-Dome Djibouti

Eco-Dome Djibouti

U.S. Army Sgt. Amanda Broome, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Surgeon Cell animal care specialist, works on the construction of an Eco-Dome prototype with the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion Aug. 27 in Djibouti. The Eco-Dome was engineered by the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture to provide comfortable, economical and sustainable building solutions for impoverished and natural disaster stricken-areas. The design ensures the structure will be resistant to earthquakes, fire, flood and hurricanes.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell

Civil Affairs soldiers and camp service members from different branches began building an Eco-Dome prototype Aug. 24 as a model for possible future construction endeavors in Djibouti and the Horn of Africa.

Eco-Domes, igloo-type structures built from stabilized earth, sandbags and barbed wire, are an inexpensive alternative to constructing brick-and-mortar structures.

“The idea came from a corporation called Cal-Earth out of California,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Erickson, Company C, 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, team sergeant. “There was a situation in an area we couldn’t get materials to, and this could work perfectly for it.”

The prototype, built by a Civil Affairs team and volunteer service members stationed at Camp Lemonnier, will allow CA teams to determine whether it is feasible to build in other locations around the region, and whether the approach is of interest to Djiboutians.

“We thought it would be foolish to build the first one for someone to actually live in,” Erickson said. “We wanted to see if we could actually do it and if it is something Djiboutians would like. This is us building one to show them and to get a little practical experience on how to build them.”

If Djiboutians express a positive interest in the earth architecture prototypes, the CA team will teach them how to build them. The structures can be used for schools, community centers and health clinics, Erickson said. One company in the city of Djibouti has already indicated an interest in learning the earth architecture construction skills, he said.

When built properly, Eco-Dome structures can stand up to the elements.

“It’s fireproof, windproof, waterproof and earthquake- proof,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kenneth Carmichael, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa strategic communications planner. Properly constructed domes can withstand magnitude 8 earthquakes, he said.

“It’s highly soundproof, and there are low bearings on the whole structure so it’s not going to lean and tip over,” Carmichael said.

Adopting earth architecture construction techniques could help Djiboutians in at least two ways, according to Carmichael.

CJTF-HOA currently spends $300,000-400,000 building schools, clinics and other structures, Carmichael said, and Eco-Domes could add significantly to the utility of those funds.

An Eco-Dome structure 10 feet in diameter, such as the camp prototype, costs less than $2,000 to build. A larger structure, 18-20 feet in diameter, can be built for less than $4,000.

“The goal is to build for capacity,” Carmichael said. “This structure is two things: It can be a school or any type of structure they want to make, but secondly, it’s a skill. It’s expeditionary economics.”

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Photo prise le 27 août 2010 (© US Army Africa / Flickr)

Voir aussi :
 u.s. army africa, usaraf, u.s. africa command, africom, setaf, combined joint task force-horn of africa, cjtf-hoa, djibouti, camp lemonnier, 418th civil affairs battalion, eco-dome, earth architecture, sustainable design, technology exchange, ergonomic design, civil support, structural engineering, structural design, california institute of earth art and architecture, future

Photos Hornofafrica