How mudbrick day care centres have developed in Muzon, Philippines
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Joining the renovation project of day care centres in Muzon, Philippines, it was very interesting for me to see how day care centres made of mudbricks have developed for 6 years according to local climate and environmental conditions.
Three day care centres in Muzon were built and refurbished from 2014 to 2019 by the project team comprised of graduates of UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture and the students and faculty of Mokpo National University. The day care centres are Feliciano Day Care Centre, San Pedro Child Development Centre, and Partida Day Care Centre.
I am going to briefly explain the construction history of these mudbrick day care centres.
2014 : Feliciano Day Care Centre / New-built
The walls of the Feliciano were built with mudbricks and the roof was finished with wood.
2015 : San Pedro Child Development Centre / New-built
The design of day care centres has changed since 2015. San Pedro Child Development Centre was also built with mudbricks but created as an arch satisfying both the structural stability and the reduction of material costs. Since it was an arch, it was built entirely with local mud bricks.
The condition of Feliciano Day Care Centre, built in 2014, gave a significant impact on the design of San Pedro Child Development Centre. When the project team visited the Feliciano in 2015, the wooden roof and floor were seriously damaged by termites. The team realised that wood is not a suitable architectural material in the local condition. (it is expensive too.) Therefore, they came up with an alternative solution to the problem by proposing the arch design for the new built of San Pedro Child Development Centre.
2016 : Partida Day Care Centre / New-built
The arch shape of San Pedro Child Development Centre was received a great review by local people, therefore, Partida Day Care Centre was also built as an arch. Because of the unique arch shape and pleasantly cool indoor space, both day care centres were locally called as the ‘igloo’
2017 : San Pedro Child Development Centre & Partida Day Care Centre / Renovation
Both San Pedro and Partida Day Care Centre were covered by tarpaulins to protect them from rainwater. Furthermore, the exterior and interior of San Pedro were redecorated providing child-friendly spaces.
2018 : Feliciano Day Care Centre / Renovation
The damaged wooden structure of Feliciano Day Care Centre was refurbished. The timber roof damaged by termites was replaced as a metal roof, and bamboo walls were changed into earthbag walls.
Partida Day Care Centre / Renovation
Feliciano Day Care Centre / Renovation
San Pedro Child Development Centre /Renovation
All three day dare centres were renovated this years, and both the Partida and the San Pedro had an issue of a ceiling leak. The Partida was renovated by installing an extra roof to protect the igloo below, and the San Pedro was refurbished by applying water-proofing paint to the exterior of the building.
For the detailed information of the renovation of each day care centre of 2019, please click below.
San Pedro Child Development Centre
The tasks to be addressed for the sustainability of earth buildings
These day care centres were the references of how mudbrick buildings were developed and adapted in the tropical climate.
Examining the development of the mudbrick buildings, I have realised the importance of how earth buildings should be designed with an in-depth analysis and understanding of local environment. For example, the project team didn’t know that wood was not a long-lasting architectural material not until they visited the Feliciano the next year and saw the damaged timber structures by termites.
The major question I have is 'what is the appropriate and sustainable strategy to protect earth buildings from rainwater?.' For instance, the project team advised the local people to apply oils to the exterior of the igloos after 30days from their completions to keep them from rainwater. However, it was nearly impossible to dry those mudbrick igloos completely in the tropical climate without any exposure of rainwater during the period, so that oils could not be applied, and the building could not avoid the issue of a ceiling leak. I am going to explain more about water-resistant earth construction design at the later post.
I had also realised the importance of educating local people about how to build and maintain earth buildings. Without any earth workshop for them, it is highly likely that these earth buildings in Muzon will be just a one-off.