Nepal is one of the top ten fastest urbanising countries in the world, and it’s growing. The population of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is expected to double by 2050.

The housing demand is urgent. UN Habitat anticipated that Nepal would need 1,000,000 new homes by 2021. The 2015 Ghorka earthquake destroyed nearly 5,000,000 buildings increasing the pressure for new homes.

We can speculate that the average sustainable home could save one ton CO2 from embodied energy in materials alone. If we extrapolate this to Nepal’s wider housing demand, there is a potential to save 1 million tons of CO2 emissions in the next decade, or 3 million tons by 2050. 

To address this issue, we’re currently developing a sustainable and affordable housing prototype for Kathmandu.

Community Infrastructure Prototype

We have developed a design strategy to transform disaster prone buildings into essential community infrastructure. The design deploys a thin, stabilising concrete jacket to stiffen existing masonry buildings and protect them from future seismic events. The preserved structure will provide the necessary space for community gathering and other programs, such as library and healthcare provision. The design creates new roof structures providing public spaces for gathering and increasing natural light and ventilation to the rooms below.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate how unsafe buildings can be upgraded into earthquake resilient community spaces. The project demonstrates: an integrated approach to providing both seismic resistance and infrastructure provision; the use of innovative techniques to reinforce an existing structure; how the community can be involved in the construction process; and, how to adapt the building to provide natural light and passive ventilation.