The Tipu Sultan Merkez School in Punjab, Pakistan has a new sustainable building that was designed by German architects Roswag Seiler and built by locals. Using locally sourced and low-impact materials, the shelter was fashioned from cob, bamboo and mud. Cob is widely used in Pakistan, and is a material made from clay, sand, water and straw. The concoction can easily be mixed by bulls, and once set, works as a natural insulator that keeps humidity at bay and interiors cool.
Punjab is the most populated city in Pakistan, and consequently there is a lack of jobs and a high level of poverty. The original school was failing to meet the growing needs of the school and increasing amount of students, so Roswag Seiler Architects decided to build a larger shelter that would still respect tradition and common building methods.
The new building has two floors — the lower one made from cob and bricks, and the top one with strong renewable bamboo and mud walls. Bamboo scaffolding and stairs connect ten rooms, service areas and the study zone. The flat roof was made using a classic Pakistani technique and consists of three bamboo layers and mud. During winter, the building is heated by solar power thanks to its north-south orientation, and big windows welcome lots of light.
The Tipu Sultan Merkez School in Punjab also supports ecological agriculture projects and was awarded a construction grant after achieving the sustainable building Holcim Awards.