Auroville Earth Institute

From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search

Main > Organizations

Main > Housing and construction

Link -


The Auroville Earth Institute was previously named the Auroville Building Centre / Earth Unit, which had been founded by HUDCO, Government of India, in 1989. The development of the former building centre evolved in such a way that the Auroville Earth Institute came into existence in 2004.

The Auroville Earth Institute is researching, developing, promoting and transferring earth-based technologies, which are cost and energy effective. These technologies are disseminated through training courses, seminars, workshops, manuals and documents. The Institute is also offering various services, and provides consultancy within and outside India.

The emphasis is focused on the research and development of earth based technologies and their dissemination through training courses. The most promoted technology today is Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB).

One of the aims of the Auroville Earth Institute is to give people the possibility to create and build for themselves their own habitat, while using earth techniques.


Office of the Auroville Earth Institute

The Auroville Earth Institute is part of a world network with CRATerre (The International Centre for Earth Construction), ABC Terra in Brazil, and a number of Indian NGOs. A training convention has been passed with the School of Architecture of Grenoble, France, for giving long-term training courses to their students.

The Auroville Earth Institute is today the representative for Asia of the UNESCO Chair "Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development". This Chair aims to accelerate the dissemination of scientific and technical know-how on earthen architecture amongst the higher education institutions, in the following three domains: environment and heritage, human settlements, and economy and production.

The Auroville Earth Institute is also partner of BASIN South Asia – Regional Knowledge Platform and it provides information and guidance to whoever asks for it.

The training course activities and the endeavor to promote raw earth as a building material for sustainable and cost effective development has brought since 1989 thirteen awards: Two international awards and eleven Indian awards.

The Auroville Earth Institute plan to develop its activities in the future and we are seeking to offer, after some time, a one-year curriculum to students of various levels which would be granted with these diplomas:

  1. Post diploma "Specialisation in earth architecture" to architects and engineers
  2. Diploma "Bare foot earth architect" to educated people, for setting up entrepreneurships
  3. Diploma "Master mason earth builder" to uneducated people

Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB)


  1. Economic Feasibility to Set up a CSEB Unit, An Introduction (37 pages, A4)
    1. File:Intro_11_-_CSEB_Economics.xls
  2. Production and use of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks, Code of Practice (144 pages, A4)
  3. Building with Arches, Vaults and Domes, Training Manual for Architects and Engineers (141 pages, A4)

Training Course

Five to eight training programmes of one week are regularly conducted every year at Auroville. They approach theory with basics on soil characteristics, design, calculation, etc. and practice with block making, quality control, design guidelines, etc. All skills are welcome: engineers or architects, technicians or supervisors, masons or students and laymen. [2]

Auram Earth Construction Eqiupment

The Auroville Earth Institute has designed the Auram equipment and we have been developing it since 1989. The Auram Press 3000 is being sold worldwide and it is manufactured in Auroville and marketed by AUREKA,

Today Compressed Earth Blocks (CSEB) rival the finest standard bricks available in terms of strength and durability; are highly cost-effective and environmentally-friendly; can be safely used for construction of multi-storey buildings; and lend themselves to a variety of creative and aesthetically pleasing effects.

No small credit for this change in application and quality can be attributed to Auroville Earth Institute, and its widely acclaimed range of Auram Presses, the only India-made earth block press exported since several years to countries in south.


Arches, Vaults, and Domes (AVD)

The Auroville Earth Institute attempts to revive vaulted structure techniques, shapes and skills of builders with these aims:

  • Bring a worldwide awareness about the possibilities of such roofing.
  • Research and develop them so as to integrate in the 21st century the techniques used in past centuries and millennia, such as those developed in ancient Egypt or during the period of gothic architecture in Europe.


Disaster Resistance

The last decade of the 20th century has seen all over the world a significant increase in natural catastrophes. In a changing world, building construction patterns need also to be changed. They need to answer the demand for disaster resistance, not only for the well-known areas, which are disaster prone, but also for wider areas. The construction systems need also to address the problem of cost, which is for low-income groups a major parameter.

Since 1995, our research has been oriented towards the development of a system, which is based on reinforced masonry with compressed earth blocks that are hollow interlocking.

Three types of blocks have been developed:

  • The square hollow interlocking block 245, which allows building up to 2–3 floors high. It is laid with mortar and a grout is cast into the holes.
  • The rectangular hollow interlocking block 295, which is used only for ground floors. It is laid with mortar and a grout is cast into the holes.
  • The rectangular dry hollow interlocking block 300, which is used only for ground floors. It is laid dry stacked and a grout is poured later on into the holes.


First Contact

Marcin attempted to contact AVEI.

Hi Auram,

I am the founder of Open Source Ecology - please see my [[TED Talk]] on the Global Village Construction Set. We develop open source industrial machines, such as our [[CEB Press]].

I would like to inquire whether you would be willing to open source the blueprints for your rock crusher or soil mixer. Is this something that you have considered or that you think may be consistent with your vision? We publish our plans openly to lower the barriers to entry, and I think your enterprise could grow if you made your machines open source.


Second Contact

In Jan 2020, Michael Altfield visited AVEI.


These photos were taken at the Auroville Earth Institute by Michael Altfield in Jan 2020.

Automated Auram Press 4000

Manual Presses

Auram Crusher

Auram Mixer

Various Photos of the Premises

Wind Turbine


AVEI is located near to CSR and Auroshilpam in Auroville. Auroville is just north of Pondicherry in Tamil Nadu, India.

This location includes an AVEI exhibition room.


See Also