Cover Image
close this book Appropriate building materials
close this folder Examples of building systems
View the document Mud brick vaults and domes
View the document Earthquake resistant mud/bamboo structures
View the document Adobe brick house
View the document Modular framed earth block construction
View the document Lok Bild system
View the document Concrete panel house
View the document Ferrocement housing units
View the document Fibracreto building system
View the document Bamboocrete construction
View the document Bamboo houses
View the document Prefabricated timber hut
View the document Prefabricated wooden house
View the document Timber houses for flood areas
View the document Rha-lime prototype house

Modular framed earth block construction


Special properties

Earthquake resistant, light frame, easy assembly

Economical aspects

Low cost



Skills required

Average construction skills

Equipment required

Soil block press, simple construction equipment

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on soil stabilization

Resistance to insects

Medium to good

Climatic suitability

All except extremely hot dry climates

Stage of experience

Applications in relief projects in Africa


• The key elements of this building system are hollow steel connectors and specially formed earth blocks made in a manual block press (with a system of inserts).

• The steel connectors have either square or circular cross-sections and are used to connect straight pipes of square or circular section, or even sawn timber or bamboo components, to form the basic framework, which carries a light, corrugated aluminium sheet roof.

• The earth blocks, produced on the MARO Block Press (see ANNEX), are made to interlock with the framework to form durable walls. This system is ideally suited for disaster relief housing projects. A single truck-load of connectors, roofing sheets and a few block presses can be sufficient to build a group of houses with local soil and bamboo.

• The framework should rest on concrete strip foundations, though for temporary structures no foundation is needed.

• The walls can initially be plastic sheets (for immediate shelter), which are gradually replaced by earth blocks or even locally available burnt clay bricks, such that the quickly erected refugee tent camps are efficiently converted into permanent housing by self-help and low-cost methods. Extensions are possible in all directions.

Further information: Mark Klein, MARO Enterprise, 95 bis Route de Suisse, CH-1290 Versoix (Geneva), Switzerland.

MARO Construction System

Steel connectors with square and circular sections