Reviving earth construction techniques in Mongolia

2020-09-30 11:19:16

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Ger district host 60 percent of the Ulaanbaatar’s population making it the main residential area for the residents in Ulaanbaatar. That is why, the affordable yet sustainable construction techniques that are easy to adapt in ger district, is much needed.


Thanks to PADEM and its partner local organization HLO Mongolia (Healthy Life Organization), earth construction techniques were revived in Ulaanbaatar for the first time in a while since the use of earth construction techniques for the Buddhist monastery buildings in the past. The earth construction techniques revived were financed by the Switch Off Air Pollution implemented by Geres Mongolia and co-funded by the European Union’s Switch Asia programme, Abbe Pierre Foundation and French and Czech Development Agencies. Earth construction techniques were consisting of compressed earth bricks and rammed earth walls.  A compressed earth brick is a building material made primarily from a humid mixture of sand, clay and cement compressed by hand at high pressure to form blocks. Rammed earth walls are usually used for building a strong wooden framework, the frame is then filled in with a layer of damp soil, which typically includes sand, gravel, clay and cement.


In accordance with developing techniques, HLO Mongolia organized in June 2 weeks of workshops facilitated by the specialized architect Chinbadam D. for 30 people from groups in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar and 2 craftsmen of the Switch Off Air Pollution. The participants were selected by 4 local NGOs, namely, Healthy Life Organization Mongolia, Mongolian Women’s Fund, Parents-Teachers Association Mongolia and the Mongolian National Federation of the Blind.


84% of the participants were very satisfied by the training conducted. Some participants were willing to continue the production of compressed earth bricks for their income generation. At the end, participants express the critics such as; need to expand the training to more people, involve more young people and communicate the activities at a larger scale.


Sukh-Ochir Sodnompuntsag, who was one of the active participants at the training, expressed his ample enthusiasm over the training saying that he would like to continue practicing the earth construction techniques, furthermore, to open a small-sized enterprise.


“Despite the fact that they have to manage their own family and life problems as the training chose people from different backgrounds, involved people were happy to collaborate. We felt that there was an increase in people’s self-confidence between the beginning and the end of the project. Even participants with different types of impairments (physical or visual) or health problems (high blood pressure or chronic back pain) were one of the most motivated during these activities,” said Kevin Mahe, Technical Coordinator from PADEM Mongolia.


“Mongolian monastery constructions have endured for centuries in the harsh climate and they are only one of the rare examples of ancient knowledge techniques of sedentary Mongolian construction. Traditional construction techniques updated with current modern knowledge have proven to be the best adaptation from an environmental and social point of views in the projects implemented by Geres in Morocco and Tajikistan. Hence, we wanted to test those technologies in Mongolia,said Beatriz Maroto Izquierdo, Geres Mongolia Country Director.


Satisfaction of the participants definitely proves to the organizers that earth construction techniques should be revived and used widely for public in Mongolia. Having a history with earth construction techniques in their monastic buildings, Mongolia is definitely ready to embrace the old-method of earth construction techniques to build their own homes.


About Switch Off Air Pollution:

Mainly co-financed by the European Union’s under the Switch Asia programme, with additional support from Abbe Pierre Foundation, Czech Development Agency and the French Development Agency; the Switch Off Air Pollution project is being implemented by the Energy Efficiency Expert INGO, Geres Mongolia in collaboration with Building Energy Efficiency Center of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Mongolian National Construction Association and People in Need INGO during the 2018-2021 period.

Project website -, and mobile application - Dulaalga on iOS and Android

About Geres Mongolia:

Geres is a French NGO with expertise in energy and development, with over 40 years of experience in Europe, Africa, and Asia improving living conditions for the most vulnerable people and fighting the impacts of climate change.

Source: Geres Mongolia

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