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    Composite concrete roof breaks new ground in remote housing design

    Nathan Johnson

    America’s Molinelli Architects and startup company ST Bungalow LLC have developed a novel method of making roofs as a part of their quest to create a low cost, solar-powered and eco-friendly bungalow model for remote areas such as Nepal and Haiti.

    This roof system is a composite concrete form comprising arched fibreglass reinforced resin or plastic (FRP) moulds within a cement slab. The parallel arched or domed FRP forms are placed on the housing unit edifice, which will most likely be rammed earth bricks. Cement is then poured over the domes and contained within a temporary mould that is removed once the cement is set.

    No steel is used, although the shape of the roof forms, which span 265 cm with an overhang for a total of 549 cm, means the roof can support a live load of 244 kg/sqm.

    The key to the now patented roof design is the FRP which is stiff, lightweight and easily moulded into shape.

    The inventor is Michael Molinelli of Molinelli Architects who is also working with ST Bungalow to create a model for inexpensive buildings that use compressed earth bricks (CEBs) and solar power that can be constructed in areas with little or no access to electricity.

    The new roof forms an integral part of the ST Bungalow and its composition promises to cut costs and effort on construction and transport—two key performance measures informing the design of the bungalow.

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