Vikas Community

Architecture by: Satprem Maïni
Type of building use: Residential
Year of completion:
Built-up area:
1448 m2
Plot size: 10,000 m2
Location: Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India
Climatic Zone:
Tropical zone
Actual Occupancy:
33 inhabitants in 23 Apartments
Appropriate architecture design
  • Sun protection with sunshades and a proper orientation of the building
  • Natural cross ventilation with a proper orientation of the building, and solar chimney to create a natural draft
  • Integration to the land according to the existing vegetation
Environmentally sound materials
  • Stabilised rammed earth foundations with 5% cement
  • Plinths and walls with CSEB – Some walls with stabilised rammed earth
  • Composite beams and lintels (U shape CSEB and reinforced concrete)
  • Composite columns (round CSEB and reinforced concrete)
  • Vaults and domes for floors and roof with CSEB
  • Paints and plasters with stabilised earth
  • Floorings with CSEB tiles, 2.5cm thick
  • Ferrocement pieces in various parts of the building (doors, shelves) and for the plaster of the water tanks and the ponds.
Renewable energy sources
  • Photovoltaic panels for the lighting (12 V. DC)
  • Two surface solar pumps for the gardens
  • One submersible solar pump at 35 m depth (Installed in the well with windmill pump)
  • Windmill, with a pump at 32 m depth (Installed in the well with solar pump)
Water management
  • Rain water harvesting with a particular landscaping, which aimed at a zero run off during the monsoon
  • Water harvesting from the overflow of the wind pump and the solar pump into a reservoir for water supply of gardens
  • Biological wastewater treatment (lagoon system)
Earth Management
  • Soil for building was extracted from the site itself
  • Percolation systems to harvest rainwater
  • Wastewater treatment pond
  • Reservoirs for garden water

The Auroville Earth Institute links the ancestral tradition of raw earth architecture with the modern technology of stabilized earth.

Stabilized raw earth can be used as a building material from foundations to roof.

Building with earth is an efficient way to use local resources, revive the local skills and the building tradition. The role of the architect is also essential in this process as he should be at the service of the society and its people. The architect should not be only a designer but also a builder and he should be able to build with people so as to give them the means to build their own habitat themselves.


Types of services offered. (Architecture, Structural, Services, Project Management, Contracting, Green Rating Facilitation, Energy Performance Simulation, Energy Audit…)

Architectural consultancy: the architect team of the Auroville Earth Institute can design and prepare detailed plans for anyone wishing to build their house using Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB). The Auroville Earth Institute is an architecture firm that manages projects from the conception stage to their construction. The institute has received 2 international prizes and 11 Indian prizes.

Training: The Auroville Earth Institute regularly organizes two weeks long training courses. They are open to all engineers, architects, technicians, masons and students who wish to learn how to produce and build with Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) and other earth techniques. Specialized training courses in the analysis and construction of arches, vaults and domes are also offered. These construction techniques are an alternative to the use of reinforced concrete.

Research: Since the very onset the Auroville Earth Institute has conducted researches on various stabilised earth technologies and developed composite techniques made of CSEB and reinforced cement concrete. Since 1995, the Institute has developed a construction technique for disaster resistance with hollow interlocking CSEB. This technology has been approved by 3 governments.

Technology transfer: the Institute is frequently called upon to conduct consultancies to disseminate earth architecture and technologies. Our team worked in 32 countries all over the world.

Soil testing: we provide soil testing for those interested in building with earth.

Block testing: test of blocks with a compression test machine. Both dry compressive strength and wet compressive strength are available. By following a strict procedure we are able to give reliable results.

CSEB order: production of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB) for the Auroville area.

Auram equipment: A wide range of earth construction equipment has been researched and developed and is sold today worldwide. This equipment is manufactured by the workshop Aureka.


Actual Energy Performance Index in: data not available
Percentage of A/C and non A/C regularly occupied spaces: No AC
Owner / User Testimony: None
Awards / Green Rating / Energy : Finalist for the World Habitat Award 2000

Architecture by: Satprem Maïni
Structural Design by: Auroville Earth Institute
Services Design by: Auroville Earth Institute
Project management: Auroville Earth Institute
Contractor: Auroville Earth Institute


Name of the Architectural Practice:
Auroville Earth Institute
Vikas Architect: Satprem Maïni
Photo of the Architect / Partners





Address: Auroville Earth Institute
Auroville 605 101 T.N.India
Tel: +91 (0) 413 – 262 3330 / 262 3064 Fax: +91 (0) 413 – 262 2886

External Links
Earthauroville's channel
Earth Architecture