Through the initial research into the Roche Health Center, we discovered that the structural, thermal and construction requirements of the community could be achieved with the use of a tool that was in use commonly in West Africa, but rarely in East Africa – the Interlocking Stabilized Soil Block Press. We introduced this to the community in Roche, Tanzania and they were felt that this would work extremely well for their needs. We worked with Makiga, Inc in Nairobi, Kenya to import an ISSB press into Tanzania and train the local community.
Throughout the research and design of Roche Health Center for Village Life Outreach project, ISSB (Interlocking Stabilized Soil Block) has been a vital material that has influenced design decisions. We received an AIA Ohio Research Grant in 2012 to purchase a Standard Straight Interlocking Soil Block Press from Makiga Engineering Services in Nairobi, Kenya. We are using this press to greater understand this building technology, and make more informed decisions as the health center expands.
The ISSB Press will allow students, faculty and practitioners working on projects in rural and developing regions to research and test the interlocking stabilized soil block (ISSB). This block represents a tremendous opportunity for developing areas that are presently using kiln-fired blocks or other forms of indigenous construction.