Over the last 32 years, AVEI has become one of the world’s top centers for excellence in earthen architecture, working in 38 countries to promote and disseminate knowledge in the construction of sustainable habitats. Part research institute, part training facility, Auroville leads workshops and discussions around the world on how to use the earth to develop a more sustainable built environment. Their work is widely influential, inspiring multiple groups and organizations to take up the practice of sustainable building.
As the Representative and Resource Centre for Asia of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures, and Sustainable Development,” AVEI aims to empower local stakeholders through an international network of experts. The work of the Earth Institute has attempted to revive traditional skills and to link vernacular traditions of raw earth construction with modern technologies of stabilized earth.
AVEI specializes in research and development of earthen technologies that are cost effective, low carbon, and low embodied energy solutions for sustainable development. This includes Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks (CSEB) walls, Hollow Interlocking (HI CSEB) walls for disaster resistance, CSEB arches, vaults and domes, Stabilised Rammed Earth Foundations (SREF), Stabilised Rammed Earth Walls (SREW), earth composite technologies for columns and beams, stabilised earth waterproofing, plasters and mortars, etc. The most promoted AVEI technology today is Compressed Stabilised Earth Blocks.
In addition, since 1990, the Auroville Earth Institute has educated over 13,770 people from 92 countries in sustainable building technologies and land management practices, focusing on the use of the earth as a building material. Knowledge is disseminated through training courses, seminars, workshops, manuals, and other publications.
In post-disaster conditions, Auroville’s techniques allow communities to self-recover without relying on the bureaucracy of foreign governments or international NGOs. For areas that are seismically vulnerable, Auroville is developing and implementing types of reinforced earth blocks that are as safe as any ‘modern’ form of construction. Additionally, the Institute has expanded into developing building equipment. It has designed, manufactured, and distributed presses in collaboration with private partners. In conjunction with the training provided, the materials enable communities to produce structural materials from local resources.
Over its history, AVEI has worked in 38 countries to promote and disseminate knowledge in earth architecture, and has garnered 15 awards for its work (four international awards and eleven national awards).