Successful connection of science with practice

EcoMateriales 2005: Combinación éxitosa de la ciencia con la prácticaScience and practice, two faces of the dialectic in all human endeavors that seek the social and economic development of thousands of people, strolled together through the halls of the Bolivar Convention Center in Santa Clara during EcoMaterials 2005.. This international conference is a forums of great dimension in the field of ecological construction. The space for discussion and analysis, and direct interchange among academics, scientists and technician again yielded its fruits. The theme of the conference, connecting science with practice, is presented in the article.

Jorge Garcias Sosa

Science and practice, two faces of the dialectic in all human endeavors that seek the social and economic development of thousands of people, strolled together through the halls of the Bolivar Convention Center in Santa Clara during three days of sessions at the international EcoMaterials Conference, that temporarily closed its doors until the year 2009.

EcoMaterials 2005, a forum for discussion and analysis of great dimension in the field of ecological construction, counted with the presence of scientists of international prestige, who presented the progress of their laboratory investigations in various universities in Europe, Latin America and North America. At the same time, the forum was enriched through the wise experience of producers and field technicians in the area of cement, earth or tiles, raise walls and cover houses in almost all continents. The work of this great family of EcoMaterials now extends almost throughout the entire world.

The fundamental aim of the organizers of these conferences - to provide spaces for discussion and analysis and direct interchange among academics, scientists and technicians with whom they carry out practical tasks in the area of the habitat - again yielded fruits. The enriching experiences brought to the podiums from more than fifty presenters, some with recognized scientific and theoretical endorsement and others with the wisdom of many years dedicated to producing materials in workshops and plants, and building with optimal quality and efficiency, has impareted more prestige to the growing market of EcoMaterials in the field of construction materials.

And, it is within this ambience, wherein humans themselves with their damaging procedures affect the environment, that the use of materials and technologies that are ecologically and economically sustainable has become necessary for the survival of our species, as well as animals and plants. Thus, nine commission brought forth experiences in the use of solid recyclable waste, such as plastics, tire rubber, paper, ash and slug from burning sawdust, husks of corn, rice and sugarcane, with the desire to reduce the incessant and noxious accumulation of these by products and endow them with new and rational use.


New technologies also were demonstrated, along with the development of others as old as our civilization, but that are being enriched each day by investigators and technicians in laboratories and workshops: the forms and formulas of a puzzolanic cement more resistant and economical and that occupies a good position in light of the expensive Portland cement; the dosage and know how for tiles, as well as methods to build roofs and walls less vulnerable to the pounding of hurricanes and earthquakes; new developments for the use of a material so noble, inexpensive and abundant as the earth, in search of better resistance and beauty in the final product; exploration of designs made more beautiful and functional through the participation of the beneficiaries themselves; ways and forms to rationally take of advantage of the energy resources of the planet and not destroy the wealth of forests; as well as the experience of many in the divulgation and extension of technologies into less developed regions and those social groups with few resources, but that also aspire to having a functional and attractive house.

Peter Dunckley and Jonah Ichoya

We wish to emphasize that each endeavour begun under the auspices of technical consulting from the EcoSouth Network becomes a school of instruction for the people involved , many of whom are women or youths involved in the trades of masonry or carpentry trades. They often begin from zero, but the know-how acquired helps them find a place in the local labor market and a means of earning a dignified living. Dependent upon their capacity to learn and their ability to take advantage of the material resources available in the area, they help contribute to the ecological and economical sustainability of projects.

Dissimilar experiences were presented about improving the quality and resistance of products with respect to natural disasters, even bringing them onto the local market with success, able to compete with other products fabricated by the large construction materials industries: MCR produced by Techo Fácil in Ecuador: Tevi and the vibrating equipment developed by CECAT; CP40 and the ball mills created by CIDEM, moulds for tiles, blocks, reinforced earth blocks, bricks…..scientific achievements behind which is the latent force of dozens of investigators and scientists physically present at the conference, or present through the knowledge bequeathed to future generations.

A new cycle in the development of EcoMaterials now begins. And, a symbol of this continuity are the dozens of students and young investigators interested in the dynamics of EcoMaterials, who arrived at Santa Clara thirsty for knowledge and to learn from the best experiences, and who in the next editions will surely be among those on the conference podium to share what they have learned, investigated and developed in their own countries, be it in a workshop or university in Africa, Latin America, Europe or North America It is in this that one finds the infinite dialectic that combines science with practice and that has animated and will continue to animate these conferences and the development of EcoMaterials throughout the world.

You are here: Home Past editions Edition #18, January 2006 Successful connection of science with practice


Javier GilJavier Gil
Topography Engineer, Spain
Spanish, english, french
Project management, construction, budgeting, training


In 2005, SofoNic has started a dual education program for masons in Nicaragua, using its house-building programs as a base. Teaming up with the local technical school in Jinotepe they are graduating about ten masons every year since. Most f them have found jobs in construction or have started a business on their own. SofoNic has contracted several of them as master masons in the reconstruction programs in Haiti.