Edition 28 - November 2007

15th Anniversary of CIDEM: from hyper-structures to social construction

XV Aniversario de CIDEM: de las hiper-estructuras a la construcción popular September 1992 marked one of the most difficult eras in Cuban history. This period was called “option zero” which meant zero fuel, zero exterior commerce. Socialism in Eastern Europe had fallen apart like a house of cards. At this very moment, the Central University of Las Villas decided to create the centre for investigation and development of structures and materials, CIDEM, with the mission to focus its investigations towards constructions. 

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Post-earthquake reconstruction in Peru

Julio VargasSince the severe and destructive earthquake of August 15 in Ica, Peru, Professor Julio Vargas Neumann of the Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) dedicates his time to reconstruction in the area affected by the earthquake. Engineer Vargas advises FORSUR (Reconstruction Fund created by the government after the earthquake), as well as coordinates, together with Dr. Marcial Blondet, a group of around 15 NGOs that work in Peru.

The investigator had dedicated some four decades to continuous investigation about the behaviour of adobe during earthquakes and is able to confirm that houses built in programs between 1985 and 1990 have resisted earthquakes well. Houses built in various programs according to the Peruvian norms with reinforced adobe, and located close to the epicentre, also resisted earthquakes perfectly well while neighbouring houses were destroyed, such as occurred on two occasions, in 2001 in Moquegua and this year in Ica,. It is necessary to adequately reinforce houses made of adobe, such as is done with stronger materials (reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete). 

International Habitat Encounter in Columbia 2007

NeivaAn international meeting in the city of Neiva the last week of September 2007 focused upon "The Internationalization of Cities", the principal theme of the academic part of the event. Parallel ten "best practices" were transferred and shared with ten areas or districts of Neiva. A team of 30 international specialists in different themes debated and discussed urban development with more than a thousand local inhabitants.

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A station along the path of a young architect

Imayara MojanArchitect Imayara Mojan spent almost a year with EcoTec in Nicaragua before going to Spain for a post-graduate degree. During this time she left her mark upon the team, especially with the students. In her role as coordinator of the architectural department, besides architectural design, her role encompassed budgets, supervision of construction and presentations to clients. 

Read more: A station along the path of a young architect

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Kathryn Pozak
Swiss and Canadian
Political Scientist and Journalist
English, Spanish, spoken German.
General concepts and synergies, backstopping, evaluations


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.