Using recycled plastic composites to develop earthquake resilient housing for the region of Kutch, India

Open Access
Chheda, Dhaval Pravin
Graduate Program:
Master of Architecture
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 21, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Felecia Ann Davis, Thesis Advisor
  • Composite
  • Plastic Recycling
  • Fabric
  • Earthquake Resilient
  • Monococoque Construction
  • Kutch
  • India
  • Vaccum Bagging
The aim of this thesis is to develop an earthquake resilient housing system, for the seismic region of Kutch, located in the state of Gujarat, along the western coast of India. The intention is to employ a monocoque style of construction, using composite panels, developed from recycled plastics. The goal of this thesis is twofold – one is reducing damage to life and property caused by earthquakes and second, is providing a solution for the reduction of plastic pollution. The proposed housing typology is a long term, permanent dwelling unit and is not to be confused with temporary, post-disaster, emergency housing. It has the potential for mass customization and quick, low-cost, low-tech construction, allowing people to build their own dwelling units in a symbiotic and self-reliant manner. The material used for the construction of these units is a composite developed from recycled polyester fabrics using a traditional resin hand-layup technique. This allows building loads to be transferred mainly through the skin following the principles of monocoque construction. The manipulation of the material in terms of its form and the overall composition of the house, help to increase its seismic resistance and establish a congruent vernacular identity.