A Designer’s Dream in Ferrocement
Anand Choudhary,

Man is a thinking animal. While thinking and imagining, he tries to carve small wonders out of his thoughts. From whatever he thinks in his thoughts, he sees in his dreams, he tries to change things around him. And these creations become a reflection of his thoughts, his imaginations. Something of similar nature has happened recently, at the residence of Mr. Rajiv Sethi, one of the renowned designers of India.

The idea was born with the search for a perfect place where he could relish his mornings with all his amazing ideas. He decided to transform his terrace into such a place. As a part of it, he imagined a flying scoop projecting out of the terrace, which apart from its functional use, would take his ideas into the universe of creativity and imagination.

In his quest, he was accompanied by a team of dream weavers from Development Alternatives who through their genuine effort transformed the idea into a reality.

In the nitty-gritty of it all...
It would be interesting, to detail out the technical side of this process for professionals working in the field.

The working team first looked at the design of the scoop and existing site conditions where the structure was to be built. Seeing the particular shape, size and ground conditions, it was decided to precast the structure away from the site. Ground layout and mould construction commenced at the building centre, TARA Nirman Kendra, around 15 km away from the site. The precision in the non-uniform design, particular details and shape required much attention. The machine design team of Development Alternatives played an important role in keeping the mould construction as close as possible to the structure on paper. As a part of a multi-design process, another critical step was the structural design of the scoop, which was worked out by a senior engineer in the team.

This world is full of surprises...isn’t it
On completion, the mould appeared (turned out) larger than assumed. But then, with a sigh we convinced ourselves that it was due to the inverted construction of the mould.

Now was the time for casting, which was preceded by activities like wire mesh cutting, reinforcement binding and side formwork. On anticipating the process for installment, the team cast the whole structure in 6 smaller panels. While the panels were cured, the construction crew started with the necessary on-site activities, which were required to place and anchor the cast panels.

Its time for delivery.....
After curing, came demoulding and transportation. All the panels were demoulded carefully and were loaded with gingerly hands, onto two trucks. Equally tedious were getting these panels off the trucks manually, which was brought about with help of jute ropes and wooden ballis.

Phew! We could sense the feeling of ACHIEVEMENT throbbing in many hearts.
After this exercise the team realised that it would require a mechanical device, for lifting these panels to the second storey and installing them in-place.
The Grand Finale…..
The construction crew was all set and the finale started with the arrival of a boom crane.
The mechanical giant extensively helped in lifting the panels and placing them in exact positions, allowing the anchor bolts passing through the holes. To provide the manual support from the cantilevered portion, temporary platforms were built using toe boards and scaffolds. Then, a little alignment, joining of the reinforcement, in-situ casting and some finishing touches transformed the uneven, rugged, individual concrete panels into a large, solid and graceful piece of craftsmenship.
So this is the long and short of a happening.
A happening which would be in our minds for long, because at its heart there is lots of enthusiasm and spirit of teamwork.

Plan of the ferrocement structure

Ready to cast in individual panels

On-site preparation to anchor the struture

Lifting of the last panel using the crane

. . . and this is it

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