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10 years ago|844 views

“Papercrete” School Stands up to Typhoon

Houses are made from just about everything these days – even paper. One couple in Taiwan used almost a ton-and-a-half of newspapers and eight months to build a paper schoolhouse that survived last year’s deadly Typhoon Morakot.

An eco-conscious couple in Taiwan has opened a small schoolhouse built with donated newspapers fed through a homemade blender.

Canadian-born John Lamorie and his Taiwanese wife, Shelly Wu, used 2,866 pounds of newspapers, many collected from students who would turn them over for points in class, to build an 807 square-foot schoolhouse.

The building material which they call “papercrete” is made by blending together newspaper, water and cement.

After getting the idea from visiting friends, Lamorie said he built a blender using a truck bed and a lawnmower blade.

Eighteen papercrete bricks are made of 22 pounds of newspaper, 22 pounds of cement, and 40 gallons of water.

[John Lamorie, Paper House Owner]: (English)
"I like the idea of using waste material, and free waste material was even better. It's nice, lightweight. My building hasn't got a perimeter foundation and if I did brick and concrete I need a heavy foundation and I didn't want that. And then I don't have to pay for fiberglass insulation or some insulation material. The papercrete is about the same art factor as fiberglass. Wow, this is the answer to my prayer."

News of the unusual construction method spread fast in the rural area of Pingtung county in southern Taiwan where Lamorie and Wu live.

The project took about a year, with school now set to open ahead of schedule.

The schoolhouse's walls are coated with a silicone coating to guard against rain damage.

What’s next for this enterprising couple? -- How about a paper-based restaurant where Lamorie and Wu plan to cook pizzas?
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