Blending urban and rural

Blending urban and rural


Shashank Agarwal comes up with a unique idea of making homes using cow dung bricks.

innovative Shashank Agarwal poses inside the hut made of cow dung bricks.

This is what ideas are made of. Within eight months of coming up with a unique concept, Std XI student Shashank Agarwal got a hut built using bricks made up of cow dung and straw dust.

A student of Amity International School, Noida, Shashank brought his idea of building a greener and cheaper habitat for rural areas into an existence with the help of his father and a few labourers.
“I heard my grandparents narrate stories about how the floors and walls of homes in villages were coated with cow dung that would keep the flies and reptiles away. They also told me that it provided insulation in the changing weather. So, I came up with an idea of making homes using the same substance,” says Shashank, who aims to be an architect.

He has built a hut in Greater Noida with the help of 3,000 bricks. “This kind of home would give people in rural areas an option of cleaner, greener and cheaper homes,” he says.

A science student, this 16-year-old gives the credit of this unique concept to his father who encouraged him to go ahead and also helped him develop the idea in a better way. Shashank’s father Mukesh Agarwal, a businessman, informs that when he sensed his son’s confusion over executing the idea, he jumped in to rescue him and simplified the technique for him.

“Shashank was not sure if a house in modern times can really be made of cow dung bricks, so I intervened and explained how we have always been using it as a coating material in rural homes,” says Mukesh.

One more reason why Shashank chose the mixture of cow dung and straw dust is because of its anti-bacterial qualities. “Cow dung is believed to have anti-bacterial qualities. It serves as disinfectant and an excellent and inexpensive insulator. Besides, it also keeps away insects,” explains Shashank.

Shashank says he doesn’t want to share the idea formally with his school or even authorities unless he works on it for some more time. “I have used sand coating on the hut to make it non-combustible and stronger, but I want to work more on making the bricks stronger by changing the ratio of cow dung and straw dust before I take up the idea to the authorities,” he sums up.