Khidekel Elements is non-profit organization working to provide low-cost, easy-to-erect housing for communities displaced by war and natural disasters.
THE RAMABLOK™: A UNIQUE ELEMENT OF CONSTRUCTION
Our work is based on the application of Ramablok™ technology, an open system of elements for the rapid assembly of industrial strength structures from found materials.
CREATED IN TIMES OF WAR
Khidekel Elements has its origins in the pioneering work of Lazar Khidekel, a renowned Soviet artist and architect who, in 1942, developed a unique approach to the rapid construction of industrial facilities. Working at the height of World War II, in conditions of extreme urgency and resource scarcity, Khidekel proposed a new unit of construction that could reduce the use of concrete and wood without sacrificing strength. He called this unit the ramablok.
BASED ON SUPREMATIST PRINCIPLES
Prior to becoming involved in architecture, Lazar Khidekel was an artist aligned with the Suprematist movement. Suprematist art focused on basic geometric forms, such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles, painted in a limited range of colors. When confronted with the urgent need to construct industrial buildings with limited time and resources, Khidekel combined the Suprematist principle of minimalism with an intuitive constructivist understanding of the skeletal object to create a standardized system of construction that was able to vary depending on the available building materials.
CREATED FROM FOUND MATERIALS
Out of necessity, the original Ramablok™ was a marvel of sustainability. It was composed of two primary elements: concrete, wood - often found or recycled, as wartime limits made cutting down trees for wood impossible - and ash from the furnaces of locomotives, industrial plants, or other facilities.
In official documents of the time, Khidekel described the benefits of his invention in this way:
Ramabloks are elements for fast assembling of walls of industrial buildings in wartime. The rapidity of erection is achieved by the scalable size of the element (from 0.8 sq.m - 160 sq.m), its variable weight (from 45 kg up to 2200 kg), ease and cleanliness of installation, and its lack of wet processes and waste.
Ramabloks reduce the consumption of any plastic materials - slag concrete, gypsum concrete, terrolit, etc. Ramabloks reduce consumption of timber in relation to the wooden post-and-plank structures by a factor of 30-50%. The filler material of each ramablok can be chosen depending on local or available material in a rather wide range.
According to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre, from 2008 to 2012, approximately 144 million people in 125 countries were forced from their homes. 98% of those displaced people live in developing countries. Improvements in early warning and other life-saving measures have decreased disaster mortality rates, but increased the number of survivors in desperate need of housing. Khidekel Elements works to help provide rapidly constructed, environmentally responsible housing for the displaced, thereby decreasing the need for dangerous and traumatic relocation. By applying Ramablok™ technology, we can construct sturdy structures from found material. Our approach was developed and tested during times of war, under harsh climatic conditions: we know it works. With your support, we can show the world.