BYU team builds bricks for Kenya

by | Apr. 02, 2010

Everything Else

With enough pressure and the right mold, even dirt can change lives.

A team of BYU engineering students has redesigned a press to make interlocking soil bricks that will reinvent the way Kenyans build houses.

"This means a lot to us as engineering students," said Joey Kent, a senior mechanical engineer. "We learn a lot in this program but we don't have many opportunities to integrate what we learn to a good cause."

Most Kenyans have no money for bricks or mortar, so they use sticks and mud to build houses, which are constantly in need of repair.

But with BYU's interlocking Lego-like blocks, Kenyans can now build homes that are cheaper, safer and mortar-less.

Eliminating mortar drops the home's price about 30 percent, from $2,000 to around $1,400, said team leader Emily Savage.

The bricks can also be created in one- or two-block segments to allow for easy corner, window and interior wall creation as well as the addition of utility lines.

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