A most interesting developement in architecture for the people: engineer and students demonstrate that an innovative design of cheap home built mostly of straw bales can withstand earthquakes near the top of the Ritcher scale, with almost no damage.
The design is intended for the people of the Hindu Kush area, where earthquakes are common. While inspired in local techniques, the house does not use straw bales only for insulation but actually for the very structure of the building. The cimentation is made of sacks of gravel, another cheap readily available material and the walls are covered with clay plaster, similarly easy to obtain.
The result is an extremely resistent home that, subject to an extremely violent artificial earthquake survived with just a small crack in the plaster.
After the earthquake... just a crack.
The project by the University of Reno, Nevada, aims to offer cheap but earthquake-proof homes for the people of Kashmir, where recent earthquakes wroke havoc.
So good for the old brickmakers' propaganda stories: straw stands best in fact.