Kolkata-based architect Laurent Fournier tells how ceilings can float and why bamboo-reed-mud make more sense than brick-concrete-steel.

: At least six persons were killed due to a landslide at Norton Bridge in Hatton of Sri Lanka's hill country, Disaster Management Centre said.

According to the Norton Bridge police the landslide occurred near the police station early this morning due to torrential rains.

Disaster Management Centre said a house in the area had been buried in the landslide.

Dry soil is powdered, sieved and mixed with straw, lime and natural adhesives. It is then pounded into an even mixture manually or by having bullocks tread over the mixture. The damp soil mixture is compressed into blocks and put in between wood planks. The blocks are compacted manually or with machines. When the planks are removed, the wall section remains standing and is allowed to

The two-storey house Futane built is spread over 2,200 sq feet and cost just Rs 3 lakh, that is Rs 137 per sq foot. A similar sized single storey structure in brick and cement mortar would have cost him Rs 8.8 lakh or Rs 400 per sq foot, three times more costly.

Organic farmer in Vidarbha turns mud into durable houses He trained to be an engineer. He believes in Sarvodaya, the

Scientists attempt to understand mud volcano

Lusi, as Indonesians call the mudflow, is one of the more bizarre expressions of Indonesia's geologic turmoil. Since May 2006, it has spewed millions of barrels of heated sludge, blanketing an area twice the size of New York City's Central Park. Villages have disappeared under the mud, 60 feet (18 meters) deep in places, and 10,000 families have been forced from their homes. So far, according to an IMF estimate, the catastrophe has cost Indonesia 3.7 billion dollars

After struggling for nine months with hot torrents of mud, Indonesian officials are now experimenting with a new strategy to contain the noxious matter. In the last week of February, they dropped

• Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo has reinstated three senior civil servants, suspended for their involvement in the dumping of toxic wastes around the capital city of Abidjan, in September

Fly ash presents an alternative to the polluting burnt bricks