Search our website
Birdfeed

Schedule for the 2014 Season of the Internship in Vernacular Eco-architecture

This page is for the reference of the interns participating in the Internship in Vernacular Eco-architecture at Dharmalaya Institute in 2014. Some of the events and activities listed here are reserved only for interns who have been accepted formally in the Internship programme, while others are open to others as well.

Please note that all the details here (including dates, locations, activities, costs, etc.) are subject to change depending on circumstances, but this should give you a general idea of what to expect and how to plan. So, before finalising your plans, check this page again to see if anything has changed.

In particular, it’s important to remember that the first priority of the interns is attending to the needs of the Dharmalaya Institute and its project partners, so keep in mind that the schedule could be changed at any point if something arises for which assistance is needed, and interns are expected to be flexible and adapt to the changes.

A note on costs: Where there are special tuition fees or other expenses for a specific programme or event, we will post those here (to the best of our knowledge) so that you can budget accordingly.

 

4-15 March: Orientation at Dharmalaya Institute in Bir 

All interns will report to the Dharmalaya Institute at 2:00pm on 4 March. Please plan to arrive in Bir by 3 March at the latest, so you can spend a night in Bir, freshen up and have your lunch in Bir the next day, and then you can take a taxi at 1:30pm in order to be at Dharmalaya at 2:00pm on 4 March.  We’ll have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion.


The group will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the first two weeks of the programme for an orientation and training period. During this time, we will provide a general overview of a programme, and we will also get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on the three earthen structures that are in various stage of construction. Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.

 

16-28 March: Special Programme at Sambhaavnaa Institute in Kandbari (and Possibly Other of Didi Contractor’s Sites)

During this period, the interns will see a variety of approaches to ecological design and green building, and have the opportunity to pay attention to the ways in which buildings are designed for the specific characteristics of their unique sites. The group will shift to Kandbari on 15 March and, depending on circumstances, might remain there for two weeks, or might shift to another of Didi Contractor’s project sites, depending on needs.

Costs: Various, depending on where you’ll be staying. We are unable to predict these costs since they are outside our control, but you should budget about the same as you would when travelling elsewhere in India.

 

29 March - 4 April: Free Week

For these week, there will be no work and interns will be free to explore the area (perhaps to see more of Bir or visit Dharamshala or another place of interest) and pay attention to the architecture and the ways of life of the local people (and we will discuss your observations after your return to Dharmalaya).

Costs: Depends on which option. The Dharmalaya work retreat has fixed fees (info here), and the other possibilities would be for the interns to arrange either independently or as a group.

 

5-30 April: Work Period at Dharmalaya Institute

Starting 5 April, all the interns will return to Dharmalaya and remain there most of the month, with possible occasional visits to other sites. During this time, the focus will be learning the different techniques of earthen building in this region, including adobe (mud bricks), bamboo, stone, and more. We will also do some natural landscaping and organic gardening, so depending on circumstances, there may be opportunities for those with a particular passion or preference to pick an activity to focus on (keeping in mind that the first priority is always the needs of the site).

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.

 

1-10 May: Orientation for New Interns at Dharmalaya Institute in Bir (and Continuing Work for Existing Interns)

New interns will report to the Dharmalaya Institute at 2:00pm on 1 May. Please plan to arrive in Bir by 30 April at the latest, so you can spend a night in Bir, freshen up and have your lunch in Bir the next day, and then you can take a taxi at 1:30pm in order to be at Dharmalaya at 2:00pm.  We’ll have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion.

The group will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the first ten days of the programme for an orientation and intensive training period (see this page for details). During this time, we will provide a general overview of a programme, and we will also get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on the three earthen structures that are in various stage of construction. Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual.

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for the ten-day intensive training because we are inviting special guest teachers. The fee for the public is Rs 1500 per day, but there will be a 50% discount for our interns, meaning the fee will be Rs 750 per day including food and lodging. After that, no special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya. 


11 May - 30 June: Work Period at Dharmalaya Institute

For the last few weeks before the monsoon rains begin, the focus will be on roofing and weatherproofing the new building so it will be protected from the rains. The work will probably include bamboo and slate, as well as mud plaster and possibly other things. We will also do some water flow management in preparation for the monsoon. All interns will remain at Dharmalaya most of the month, with possible brief visits to other sites. 

Please note that the rains typically begin sometime in mid-June, so the second half of the month may be less pleasant, and the focus might shift to interior work. If you need to stay later in June to fulfill your academic requirements, you are welcome to stay, but otherwise you might consider planning to leave after 15 June.

Costs: No special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya.

 

July through September: Monsoon Season

During July, August, and September, it is extremeley wet in this region. While it is possible to do interior work during the monsoon, we do not recommend planning to do your internship at this time due to the weather (which, among other things, makes coming and going from Dharmalaya more difficult and unpleasant). If your academic schedule requires you to do internship work during this time period, then you can contact us and explain your situation and we will see if we can find an appropriate solution for you (but there is no guarantee, so please don’t plan on it without discussing it with us first).

 

October through December: Work for Interns Resumes at Dharmalaya Institute


15-24 October: Orientation for New Interns at Dharmalaya Institute in Bir (and Continuing Work for Existing Interns)

New interns will report to the Dharmalaya Institute at 10:00am on 15 October. Please plan to arrive in Bir by 14 October at the latest, so you can spend a night in Bir, freshen up and have your breakfast in Bir the next day, and then you can take a taxi at 9:30am in order to be at Dharmalaya at 10:00am. We’ll have a welcome meeting, introductions, and a tour of the campus, with time for questions and discussion.

The group will remain at the Dharmalaya Institute for the first ten days of the programme for an orientation and intensive training period (see this page for details). During this time, we will provide a general overview of a programme, and we will also get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on the three earthen structures that are in various stage of construction. Interns who joined the programme earlier will help to orient and train the newly arriving interns, and will continue working as usual.

Costs: There will be a tuition fee for the special, ten-day intensive training. The fee for the general public is Rs 1200 per day, but there will be a 50% discount for our interns, meaning the fee will be Rs 600 per day including food and lodging. 


26 October - 15 December: Post-orientation Work Period at Dharmalaya Institute (and possibly other sites)

From 26 October, interns will have opportunities to continue hands-on learning by participating in the work going on at Dharmalaya, with possible occasional visits to other sites, depending on circumstances and needs. During this time, the focus will be learning the different techniques of earthen building in this region, including adobe (mud bricks), bamboo, stone, and more. We will also do some natural landscaping and organic gardening, so depending on circumstances, there may be opportunities for those with a particular passion or preference to pick an activity to focus on (keeping in mind that the first priority is always the needs of the site).

If you wish to continue beyond 15 December, let us know and we may be able to arrange for you to stay on at Dharmalaya and keep working, but please be aware that it may become quite cold starting in the second half December. Otherwise, another option might be to take a break for the winter and return in early March, if you have been approved for a long-term internship.

Costs: While staying at Dharmalaya for the post-orientation work period, there will be no special tuition fees; just the normal costs for food and lodging at Dharmalaya. Please note, however, that if you are posted to another site for a time, the costs will vary depending on where you’ll be staying. We are unable to predict these costs since they are outside our control, but you should budget about the same as you would when travelling elsewhere in India.


2015 Schedule

You can preview the tentative schedule for 2015 here. Please note that it is very preliminary and likely to change.


***

General Information

Below is a list of possible topics for discussion during some of the evening programmes:

  • Why we do things the way we do, and the consequences of the conventional approaches
  • How work actually happens on a rural site, as contrasted with urban projects
  • The challenges of building good bridges between the architect (design) and the builders (manifestation)
  • The real-world context in which this work is happening, including historical, socio-economic, political, gender, etc.
  • What each of them dreams of doing/being
  • How to make a living as an eco-architect in modern India
  • How to work with different kinds of clients
  • How to design collaboratively (cooperation v. competition)
  • What else? Feel free to suggest other ideas of special interest to you.


We will also make time periodically to get feedback from all interns about your experiences in the programme, which is an important part of the process.