María Apud Bell


Affordable building blocks for Chile / PROTOTYPE


Cochablocks are a light, insulating and strong building material made out of Cochayuyo seaweed. They provide an alternative to other prefabricated materials and can be used to upgrade from emergency houses and also for housing expansions. They are easily assembled, provide thermal insulation, have elastic properties (key for a seismic country) and require no mortar. 


Cochayuyo is an undervalued chilean food that is collected and processed by individuals that have an undervalued, labour intense and risky job. Cochablocks empowers them to manufacture a product with higher added value.


Multiple tests were performed on this seaweed until high compressive strength and insulating properties were discovered. This allowed the development of further tests and Cochablock's physical properties where analysed at Imperial College of London Engineering Laboratories. It competes in strength with adobe and hand-made clay bricks, provides better insulating properties and has a very low density.