Traditional construction in the Kathmandu valley was mainly in adobe. In recent years this has been overshadowed by poorly designed and constructed brick and concrete buildings. At Matoghar, traditional materials with contemporary techniques have been combined to achieve a modern, climate responsive and earthquake resilient design.

Studio Name: Prabal Thapa Architects
Design Team:  Hemendra Bohra, Prabal Thapa
Area: Residence 2560 sq ft
Year: 2011
Location: Budhanilkantha, Kathmandu Nepal
Photography Credits: Prabal Thapa

Matoghar by Prabal Thapa Architects - Sheet2
©Prabal Thapa

This three bedroom single storey building was built in rammed earth and bamboo roof elements. It is uses 25 percent less embodied energy than conventional construction methods yet offers better thermal and acoustic properties at the same unit cost for construction.


  • rammed earth
  • passive solar design.
  • Self sustaining design on day to day energy
  • Natural cross-ventilation.
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Water treatment for reuse of grey water for gardening and
Matoghar by Prabal Thapa Architects - Sheet3
©Prabal Thapa
  • Stone foundation is laid above which concrete beam is cast for damp-proofing.
  • 18 “Thick rammed earth Wall mixture of 70% sand and 30% clay is Red clay selected for good colour, binding property and texture.
  • Insulation and ventilation in roof
  • Cob flooring finishes with floor
  • Double glazed doors and
  • Precast slabs on sill (rear walls) and lintels for structural


  • January 2013(winter) – early morning :
  • Outside temperature: Below 0° C
  • Inside temperature: 18 °C
  • May 2013 (summer)- mid afternoon :
  • Outside temperature: Above 30°C
  • Inside temperature: 23 °C (with top ventilation slightly open)
Matoghar by Prabal Thapa Architects - Sheet4
©Prabal Thapa

A holistic approach to sustainability has been considered for the building as well as the property.

  1. Use of Passive Solar Strategies
  2. Climate Responsive Design:
    1. Temperature control through natural ventilation
    2. Insulated flooring and roofing
    3. Double glazed insulated UPVC openings
  3. rammed earth construction (unstabilized)
    1. Earth mostly sourced from within the property
  4. Rain water harvesting and ground water recharge
  5. waste water management and recycling
  6. Earthquake resilient design
  7. Off the grid residence Solar cells for electricity and Solar water heating
  8. Minimization of sanitary units and plumbing lines
  9. Permaculture
  10. Use of raw linseed oil and shellac for
  11. Topsoil removed stored and replaced after completion

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