Tuesday, September 23, 2008


In short, staff "...developed their understanding about Accessible and Energy-Efficient construction, about Project Management principles, like time management and team planning, about Site Analysis and Architectural Project Planning, how to organise client meetings and briefings, and how to research and write architectural programme briefs for projects."
(see Change - 434 words)

The stated project aims were
1. Support and develop the skills of teachers in the college
2. Teach architecture to architecture students
3. Cooperate on development of the architecture and construction professions in Mongolia
4. Encourage teachers and students to learn English as a tool for professional development
5. Assist in the developing the architecture profession.."
(see the Report -1929 words)

CTC (pictures)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nomadologist milestone

Upon arrival at Pudong Airport, I will have completed my journey from London to the 'Far East', via Ulaanbaatar, which started in July last year. Travelling by train halfway across the world has been a great personal and developmental journey.

The year working on architectural education in central Asia, and learning about and practicing 'international development' is fresh in my mind, and I do not yet know what it will all mean in the long term. I have seen some interesting job opportunities and been offered work on an RIBA project for a week. A new research project on public space in London also caught my attention. I am thinking about how to bring my experience to bear in my future work, and have promised to report reflections on this to VSO one year hence.

"You have achieved nothing" - the farewell from the drunken Director of the college on the day before I left - still irks me, although I know it was meant 'ironically'. I was pleased that an experienced and highly capable Mongolian colleague, someone who is at arms length from the college, has kindly undertaken to translate the final report and my 'significant change' story. But the language alone will not convey the messages of the report to the 'stakeholders'. Understandably, they will be reluctant to consider the implications of sustained investment- much needed time planning, staff development and pursuing processes of organisational change, as they are busy in the everyday life of teaching (and administering) in a growing college, and finishing construction of the new college building.

Correspondents and colleagues have recently written to me and supported the blog project and I look forward to seeing what can come from it. As I leave for a visit to my birthplace, I am reading 'Wolf Totem', a novel about Mongolia which brings ancient layers of animal myth and nomadic practices into focus. With my recent experience I am able to continue learning more about the sedentary and nomadic ways of life and survival.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Accessible, Mobile in China

After passing paralympian tourists circling the Forbidden City (pic) on my bicycle in Beijing, I am in Shanghai, a city of 15-20 million whose sheer population density prompts amazing adaptations for mobility of the most diverse modes of transport of goods through the city. The subway system is incredibly complex and the bicycle seems to be for traffic experts, so I have been riding in taxis, trying to comprehend this city's 'urbanatomy'. I visited the Urban Planning museum (Youtube) with its enormous model of Shanghai. The form and the presentations are mostly spectacular, but I wonder about the real cultural processes of renewal, regeneration and 'development' here. I thought perhaps I might take to the river, for another perspective.

After leaving landlocked Mongolia, I have also just read, on Tour Watch, of some soon-to-be published "Waypoint - Backstrom" Principles for accessible maritime architecture, and it reminded me of architects' role in widening the accessibility of environments, not only on land in the developing world but also on water. I enjoyed sailing on the Swan River on my last visit to my home town Perth, where I will visit again this month.

Excerpt from the Waypoint - Backstrom Principles:
1) Begin with Universal Design
The principles of Universal Design are an essential element of seaworthiness. Assumptions of the abilities (physical, mental, or sensory functionality) of crew or passengers as constant over time in any single individual or uniform throughout the population of owners and users of the watercraft throughout its lifespan are to be questioned.

2) Design for Self-Sufficiency
Watercraft are the insertion of a terrestrial into a maritime environment. Pay attention to both social sustainability (Universal Design) and environmental sustainability (green design).

3) Design for Extraordinary Conditions
Maritime practice traditionally assigns clearly-defined shipboard roles and responsibilities. Design assumptions follow. Assumptions about the abilities (physical, mental, or sensory) of the idealized role-holder as they are designed into products, spaces, and practices may prove to be disastrous in emergency situations.

4) Design for Modularity and Revision
While a core tenet of Universal Design is that the design be sufficient "without special or separate design" the frequency of maintenance necessary for watercraft, especially in a saltwater environment, leads to frequent opportunities for upgrade to accommodate the range of abilities in crew and passengers.

5) Design for Seamless Intermodal Transfer
Sophisticated and efficient systems have been developed to load and unload watercraft, haul them ashore, or transport them.

- see Tour Watch
more information:
The Rolling Rains Report
Dr. Scott Rains, Consultant, San Jose, CA srains@oco.net ,
Sherri Backstrom, Director Waypoint Yacht Charter Services
4648 Lakeway Drive Bellingham, WA 98229

After Mongolia, I have again been appreciating bicycles - a simple and ingenious form of urban transport ;
Some links -
Recently featured in AJ, The Architects Journal
Alex Moulton, creator of Moulton Bicycles a favourite of Reyner Banham and Norman Foster and
Improving London's Bicycle Spaces - an ideas competition
and from Banff's Art Centre; Art on a Bicycle
Songbike - Touring Banff on a bicycle

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Forbidden City

I read some of Master Chu's 'homilies for families' while in UB, preparing for China. Recently, arriving in Beijing, I also read this, cited in Sidh Sintusingha's noteworthy editorial musings for Architects for Peace; "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." (Olympic creed, Pierre de Coubertin) At AfP I also read great news of Sonya Redman's (UNSW) Berkeley Essay Prize win for 'Shaping Identity and Place in Australian Indigenous Housing'.) I read about the list of schools participating in the World Architecture Festival, originally billed as the 'ten of the world's best'. I don't quite understand the criteria for this little league table when I see the list; Bartlett, University College of London (UK); Hafencuty Universitat (Germany) -sic; School of Design and Environment (Singapore); Ravensbourne College (UK); Kazan Architectural University (Russia); Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad CEU San Pablo (Spain) (..six schools, not ten...)

Anyway, I am glad I didn't come to Beijing for the Olympic Games, but I feel like I have fought well for the past year, albeit in a far less glamorous way. The city seems relaxed in the calm after the games and in the lead up to the paralympics. I even feel slightly guilty for enjoying the effortless architectural informality of the labyrinthine Beijing Hutongs. In my mind I have been trying to compare them to the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar... Meanwhile I have been to see the Ancient Architecture Museum in Beijing, and the spectacular 'Birdsnest' Stadium, photographed across a highway. I feel 'philosophical' about the year in Mongolia and have made my first speaking appointment to talk about it near Perth on the first of October.

I have realised the old city and the new city of Beijing are at loggerheads, as I experienced while circumnavigating an enormous city block 'under renewal' on foot - in order to get to the beautiful Ancient Architecture Museum, walled deep inside the super-block. Using the internet here makes for another wearying experience, waiting for the many filters and firewalls to check through every site I request. I'm going back to the Hutongs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Significant Change

Architect Teacher Trainer; Small, Significant Change

In the VSO placement with the Mongolian Construction Technology College, development occurred in small but hopefully valuable ways. I was consulted relatively autonomously by the Mongolian Construction Ministry, Mongolian Wheelchair Citizens (МТИХ), World Vision (Bayankhoshuu), and the Gender Centre for Sustainable Development in the 8th Khoroo. But the two live architectural projects we undertook collaboratively in the college, in Sanzai and Yarmag, provided the most concrete opportunities for training architect teachers. The work can potentially have a long term impact with the existing teachers - Bolormaa, Tsenguune, Ariunaa, Hashbayar - and new teachers, Lhagva and Gursed (with their students Delger-Dalai and Tumen Od). The former developed their understanding about Accessible and Energy-Efficient construction, about Project Management principles, like time management and team planning, about Site Analysis and Architectural Project Planning, how to organise client meetings and briefings, and how to research and write architectural programme briefs for projects.

I feel confident that with support from the college, the teachers, Bolormaa, Tsenguune, Ariunaa, and Hashbayar will be able to continue the training we commenced over the past year in
- teaching research,
- languages for internationalisation,
- CV clinics, and
- internet based tools (flickr, blogging, google earth, wikipedia)
apploied to architectural and construction education.

Teachers Bolormaa and Tsengel-Oyun assisted in training with Suvdmaa (English teacher) and Bolortsetseg (Architect teacher) from the Technical and Technology College (TTC) in comparatively mapping degree curricula respectively of MCTC and TTC. This will develop ownership of architecture degree curricula in Ulaanbaatar which will need major reworking in the coming years. The latter college has recently applied to work with VSO. I would strongly encourage these people to continue to work together on professional development, and in future to extend their knowledge to develop the Mongolian Association of Architects.

New teachers have been recruited to MCTC and these will need guidance and encouragement in their professional development from the above trained teachers. I recommend the staff continue to work with Rob van Waardenburg VSO and that new consultants or volunteers will continue the professional development work for which the college and teachers should have ownership and be proud.

The college has been building a new five storey classroom building in the 21st district, with students labouring as practical trainees. The directors and architects agreed in January - among other suggested design and safety improvements - to make the basement and first (ground) levels wheelchair/barrow accessible by ramps. Access to construction and architectural education will not only be physically improved in this case, but also a process has begun for more participative and inclusive building design and college management.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


As a reward for enduring a year in Ulaanbaatar, we made a trip to see Tsambagarav in Mongolia's Altai mountains in the remote west. Flying in to Khovd over the mountains, I read Sunand Prasad's piece about the UIA (International Union of Architects) and remembered that my Mongolian colleagues (Dagshigdorj et al of the Mongolian Association of Architects) visiting UIA Turin had declined an invitation to attend a RIBA reception in my stead - at a beautiful 16th century Palazzo there. Thinking of their reluctance reminded me of my work, my final report in progress and exit interview on the 27th.

After driving by jeep past the impressive snow-capped Tsambagarav (4400m) to stay in a Khazak Mongolian family Ger, I noticed the family's work programme. Six hours of each day - 5am-8am and 5pm-8pm - spent milking thirty yaks for about 100 litres of milk, from which they make various cheeses, curds and yogurt. Yak wool/hair and crafts supplement the income from the milk products. I enjoyed the evening meal "five fingers" of dried and boiled yak meat mixed with pasta sheets just made by a ten year old girl. Delicious yoghurt followed. By the light of a single solar powered lamp in the Ger, I flicked through the letters of RIBA Journal, reading Iain Borden defend the Bartlett, then a review of "Instant Cities".

After giving the farmer host and his saddle a lift to a valley where he thought he might find his horse, we travelled north and stayed a night with another Khazak family in a Ger by a river near Altantsogs village, where thirty goats were milked once a day to produce 18 litres. While I was relaxing in the ger, a farmer slaughtered a goat outside the door and then unexpectedly brought it in to hang in our ger for butchering. A slightly threatening old man - a drunken Khazak relative - argued with me in Mongolian that Australia had been part of Germany. (In vain I painstakingly distinguished Austria from Australia)

Staying in Olgii town centre's 'Green Garden' Ger Park with its delightful gardens provided an opportunity to unwind. It was the farthest point from UB. Reconvening in our ger with two German trans-Mongolia cyclists we had earlier seen climbing Tsambagarav, two Spanish cyclists (project) from the Turkish restaurant and a backpacking English kindy teacher from UB joined in for a little spontaneous party.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Slow Travel

After arriving by train from London to Ulaanbaatar a year to the day before starting this blog entry, I was reflecting on slow travel, slow food, slow development and slow tourism in Mongolia. After the exhausting return from Arkhangai 'Art Camp' on a jolting 11 hour bus ride from Tsetserleg, it was a joy to take the night train to Erdenet, shortening the bus trip to Lake Hovsgol. Our cabin mate Gankhuyag turned out to be a (hearing) Mongolian Sign Language teacher. After wandering around Erdenet (10km from the station), we waited four hours for the bus to Mөrөn at the market and took the 15 hour journey. Somewhere by a roadside, as we took a 'comfort stop' in the green mountains by a river, a man on a bicycle held a fish aloft by his ger. I walked over and he showed me his catch of large trout and smaller fish, cleaned and silky to touch. Hours passed in the darkness until we (25 passengers and driver) stopped for 'Tsiuvan' (noodles) at a 'Guanz' eatery with one solar powered bulb. Everyone dozed on the bus rocking through the night, the fat brown farmer next to me leaning on me and nodding off to sleep.

After dawn in Mөrөn, we had a shower at a Batgaal's Ger guesthouse "5-8-7" and lay down for a couple of hours. Later we shared a car with two French tourists, mother and daughter, to Khatgal at the edge of Lake Khatgal. We borrowed bicycles from some local lads. Looking for air for a tyre at the local petrol station, it being a hand-pump affair, the proprietor (of 25 years) took me to her ger nearby, and her husband improvised a way of inflating the tyre.

In the past year I have gained a lot of experience of slowness. Speaking Mongolian has been a slow but rewarding process, but in the countryside slowness is emphasised: seeing the simple and slow way food is often hand-reared and prepared, seeing each joint of boiled mutton apportioned among a party, feeling every bump and creek crossing on the roads, boiling each cup of river water for tea. The hot shower at "5-8-7" was operated by the guest house owner, who boils a pot of water over a fire, then pours it into a tank on the roof of the shower house, mixing it to the right temperature.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

XanaduArt Camp with "Blue Sun"

I arrived as requested at dawn at the 'Art Studio' in an apparently abandoned building in the industrial west of UB. No one stirred until 7am. Then, while waiting until after 9am for our departure, three of us made a foray to the abandoned Khotsh Bank nearby, and charmed the guard, as he awoke, and gave us a secret tour of this intriguing building, with gallery and sports hall.

The details of the Arkhangai tour became clearer as two Russian ''Пургон" jeeps with drivers appeared and fifteen of us set off toward Khar Khorin in Ovorkhangai. An itinerary was produced, then verbally modified. After camping by the river in Khar Khorin and visiting Erdene Zuu monastery, we drove to Suvragakhairkhain, Chandmanikhairkhain, and the beautiful Tovkhon Monastery. Before camping by a river, a sheep was procured from a family and prepared. I drew, most others painted, sketched, sang and smoked.

Gradually, over three days, we progressed from eating the blood filled intestines and "Гийдэс" of the sheep to various other boiled, smoked, and barbecued parts of the sheep, culminating around the campfire one evening, as leader, Mashbat, presented each person by name with a selected named joint of meat. I somehow followed in Mongolian.

After we reached Tsetserleg, the province centre, I spent a day alone drawing the monastery and other buildings there, and the next morning, began the 11 hour bus ride over dirt racks pitching and jolting my way back to UB.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Going Bush

This coming week I will join a group of Mongolian Artists from the Blue Sun group, and my two previously mentioned visiting collegues, on an 'Art Camp' in Arkhangai.

Машбат, Далх-Очир, Бат-Зориг, Бат-Холбоо Од-Гэрэл, Ганбаатар, Энхболд, Бадраал, Орхон, Авид, Өсөх Баяр, Анхцэцэг and Магнай with Ana and Annu, will be my travelling companions in two Russian Пургон jeeps over 2200km.

After a long discussion about food and accommodation today, the financial arrangements seem clearer. Машка jokes about 'communism'. But many aspects of the trip remain "sketchy". Have sketchbook, will travel - watch this space.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


In my role as architect teacher trainer at the Mongolian Construction Technology College, from 18.08.2007 to 28.08.2008, (VSO placement number 784033) the agreed project aims were to;
1. Support and develop the skills of teachers in the college
2. Teach architecture to architecture students
3. Cooperate on development of the architecture and construction professions in Mongolia
4. Encourage teachers and students to learn English as a tool for professional development
5. Assist in the developing the architecture profession

Key Dates
20 Aug Began Language training and In-Country training/orientation
24 Sep Began work at College
27 Sep Architecture Staff Meeting 10 staff attended
16 Nov Staff Continuing Professional Development training CPD 1; postponed
07 Dec Staff Continuing Professional Development training CPD 2; 13 staff attended
14 Jan Architecture Subject Curriculum Development, Prof. Dagshigdorj
18-20 Feb State Construction College assisting Asia-Pacific Accreditation annd Certification Council (APACC) accreditation submission
June- Curriculum analysis workshops
July- Participatory Teaching Methods Training for staff, several attended
January-August; Live Projects, with two teacher trainers, two architect teacher trainees and four students
Eco-Houses Selbe Khadad Sanzai and
Conference-Hotel-Childrens Camp Yarmag
August- Art Camp Arkhangai with several Mongolian professional artists
and recreational leave in Huvsgul, Khovd, and Ulgii

In order of the above aims, the main outcomes are described as follows;

1. Support and develop the skills of teachers in the college;
(Коллэжийн Багш нарын ур чадвар, арга барилыг дээшлүүлэх сургалт, сэминаруудыг зохион явуулах) see Mongolian below.

Working with staff at the college, Rob van Waardenburg VSO construction adviser and teacher trainer had prepared the college very effectively before my arrival. Working in coordination with Rob, my aim of supporting the teachers' development was continually pursued through the year, including during most of the summer recess, and some progress was achieved. I worked within and also beyond the MCTC; I collaborated with and assisted MUST, State Construction College ("4-zam"), Darkhan Orgoo, Darkhan Vocational Training Centre, and the Technical and Technology College (UB), and advised the Construction Ministry on Human Resource Development in construction.

The strongest participants in my work with MCTC were G. Ariunaa, D. Bolormaa, Tsengel-Oyun (Tsenguune), new teachers Gursed and Lkhagva, and co-director / counterpart Hashbayar. Prof. Dagshigdorj, a senior teacher and member of the architecture profession who initally showed interest in working together with me later had very limited time and interest, and teachers Densmaa and Enkhtungalag found limited time for developing their professional skills. Seminars and informal training sessions for staff were held in December, January, February, March, April and also July, with attendances between one and twenty people.

For example, training was held for teachers in using the Internet as a research tool for finding teaching materials e.g. in the English language. Some techniques discussed were taken up by Tormandakh, Enkhbold and Enkhzaya (Venturi VVH text analysis) Training was continued with English teachers, developing teaching materials for English teaching. English teachers Enkhzaya, Enkhbold und Boloorma successfully facilitated the staff training with my support on Fri 7 December. Enkhzaya developed her skills quickly and in February gained a better paid job at the state construction college.

In early June I arranged a joint training seminar on course structures between our college and the Technical and Technology College architecture teachers. This was useful in mapping the courses and analysing the subject teaching components streams and continuity, opening the possibility for architecture teachers to gain an overview of the curriculum and undertake curriculum development.

From January to August a 'live project' approach was adopted, to run three real ('live') architectural design projects with a multi-disciplinary group of staff in a team;
i. World Vision Bayankhoshuu,
ii. Eco Houses in Selbe Khadat, Sanzai (Sukhbaatar District) and
iii. Conference Hotel Childrens Resort in Yarmag (Bogd Uul)
These projects were a good way to support and develop skills of teachers and construction professionals, and to train train new architecture teachers ursed and Lkhagva. Although the first project was initially well organised, the consultant Myagmarsuren's work was not used effectively and the partner NGO unable to continue.

The latter two projects, for private developers, were pursued with a delicate balance between a traditional 'pattern book' approach to drafting service and a more participatory and investigative approach to professionally developing the work teams, by exploring up to date site analysis and design generation methodologies, which take into account environmental awareness, universal accessibility, and client options and feedback cycles. In these projects, Ariunaa, Bolormaa and Tsenguune helped train newly qualified architecture graduates Gursed and Lkagva as team leaders, with students Delger-Dalai, Tumen-Od, Uyanga and Tumen-Gerel. Hashbayar assisted the live project financially and logistically. All participants learned a great deal about process in architectural design, and improved energy efficiency / ecological sustainability, accessibility, effective site analysis and architectural programming were all broached.

2. Teach architecture to architecture students - especially Diploma students completing in 2008.
(Архитэкторч мэргэжлээр суралцаж буй оюуутнуудад архитэкторын хичээл заах)

The architecture three year bachelor course curriculum was analysed early in the placement and it was discovered that the structure, similar to all such courses in Mongolia, is primarily technical and lacking in cultural design and synthetic- design studio- live project approaches typical of international undergraduuate building design and 'Part 1' courses.

Within the limitations of the technically oriented curriculum, assessment means were discussed and it was agreed examination and attendance might be complemented with more assignments, workshops, excursions etc as assessable knowledge indicators. Participatory teaching methods were felt lacking in the college, and a series of workshops on these were held with Tsenguune and Bolormaa, who I recommend should help to train the 25 newly recruited teachers due to commence in September.

The architecture final year diploma students I supervised gained some benefit, although their attendance and committment levels were erratic and insufficient. Diploma students Nerentsetseg, Oranbileg & Khanburged all failed to attend agreed lesson appointments and I helped others, particularly Gursed and Lkhagva and their studio colleagues. The local 'canon' of teaching materials (eg Neufert Architects Data, Russian Edition 1965) was identified in November as requiring revision and updating, however experienced staff (Prof Dagshidorj, who advised on Bat Od. 2005 rev 2007) expressed reluctance to review the canonisation of this textbook. The use of the Mongolian accessibility norm MN 31.101.04 and Construction Ministry expertise (Mongolian Energy Efficient and Accessible Pattern School - with GTZ) were resisted or ignored by staff. Relevant new literature (Bat Od. 2005 rev 2007, Ching 2006, internet based resources etc. - some in Mongolian, some in English and German) were introduced, and dynamic young staff showed interest in developing material based on K. Do et al 2006, as well as local senior Mongolian students' work, and the College's own live projects. Two graduates, Lkhagva and Gursed began training as architect - teachers.

3. Cooperate on development of the architecture and construction professions in Mongolia -
(Тус сургуулийн хамтран ажиллагч байгуулаг түүншүүдэд зөвлөгөө өгөх )

After initially working with Professor Dagshigdorj, establishing a context from his senior architect perspective, I also met some other professionals (Amgalan Sukhbaatar, Munkhzhul Choiljiljav, Purev-Erdene Ershuu) and gained an appreciation of the outlook of newer practitioners of architecture in Mongolia. In November I met with a representative board member of the Mongolian Association/Union of Architects, Purev-Erdene Ershuu, lecturer and architect, at the Centre for Architecture and Design Research. This Centre had been in involved in a conference called The Current Situation of Ger Area in Ulaanbaatar City in 2007 which suggests some research activity and international collaboration on Urban and architectural development in Mongolia. However the Mongolian Association/Union of Architects, or architectural association of Mongolia, would not cooperate with Prof Dagshigdorj's idea of holding a meeting, nor was it able to provide any information about the need to develop the association. Colleagues in the fields of Contemporary Art, International Development, Disability Rights, Health, and Non-Government Organisations Sectors concurred that there was difficulty contacting or working with any Mongolian Association/Union of Architects, or association of Mongolian architects. I offered to provide international introductions and to support developing means of extracurricular professional development for Mongolian architects Prof Dagshigdorj, E. Purev-Erdene, N. Tormandakh and others.

In the recent UIA (International Union of Architects) meeting apparently to be attended by Dagshigdorj and others from Mongolia, my invitation arrange a meeting with RIBA delegates at a reception there was declined. RIBA also recently became more closely involved in the UIA system of international validation of architectural education.

As I advised the Mongoian Construction Ministry in December, I would encourage the Mongolian Architects Association to build its profile for professional development for Mongolian professionals, and to internationalise to serve the advancement of the profession in Mongolia.

4. Encourage teachers and students to learn English as a tool for professional development -
(С Д М багш оюуутнуудын англи хэлий мэдлэгийг дээшлүүлэхэд дэшжиж ажиллах)

Teachers and colleagues with whom I worked regularly benefited, including many national volunteers attending the English Speakers' Club, informally established with English Teacher volunteer Ruth Powell at the University of Humanities and my building neighbours' children, whom I taught English lessons voluntarily over twenty weeks.

The college administrators, directors and many teachers exclusively using Mongolian did not find time or interest to make use of the encouragement in English language usage. One first year (female) student called Lkhagva attended an English Walk and Talk in November at Chinggis Khuree with volunteers from the University of Humanities, and encouraged others to come to some lessons at the college. She also presented the walk and explained her motivation to learn English to teaching staff and college vice-director Hashbayar. I would like to see this kind of activity encouraged in the college, as the previous online and book-based Staff English training has been ineffective. Although senior staff Prof. Dagshigdorj and his assistant architect Enkhtungalag, like the college directors, do not show interest in using spoken English, many staff such as G. Ariunaa, D. Bolormaa, Tsengel-Oyun have developed advanced skills in spoken English, and there is potential for new teachers Gursed and Lkhagva, and college co-director / counterpart Hashbayar.

Conclusion; Small, Significant Change

Following some consulting with the Construction Ministry, World Vision and the Gender Centre for Sustainable Development in the 8th Khoroo, where counterparts did not benefit from participation, the live architectural projects (Sanzai and Yarmag) provided the most concrete exercise in the placement in terms of training architect teachers. This work will potentially have a long term impact with the existing teachers - Bolormaa, Tsenguune, Ariunaa, Hashbayar - and new teachers, Lhagva and Gursed (and in future maybe Delger-Dalai and Tumen Od?) The former learned about Accessible and Energy-Efficient construction, about Project Management principles like time planning, about Site Analysis and Architectural Project Planning, and how to organise client meetings and briefings, and how to research and write architectural programme briefs for projects.

I strongly encourage the teachers Bolormaa, Tsenguune, Ariunaa, and Hashbayar to continue the training we commenced over the past year in
- teaching research,
- languages for internationalisation,
- CV clinics, and
- internet based tools (powerpoint, flickr, blogging, google earth,wikipedia)
for architectural education.
Bolormaa and Tsenguune assisted in training Suvdmaa (English teacher) and Bolortsetseg (Architect Teacher) from the Technical and Technology College (TTC) in comparatively mapping degree curricula respectively of MCTC and TTC. The latter college has recently applied to work with VSO. I would strongly encourage these people to continue to work together on professional development and in future extend their skill sharing to the Mongolian Association of Architects.

I understand that about twenty new teachers have been recruited to MCTC and these will need guidance and encouragement in their professional development from the above trained teachers. I hope that the staff will continue to work with Rob van Waardenburg VSO and that new consultants or volunteers will continue the professional development work for which the college and teachers should have ownership and be proud.

The college, with labour of students as practical trainees, has been building a new classroom block. The directors and architects agreed in January - among other design improvements - to make the basement and first (ground) level wheelchair/barrow accessible. This approach to widening access to construction and architectural education is literal as well as setting the tone for more participative and inclusive college management.

Mongolian version

translation by courtesy of Ch. Munkhzul
note - special Mongolian font characters are missing

Томилолтын эцсийн тайлан (гар бичмэл)

ВСО-гийн 784033 тоотын дагуу, архитектор багш сургагч х_н намайг 2007.08.18-аас 2008.08.28ны хооронд Монгол Улсын Барилгын Технологийн Коллеж(МУБТК)- д томилж ажиллуулахдаа доорх зорилтуудыг хэрэгж__лэхээр харилцан тохиролцов:
1. Коллежийн багш нарынур чадварыг х_гж__лэхэд туслах
2. Архитектурын оюутнуудад архитектурын хичээл заах
3. Монгол Улсын барилга архитектурын мэргэжлийг х_гж__лэх зорилгоор хамтран ажиллах
4. Мэргэжлээ дээшл__лэхэд тус болж чадахуйц англи хэлний чадвар эзэмш__лэхэд дэм _з__лэх
5. Архитектурын мэргэжлийг х_гж__лэхэд туслах

Гол чухал _др__д
8-р сарын 20 Хэлний болон орон нутагт хийх сургалтаа эхлэв
9-р сарын 24 Коллеж дээр ажлаа эхлэв
9-р сарын 27 Архитектурын тэнхимийн уулзалт 10 х_нтэйгээр
11-р сарын 16 Тэнхимийн CPD 1 хойшлогдов
12-р сарын 7 Тэнхимийн CPD 2 хойшлогдов
1-р сарын 14 Архитектурын сэдэвт хичээлийг Дагшигдоржтой хамт
2-р сарын 18-20 State CC assisting APACC accreditation submission
6-р сар Хичээл т_л_вл_лт_нд д_н шинжилгээ хийх семинар
7-р сар Сургалтын арга барил семинар
1-8-р сар; Бодит Т_сл__д, Эко хаус Сэлбэ Хадад Санзай ба Бага хурал –Буудал –
Яармаг дахь Х__хдийн зуслан

8-р сар Архангай дахь урлагийн групп болон Х_всг_л, Ховд, _лгийг__р хийсэн аялал

Дээрх зорилтоос гарах _р д_нг доорх байдлаар тайлбарлавал:

1. Коллежийн багш нарын ур чадвар, арга барилыг дээшл__лэх сургалт,

ВСО-гийн ажилтан барилгын багш, сургагч Роб Ван Ваарденбург намайг ирэхээс _мн_ коллежид маш олон з_йлийг амжилттай хэрэгж__лж амжсан байв. Робийн хамтаар, багш нарыг х_гж__лэхэд туслах зорилго б_хий _йлс маань б_тэн жилийн турш, тэр дундаа зуны турш идэвхтэй _ргэлжилж зарим нэгэн амжилтыг дагуулсан билээ. Миний бие МУБТК- той хамтран ажиллахын сацуу ШУТИС, Барилгын Коллеж, Дархан _рг__, Дарханы Мэргэжлийн Сургалтын Т_в, Техник Технологийн Коллеж,УБ болон Барилгын яаманд Барилгын салбар дахь Х_ний Н__цийн Х_гжилд з_вл_г__ _гч, тусалж байв.

МУБТК-д хийсэн ажилд маань хамгийн их оролцож байсан х_м__с бол Г. Ариунаа, Д.Болормаа, Цэнгэл-Оюун(Цэнг__нээ), шинэ багш нар болох Г_рсэд, Лхагва, дэд захирал / хамтрагч Хашбаяр, ахлах багш буюу Монголын Архитекторуудын Эвлэлийн гиш__н профессор Дагшигдорж эхэн _едээ надтай хамтран ажиллах х_сэлтэй байгаагаа хэлж байсан хэдий ч хожим нь цаг болоод сонирхлын хувьд багасч хувирсан юм. М_н багш Дэнсмаа болон Энхтунгалаг нарт __рсдийн мэргэжил ур чадвараа х_гж__лэх цаг тун бага олдсон. Ажиллагсдад зориулсан семинар, мэдээллийн сургалтууд Арванхоёр, Нэг, Хоёр, Гурав, Д_р_в болон Долдугаар саруудад нэгээс хорин д_рв_н х_ний оролцоотойгоор зохиогдов.

Жишээлбэл энэх__ сургалтыг, багш нар хичээлийн холбогдолтой Англи хэл дээрх материалуудыг интернэтээр хайж сургах зорилготой зохион явуулсан. Зарим нэг арга барилуудын талаар Т_рмандах, Энхболд, Энхзаяа нартай ярилцсан. Уг сургалт маань Англи хэлний сургалттай холбоотой материалуудыг сайжруулах зорилгоор Англи хэлний багш нарт зориулж зохиогдсон. Англи хэлний багш Энхзаяа, Энхболд ба Болормаа нар Арванхоёрдугаар сарын 7-ны Баасан гаригт зохиогдсон сургалтыг амжилттай явуулах н_хцлийг б_рд__лж _гс_н байгаа. Энхзаяа __рийнх__ мэдлэгийг маш хурдан дээшл__лсэн б_г__д Хоёрдугаар сар гэхэд Улсын барилгын коллежид сайн цалинтай ажил олж авсан билээ.

Зургадугаар сарын эхээр, курсын б_тцийн талаар манай коллеж болон Техник Технологийн Коллежийн архитектурын багш нарын хооронд хамтарсан сургалт зохион явуулсан. Хичээлийг тоймлох, заах арга барилын талд д_н шинжилгээ хийх, _ргэлжл__лэх, хичээлийн програмыг ер_нхийд нь ойлгож авах бололцоо _гч, хичээлийн х_т_лб_р__дээ боловсронгуй болгоход нь тусалж _гсн__р__ их ач холбогдолтой байв.

Нэгээс Наймдугаар саруудад “бодит т_с_л” хийх оролдлого маань хэрэгжиж гурван бодит ('амьд') архитектур дизайны т_слийг олон янзын х_м__сээс б_рдсэн багуудтай хамтарч хэрэгж__лсэн. __нд:

i. Баян хошуун дахь Дэлхийн з_н,
ii. (СБД__ргийн) Сэлбэ, Хадат, Санзай дахь Эко Хаусууд
iii. Конференс зочид буудал, (Богд уул) Яармаг дахь х__хдийн зуслан
Эдгээр т_сл__д нь багш нар болон барилгын мэргэжилтн__дийн ур чадварыг х_гж__лж, дэмжихэд их тус болсон б_г__д залуу багш нар болох Г_рсэд, Лхагва нарын хувьд сургалт болсон. Эхний т_с_л маань зохион байгуулалт сайтай байсан боловч з_вл_х Мягмарс_рэнгийн ажил идэвхг_й б_г__д т_нш ТББ _ргэлжл__лж чадааг_й юм. Хувь х_м__сээс зохиосон дараагийн хоёр т_с_л бол

Дараагийн хоёрыг хувь х_м__с зохион явуулахдаа з_вх_н зураг зурж _йлчилдэг уламжлалт аргыг багаар ажиллахдаа талбай дээрээс цаг тухай б_рд хийсэн д_гнэлтээ задлан шинжилж, байгаль орчинг анхаарч, захиалагчийн боломжийг харгалздаг, н__ц бололцоондоо тулгуурладаг, олон янзаар ашиглаж болдог технологуудыг ашиглах оролдлого хийдэг орчин _еийн арга хоорондын тэнцвэрийг олсон т_сл__д болсон.

__нд Ариунаа, Болормаа, Цэнг__нээ нар оролцож шинэ т_гсс_н архитекторуудад тусалж багийг ахалсан б_г__д оюутан Дэлгэрдалай, Т_мэн-од, Уянга, Т_мэнгэрэл нар оролцсон. Хашбаяр бодит т_с_л санх__гийн болоод материаллаг байдлаар тусалсан юм. Б_гд л архитектурын явц, эрчим х_чний хэмнэлттэй, экологийн хувьд тэнцвэр б_хий, олон талаар ашиглаж болдог, _р д_нтэй талбайн д_н шинжилгээ ямар чухал болох талаар ил__ сайн ойлгож архитектурын програмыг б_гд сайжруулах талаар суралцсан.

2. Архитектор мэргэжлээр суралцаж буй оюуутнууд, тэр дундаа 2008 онд дипломоо авах оюутнуудад архитектурын хичээл заах
Архитектурын бакалавр зэрэг олгох 3 жилийн сургалтын х_т_лб_рт д_н шинжилгээ хийхэд миний хугацааны эхэн _е зориулагдсан б_г__д эндээс би нэгэн з_йлийг ойлгож мэдсэн юм. __р__р хэлбэл, Монголд баримталж байгаа эдгээр ижил т_стэй курсууд б_гд адилхан голдуу техникийн сургалт б_г__д соёлын дизайн, синтетик дизайн, студи буюу амьд бодитой т_с_л хэрэгж__лэх оролдлого хийдэг бусад олон улсын жишиг б_хий их сургуулийн дээд боловсролын _ндсэн шатны сургалтаас энэ тал дээр нэлээд дутмаг болох нь харагдсан.

Техник талаа баримталдаг сургалтын програмын хязгаарлалтаас болоод д_гнэх утгыг ярилцаж, шалгалт, оролцоо зэргийг ил__ олон тест, семинар, экскурс зэрэг мэдлэг сорисон з_йлсээр баяжуулж авах нь з_йтэй болсон. Сургалтын арга барил коллеж дээр дутмаг байгаа тул хэд хэдэн семинарыг Цэнг__нээ, Болормаа нартай хамтран явуулж, цаашид тэднийг шинээр ажилд орсон 25 багшид 9-р сард хичээл эхлэхэд туслаарай хэмээн захисан.

Миний удирдаж байсан архитектурын т_гс_х курсын оюутнуудтай ажиллахад тустай з_йл олныг мэдэрсэн ч гэлээ тэдний оролцоо, амлалт нь х_ндхэн байсан юм. Дипломын ангийн оюутан Наранцэцэг, Уранбилэг, Ханб_ргэд нар хичээлд суугааг_й б_г__д бусад нь ялангуяа Г_рсэд, Лхагва болон группын гиш__дэд тусалсан. Сургалтын материалын хуулбар _.х Ньюферт Архитектурын _г_гд_л, Орост 1965 онд хэвлэгдсэн) -ыг Арваннэгд_гээр сард хийсэн ба эргэж шинэчлэх, сайжруулах хэрэгтэй байсан ч туршлагатай ажилтнуудын з_гээс __рчл_х х_сэлг_й болохоо илэрхийлсэн юм.

Монгол Улсын норм MN 31.101.04 ба Барилгын Сайдын экспертиз (Монголын Эрчим Х_ч Хэмнэлт Ашиглалтын Сургууль - GTZ). Холбогдох шинэ номууд (Бат од 2005, 2007, Чинг 2006, интернэтийн материал. – зарим нь Монгол хэл дээр зарим нь Англи, Герман хэл дээр)- ыг танилцуулсан б_г__д эрч х_чтэй залуу багш нарт К.До 2006 болон Монголын ахлах оюутнуудын хийсэн ажил, бодит т_сл__дээр материал бэлдэх нь сонирхолтой байсан. Хоёр т_гс_гч Лхагва, Г_рсэд нар архитектор-багш болох сургалтаа эхлэв.

3. Монгол Улсын барилга архитектурын мэргэжлийг х_гж__лэх зорилгоор хамтран ажиллах
Анх эхлээд Профессор Дагшигдоржтой хамтран ажиллаж байх _едээ т__ний ахлах архитекторын _зэл санаанд _ндэслэсэн ойлголт б_хий байсан бол м_н саяхан мэргэжлээ эзэмшсэн х_м__стэй уулзаж(С_хбаатарын Амгалан, Чойжилжавын М_нхзул) архитектурын боловсролыг туршигч шинэ х_м__сийн талаар ил__ х_ндэтгэлтэй хандах бодол т_рс_н юм. Арваннэгд_гээр сард би Архитектур, Судалгааны Т_вийн лектор, архитектор, Монголын Архитекторуудын Ассоциацийн т_л__л_гч болох Эрш__гийн П_рэв Эрдэнэтэй уулзсан юм.

4. Conclusion; Small, Significant Change

4. Мэргэжлээ дээшл__лэхэд тус болж чадахуйц англи хэлний чадвар эзэмш__лэхэд дэм _з__лэх

Х_м__нлэгийн Ухааны Их Сургуулийн Англи хэлний багш, сайн дурын ажилтан Рут Паулийн санаачлагаар Англи хэлээр яригчдын Клубыг албан ёсны бус байдлаар __сгэн байгуулсан б_г__д __нд маш олон багш нар м_н __рийн х_слээр олон х_м__с ирсний дотор манай байрны х_рш__д зэрэг х_м__с байсан ба би тэдэнд ойролцоогоор хориод хичээл орсон юм.
Коллежийн удирдлагууд, захирлууд болон бусад олон багш гэх мэт байнга Монгол хэлээ ашигладаг х_м__ст цаг буюу сонирхол бага байснаас тэд Англи хэлийг хэрэглэх талдаа тун идэвх муутай байв. Нэгд_гээр курсын нэг \эмэгтэй\оюутан Лхагва Арваннэгд_гээр сард Чингис Х_рээнд Х_м__нлэгийн Ухааны Их Сургуулийн сайн дурынхантай хийсэн Англи хэлний Алхаа ба Яриа сэдэвт арга хэмжээ зохиогдоход оролцож коллеж дээр болсон бусад хичээл__дэд бусдыгаа уриалан оролцуулсан юм. М_н тэрээр явцын дунд __рийнх__ Англи хэл хэрхэн сурч байгаа талаараа багш нар болон коллежийн дэд захирал Хашбаяр нарт тайлбарлаж _гс_н. Багш нарт зориулсан англи хэлний онлайн болон номоор заах _мн_х сургалтууд идэвхг_й байсан тул коллежид иймэрх__ _йл ажиллагааг дэмжиж идэвхтэй хэрэгж__лээсэй гэж би туйлаас х_сэж байна. Хэдийгээр ахлах профессор Дагшигдорж болон туслах Энхтунгалаг нар коллежийн захирлуудын адилаар ярианы Англи хэлээ сайжруулахыг хичээж байгаа нь харагдааг_й ч __р олон багш ажилтнууд тодруулбал Г.Ариунаа, Д.Болормаа, Цэнгэл-Оюун нар __рсдийн англи хэлийг дээд т_вшний хэмжээнд сайжруулж чадсан б_г__д Г_рсэд, Лхагва м_н коллежийн туслах захирал хамтрагч Хашбаяр нарт цаашдаа маш их бололцоо бий нь харагдсан юм.

Д_гнэлт: Маш бага боловч чухал __рчл_лт
Барилгын Сайд, Дэлхийн З_н ба 8-р хорооны Тогтвортой Х_гжлийн Жендерийн Т_в зэрэгтэй з_вл_лдс_н ажил маань аль аль талдаа ач холбогдол муутай байснаас д_гнээд дараачийн удаад архитектор багш нарыг сургах зорилготой хичээл__дийг ихэнхдээ бетоны сэдвээр архитектурын бодит т_с_л маягаар явуулсан. Энэх__ ажил нь хуучин ажиллаж байсан багш нар болох Болормаа, Цэнг__нээ, Ариунаа, Хашбаяр болон шинэ багш нар Лхагва, Г_рсэд(ирээд_йд магадг_й Дэлгэрдалай, Т_мэн-од нар ч оролцох байх) нарт маш удаан хугацаанд _р шимээ _г_х боломжтой. Хэрэгж__лж болох б_г__д Эрчим х_ч хэмнэсэн барилга, талбай дээрх цагийн менежментийн зарчим, Т_слийн менежментийн аргууд, Архитектурын т_с_л т_л_вл_лт, захиалагчтай хийх уулзалт, анхны танилцуулга зэргийг хэрхэн зохион байгуулах, т_слийг архитектурын талаас хэрхэн д_гнэж бичих зэрэг тухай энд заасан.
Би хувьдаа багш Болормаа, Цэнг__нээ, Ариунаа, Хашбаяр нарыг _нг_рс_н нэг жилийн хугацаанд доорх салбаруудад явуулсан сургалтаа _ргэлжл__лээсэй гэж х_сэх байна. __нд:
- Сургах арга барилын судалгаа
- Олон улстай харьцах зорилгоор хэлээ судлах
- CV клиник \намтараа хэрхэн бичих аргуудыг сурах\
- Архитектурын боловсролтой холбоотой мэдээллийг интернэтээр (powerpoint, flickr, blogging, google earth, Wikipedia зэрэг вэб сайтаас) хайх чадвар эзэмших.

Болормаа болон Цэнг__нээ нар Техник Технологийн Коллежийн багш Сувдмаа(Англи хэлний багш) болон Болорцэцэг(Архитектурын багш) нарт МУБТК ба ТТК-ын зэрэг олгох хичээлийн х_т_лб_рийг харьцуулан системчлэх талд тусалж байсан. С__лээр коллеж ВСО-той ажиллах х_сэлтээ _гс_н. Би эдгээр х_м__сийг мэргэжлийн т_вшинд онцгой анхаарч ажиллаасай гэж зоригжуулж буй б_г__д ирээд_йд __рсдийн ур чадвараа нэмэгд__лж, т__нийгээ Монголын Архитекторуудын Ассоциацтай хуваалцаасай гэж х_сэх байна.
Миний ойлгосноор бол МУБТК шинээр 20-иод багш ажил авч байгаа гэсэн тул тэдэнд дээр дурдсан багш нар маань мэргэжлээ сайжруулж х_л__ олоход нь тус болоход хэрэгтэй. Багш ажилтнууд цаашдаа ВСО-ийн Роб Ван Ваарденбург болон шинэ з_вл_х, сайн дурын ажилтнуудтай хамтран ажиллахаа идэвхтэй _ргэлжл__лж __рсдийн мэргэжилд улам сайжирснаар коллежийн эзэд байх б_рэн итгэл бий болж мэргэжлийн хувьд бардам алхаж чадна байх.

Коллежийн оюутнууд дадлага хийх зорилгоор талбай дээр __рсд__ ажиллан шинэ анги барьж байгаа гэсэн. Захирал болон архитекторууд дизайныг сайжруулах зорилгоор нэгд_гээр сард зоорийн болон нэгд_гээр давхрыг тэргэнцэр орж болохоор хийх шийдвэр гаргасан. Энэх__ оролдлого нь барилга болон архитектурын боловсролд хандах хандлагаа сайжруулж байгаа хэрэг т_дийг_й коллежийн менежментийг ил__ идэвхтэй, оролцоо _нд_ртэй болгоход _ч__хэн ч атугай хувь нэмэр болж байгаа явдал юм.

please comment!
Manaixan messej bijeree daa!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Glamorous work

Today I spent a good hour talking to Chicago architecture student Sarah Bassett on US-Mongolia connections - architecture, urbanism and research - including ACMS, GTZ, Fulbright scholars and other researchers and projects I have seen here. Like Melitta Kuglitsch's work with savings groups in Bayanzurkh Ger District. I chuckle comparing my work here with 'Dreamspaces'... with the helicopter circling David Adjaye's glamorous trio on a rooftop...

A video piece was one good suggestion for my блок / blog (draft). Meanwhile, one former student blog-reader Farisayi Utete (Conservation architect, Harare) suggested a radio piece on the BBC, and another, James Webb (Ueber-Designer-Architect, Amsterdam), encouraged me to publish a book.

The summer weather in Mongolia has been changeable, with some strong downpours causing flooding in the western peri-urban "twenty-first microdistrict" around the college. Many colleagues are making the most of the greenness, thanks to the rain, to holiday in the countryside.

Since their arrival on the Trans-siberian train last week I have hosted Ana Rewakowicz (Canada) and Annu Wilenius (Finland), musing about moving space, the state of Ulaanbaatar, and planning for this years' Blue Sun Art Camp with Yondon Dalkh-Ochir and others.

On Saturday at VSO I met over thirty Mongolian Deaf people who are learning American Sign Language with a Mongolian trainer and Nickson Kakiri. It was a basic training for a video conference/ cultural exchange conversation between deaf America and Mongolia in September. In a three hour training session, I learned many terms, and met two Norwegian Deaf tourists with their Mongolian Guide, Nemekhbayar Batnasah (UNV, see p.2) Afterwards, I was the only hearing person, besides a professional MSL/ ASL Mongolian-English translator, joining a large group which went on to a cafe. There were many discussions, several simultaneously crossing one another on a long table, and the most arcane conversation I have yet witnessed in my new experience of deaf culture, as two Mongolians discussed signing and deaf culture in Mongolia in Mongolian Sign Language. *

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Week 45

Yesterday, reasons given for slow progress of the teams included 1) One team leader has a new child, some others were not available, 2) Another college project - building a house, about which I had not previously heard - was running into lateness penalties and team members had to be re-deployed there, 3) our director was waiting for money from investors, in order to pay our team members, etc.

Arriving at our college with some brochures about EcoSan toilets (pdf) and energy efficient heating, I suggested a visit to the office of co-authors, the Construction Ministry with GTZ (German Technical Cooperation). A small deputation, Gursed and Dalai, Bolormaa and I, called in to the Construction Ministry in the city centre. I hoped we might ask to see the plans for the new (energy efficient and accessible) Mongolian pattern school. I explained our school had instead been referring to the 1965 Russian edition of Neufert for planning diploma projects. Our Ministry contact person Gantsetseg was on holiday (until...?) and no-one else there could help us. We decided to try the GTZ project office (1 Ikh Toryuu) and Tumen Od joined the group from his adjacent workplace.

By now most GTZ staff were at lunch, but after happening upon a friend Mathias Pretzsch, I was fortunately able to speak to programme manager Frau Ruth Erlbeck, between meetings. She showed me an impressive masterplan for the new Eco-City near UB Airport, and was able to provide more brochures, and promised a presentation of current projects to the college. I explained my vision - that Mongolian architecture teachers would desire to be conversant with the Pattern School, and other examples of contemporary and internationally benchmarked practice in architecture.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Work Plan, Sanzai - Санзай Ажил

1. Site plan, site analysis (A2)
2. Site sections, site analysis (A2)
3. EcoHouseI sch. plan section facade (A2)
4. EcoHouseII sch. plan section facade (A2)
5. EcoHouseIII sch. plan section facade (A2)
6. Captioned Site Photog. Use "Participatory Presentation" method in team for selection and captioning. (A2)
7. Sketches, Collage
8. Accommodation Brief incl int, ext, roads, gardens, ecol. features, ecol. footprint.
9. Precedent Studies; BedZED, Hockerton

Work Plan, Yarmag - Ярмаг Ажил

1. Site plan, site analysis (A2)
2. Site sections, site analysis (A2)
3. SiteI alt.1 (Baatar) Staff Accomm. sch. plan section facade (A2)
4. SiteI alt.2 (Khaasha) Play sch. plan section facade (A2)
5. SiteII Hotel Conference Fitness sch. plan section facade (A2)
6. SiteIII alt.1 (Baatar) Play sch. plan section facade (A2)
7. SiteIII alt.2 (Khaasha) Staff Accomm. sch. plan section facade (A2)
8. Captioned Site Photog. Use "Participatory Presentation" method in team for selection and captioning. (A2)
9. Sketches, Collage
10. Accommodation Brief
10.1 Hotel
10.2 Conference
10.3 Staff Accommodation
10.4 Play
incl int, ext, roads, gardens, ecol. features, ecol. footprint.
11. Market Appraisals; UB wide, International; Russia, China, Khazakstan etc
12. Precedent Studies; Structure, Roof of Beijing Airport (Foster)
13. Precedent Studies; Programme, Eden Project Cornwall (Grimshaw)
14. Precedent Studies; Conservation, Camley Street London Kings Cross
15. Precedent Studies; Theme Parks, Butlins Family Holiday Camps (UK)


Walking in the dusty heat through Khangai this morning, I noted the names on fences; streets or lots (Khangai 2, Khangai 4, Khangai 1). People were collecting water. As I passed the depot, a family came walking on the track towards me. As I nodded a greeting to a grandmother, she paused and extended towards me a polystyrene-plated parcel of dried fruit from which she had been eating. I selected a glace cherry and said "bayarlalaa" (thank you).

Today I drafted the skeleton of a work schedule for the team for the next week while I take leave. I made fifteen points for Yarmag. These include nine A2 drawings, including site analyses and options for two of the sites, a programme brief, and case studies for Roof Structure (Fosters Beijing) Programme (Eden Cornwall) Conservation Education (Camley Street) and Theme Parks (Butlins).

For Sanzai I noted nine similar points, with an 'ecological footprint' study and case studies of Hockerton and BedZED. For each project, I also started project discussion groups on the college Flickr group.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yarmag Khaan Uul, participatory methods

Architect teacher trainee Lkhagva, vice-director Hashaa, Bolormaa and I together visited client Baatar and three female family members, at Bilig Law Institute on Tuesday afternoon. Baatar, a London based Mongolian businessman, was not unfamiliar with accessible and energy efficient principles, but was less clear on the business model for the conference centre and youth recreation park. Mongolian and international markets for these touched upon. The thirteen year old Mongolian girl advised on youth recreation.

A wish list was drafted in a brainstorming discussion, with cursory reference to the site analysis and photos. Three unattached pieces of land are to be developed after all, but the wish list is bewildering, spanning from skate park to climbing gym. The first three of four main parts of the new brief - Staff Accommodation, Conference, Hotel, and Recreation - were allocated to Uyanga, Lkhagva and Tumen Od respectively. It looked exciting.

Vice-director Hashaa today excitedly shared his idea about adapting the form of roof structure from Fosters' new Beijing Airport. Although I was quietly sceptical, at any rate, the Foster Oevre is of greater educational interest than the Fisher "Dynamic Architecture" tower. (Foster Bulgaria in AJ)

Meanwhile we continued with a teaching workshop on more participatory methods;
Focus Group Discussions - Бүлгийн Хэлэлцүүлэл
Participatory Presentations - Орон Нутгийн Шийдвэр
Picture Stories - Зурган түүх
Problem Tree - Асуудлын Мод
Thought Shower - Санаагаа Илэрхийлэх.
I discussed my London colleague's architecture careers case study with Tsenguune.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

After Naadam

After the team members attandance dwindled approaching the annual Naadam, I had a nice break, watching colleagues in the archery at a new stadium, getting a dose of sunburn in the bright white arena, and scoring tickets (thanks Uriana) for the opening ceremony at the National Stadium. Rising early on Saturday for the journey to the Horse Races in Хүй Долоон Худаг was worthwhile. A much needed Sunday rest was eschewed in favour of the Pinoy Picnic in a beautiful Хангайт Зуслан.

On Monday I had been asked to to advise Chingeltei Health on their hospital planning, and I went along with Tuya of MNFDPO, Nickson kakiri from VSO and Bolormaa from my college. Gecca, a VSO, works advising the hospital there, and arranged for us to meet the director Tungalag and her deputy Ulanbayar. No drawings were available to see, and it emerged that the architectural planning was being done by a second year MUST student 'volunteer'. The directors claimed they were unable to afford - or not aware of - Mongolian expertise in hospital planning, nor of aware of the disability umbrella org (MNFDPO), nor aware of the Mongolian accessibility norm. The concepts of preparing an architectural brief and of (Mongolian) professional support for the project and volunteers were discussed. I noted 14 action points, many involving working with Mongolians - watch this space.

The Yarmag and Sanzai client meetings were rolled over to Tuesday. After waiting (in vain) for a college plumber at home on Tuesday morning - following the invasion of a neighbours plumber to disable our toilet and shower at almost midnight on Saturday - I held a full team meeting at the college, to take stock of progress and prepare for the meetings.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Live Projects

Yarmag team members (Tumen -Gerel, Uyanga and Ganbold from right-left above - team leader Lhagva has family leave) had made a good start with a plan for the Childrens Camp and conference centre (by Bogd Khaan Mountain) accompanied by some environmental data, but as yet lack a written brief. The accommodation requirements (200 conference goers, 200 restaurant seats , pool, sauna etc) had been established verbally, in conversation between the college Vice-Director Khashaa and the developer client.

Meanwhile the remainder of the team, Gursed and Tumen-Od (incommunicado with the others) have a sectional schematic and the basis of a Site Analysis. If only they would all talk to each other...

Everybody came together before the Naadam festival break, but team members complained of flooding, power cuts and lack of daylight hindering progress on drawing. I suggested what each group lacked respectively, in terms of a client presentation for Monday, and referred Tumen Gerel to our VSO conference and Equal Step Camp (via my blog - in Mongolian).

grotesque wheelchairs

I was appalled on BBC World news this morning at seeing the grotesque joke of 'spouses' of world leaders testing some electric wheelchair-like vehicles at the G8 summit, in the name of ecologically sustainable transport. I despair about the developed world's contribution to transport contra climate change. These educated people with their little handbags should be capable of riding ordinary bicycles. But rather, it is their built environment that is often ill-suited to their journeys (even for shopping). More Segway-like devices will only superficially (and very expensively) 'green' the environment, while cheap individual means of human powered transport are plentiful, but unfashionable.

Leaving work yesterday, I saw a man sprawled face down in the mud outside the college, whom at first I thought may be dead. The slow writhing of his limbs at very odd angles, suggested to me at first they might have been broken in an accident. After a few minutes' close observation (at a distance) I could see he was breathing, probably paraletic, and might survive. This morning there was no trace of him, the entire area was flooded and inaccessible after heavy rain. I had to access the college by climbing a fence and clambering through our building site.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

MonZED (эко-мэко хаус-маус)

Yesterday, I presented online material (translated into Mongolian with Bolormaa) about the design and technology of BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development) as a case study; solar orientation, passive thermal design and ventilation, green roofs, water harvesting and recycling, central heating and power plant, insulation values of materials, etc.

BedZED (as one possible form of Eco House.. "эко-мэко хаус-маус") seemed to get their creative juices flowing, and Gursed and Dalai today produced a sectional schematic. Meanwhile Dalai's attempts to investigate the EcoSan toilet by phoning Boojum Expeditions were in vain.

Soberingly, I found the two poring over the daily newspaper Өнөөдөр's half page story in Mongolian on David Fisher's (senseless) 'Dynamic Architecture' Dubai Tower. As an alternative impromptu brainstorming exercise, I had them find (by reading pictures) ten relevant technologies / ideas from ten copies of RIBA Journal I had brought in. Their ten ideas ranged from sewage tanks, to roof lights, to wall insulation, to metal wall cladding(??), and will form the basis of drawings which would substantiate an 'eco-house' brief.

Monday, July 07, 2008


"Deutsch?" called out a European-looking youth sitting by our Орц (building entrance) with a Mongolian-looking contemporary.
"Nein, Australisch... Wir beiden sind Australier, aus London... Wo kommst Du her?"
"NRW... Nordrhein-Westfalen" he said. "Also, Tschuess" I said.

Манай хажуу орцны урд сууж байсан монгол найзтай европ залуу намайг "Дойч? " гэж дуудсан.
"найн - Аустралиш (Үгүй ээ - Австралчууд) ...Бид хоёр Лондонгоос ирсэн Австралчууд байна... Чи хаанас ирсэн?"
"НРВ... Нордрайн-Вэстфалэн" гэсэн. Би "За, Чөөс" гэсэн.

*translation assisted by D. Bolormaa

Friday, July 04, 2008


The project team met today to report back on progress since Tuesday's meeting. No-one had looked at the examples, at first appearing to have forgotten Tuesday's discussion, then claiming language difficulties for studying websites.

So, (again) we reviewed considerations which might be taken into account as a framework eco-design:

1 Solar - passive thermal design principles, orientation
2 Air / wind / ventilation / breeze principles
3 Water collection and disposal

1 Solar - Photovoltaic cells / panels
2 Wind power, direction temperature - including passive ventilation..
3 Insulation (U or K values) composite values for materials / walls, floors / roofs
4 Toilets dry / wet technology eg. EcoSan in Mongolia (Renchinhlumbe Hospital, Khatgal Ger Camp)

We will see what emerges...

Sustainable Tourism

Equal Step Camp has made good progress on beginning to devise some ecological sustainability standards for the childrens camp at Point 290, as I previously mentioned here and on Tour Watch and Rolling Rains. Ruth Richardson VSO from the camp met with VSO Secure Livelihoods tourism adviser Brian Watmough and I - and a dozen good action points emerged for the camp's sustainability plan;

1. Transport; explain the ecological and social benefits of using rail transport in Mongolia.
2. Waste; packaging of all supplies purchased (food, consumables etc) should be studied, and bulk purchasing benefits analysed. Separation of waste (participatively & educationally) into organic/ non-organic or combustible/non-combustible is a good principle.
3. Toilets; management of a) flushing disabled accessible pedestal toilet and b) pit toilets may be studied with alternative c) ecosan composting toilet (ecosan.org) - for future consideration.
4. Rainwater harvesting (collection from a roof gutter) from one building roof.
Grey water collection from food preparation areas, possibly for garden / greenhouse use, in buckets.
5. Solar; collectors, photo-voltaic panels, one per ger. Painting shower header tanks black, to absorb some warmth from solar radiation.
6. Tree planting; Consider Sea Buckthorn and also trees, vis a vis carbon offsetting, VSO community forestry, see also literature on Ecological Footprint (GFN, NEF)
7. Fire evacuation procedure; first aid and safety train volunteers, also as fire marshalls.
8. Local land management; River and Water Pollution training for staff and volunteers.
9. Accommodation (adaptations for children and for conference guests - beds, food etc)
10. Recreation; Horse Riding, Milking Goats, Walking, Swimming
11. Community Liaison with the Local Shop; catering for guests, e.g. conference groups
12. Information; about the history of the camp and its social and ecoogical aims, and the Equal Step children - photographs or drawings of or by the children of the camp, volunteer participation in establishment and ongoing maintainence of the camp.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Suddenly today, worldwide attention has been drawn to Ulaanbaatar* as riots broke out yesterday over the election results. Although I was aware of the many election posters and roving loudspeakers in the streets, I was unaware of the tension brewing around Sunday's election.
(*note English transliteration of Mongolian name meaning Red Hero, the old 20thC Russian name Ulan Bator being as poor an anglicisation as 'Bombay' is for Mumbai)

In the current state of emergency, five have been killed near the central square, and we are instructed not to go out. I postponed today's meeting with the projects team, along with planned training on Participatory Teaching Methods with Bolormaa and Tsenguun, and advice to Technical and Technology College on recruiting an architecture volunteer.

Some colleagues in UB suggest the election result was illegitimate, but more likely, the electoral process had its own difficulties. Some friends who are not registered in a permanent place, for example, are disenfranchised from voting. Lonely Planet journo Michael Kohn on BBC news was attributing some of the tension to the provocation of seeing Humvee SUVs in the street, while so many are poor and homeless. Widely felt frustration about issues such as poverty and government corruption, but also alcohol abuse, must have contributed to the events.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Site Analysis; initial discussion

A meeting was held on Friday, to discuss our projects with two visiting advisors I had invited to the college; Ruth Richardson VSO of Equal Step Childrens' Camp (recently featured on Rolling Rains), and Barbara Goss, of Treetour / Reforestation of Northern Khentii. Our new CTC project leaders, Gursed and Lhakgva, displayed the drawings they had prepared - after considerable coaxing to ensure consistent drawing labelling, scales and orientation, and to properly mount and label photographs ("is it really necessary? - YES") - for the discussion. 1:500 site models were produced by students.

Sanzai /Selbe Khadad Eco Houses
For the Eco-Houses in Sanzai /Selbe Khadad, the as-yet unclear ecological standards and proposed performance for the eco-house designs were questioned. Separately saleable cottages seemed preferable in principle to an energy efficient triplex building.

some reference examples;
Hockerton Eco Houses
BedZED Beddington UK
Eco-Homes Standards (UK) - pdf Guide

Yarmag Children's Camp
For the Childrens' Camp in Yarmag, the standards of nature protection for the surrounding reserve seemed unclear, despite the detailed consultants report which had been provided. A low impact temporary camp seemed in principle to be less appealing and feasible than permanent buildings for up to 200 people on 1000m2.

reference examples;
Eden Project, Cornwall
Camley Street Natural Park, Central London
Childrens Day Camp (Ontario CA)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Projects on the drawing boards

Upper: Selbe Khadad (Sukhbaatar district, North of UB)

Sanzai Eco-Houses Project

Lower: Yarmag (South of UB)

Yarmag Childrens' Camp Project

These two photos (from my phone camera) and linked pages describe the two projects we are currently developing with Gursed and Lhagva, two trainee architect teachers, with four students; in the first case, in Selbe Khadad, for 'Eco-houses', and in the second case, in Yarmag, for a Childrens' Recreational Camp in a nature reserve.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Essential Skills - Суурь чадвар

To begin the projects for Yarmag and Sanzai, with two architecture graduate trainees, Lkhagva and Gursed, and four students, I began by setting out for agreement six main steps for approaching design projects, based on a book by (my former student) Do* et al;

Суурь чадвар - Essential Skills

6 stages
1. Товч ойлголт (The Brief): Төслийн товч санааг дүрсэлнэ. Үүнийг хийхэд ямар зүйл сурах шаардлагатай, ямар онцгой ур чадвар /бодох, зурах, харилцааны/ байх хэрэтэй вэ гэдгээ төлөвлөнө.

2. Тайлбар (The interpretation): Товч ойлголтоо тайлбарлан зарим онцгой хэсгийг нь дэлгэрүүлэн тайлбарлан ойлголмжтой болгоно. Төслийн сэдэвтэй хамаатай судалгаа хийн, тайлбарлаж чадахгүй байгаа зүйлээ буруу эхлэхээс нь өмнө бүх зүйлийг тодорхой болгох хэрэгтэй.

3. Дэлгэрүүлэх (The inspiration): Энэ хэсэгт чи ямар утга санааг илэрхийлж байгааг илүү чиглүүлж тайлбарлана. Энгийн түвшинд чиний санааны илэрхийлэл нь юу юм? Дээд түвшинд чиний санаа архитектурын ямар байр суурь, загварын философийг агуулж байгааг тайлбарлана.

4. Шинжлэн судлах (The exploration): Шинжлэн судлах нь нарийн нягт процесс бөгөөд загвар, зураг, санаануудаа өөр ур чадвараар хөгжүүлэн сайжруулах явц юм. Эцэст нь өөрийн дизайныг амаар болон биетээр /архитектурын зураг ба загвар/ товч байдлаар тайлбарлахыг шаардана.

5. Боловсруулалт ба илрэл (Refinement and Expression): Сайн дизайнер нь хамгийн шилдэг гэсэн санаагаа гүйцэлдүүлэхэд хэр зэрэг хугацаа шаардлагатай таамаглаж чаддаг.

6. Хангамж ба гүйцэтгэл (Delivery and Execution): Энэ хэсэгт чиний бүх ур чадварыг шаарданана. Энд сайн зурсан төслийг харахаас илүү муу зүйл гэж байхгүй. Магадгүй санаа нь хүчтэй ч гэсэн илтгэх арга барил нь дизайн хийх процессын туршид сурсан ур чадварт хүчтэй нөлөөлдөг.

Trans. Bolormaa Davaadorj based on * Do K. (Khoa), Siew A. (Adelyn), Schreven L., Lena, Loo R., Holmeseth K., Iu W. (2006) Point of Reference, First Edition, Perth, WA, Curtin University of Technology, 80 pages (ISBN 1 740 67455 3)

Site Analysis - Орчны тойм шинжилгээ

Before departing for the visits to the two sites yesterday, on Monday we carefully went through these notes on site analysis with the team.

Site Analysis - Орчны тойм шинжилгээ

1. Хүрээлэн буй орчин ба байрлал:
•Хүрээлэн буй орчин: Энд барилгын байршилын асуудал илүү хамаарна. Чиний барилга байр зүйн өвөрмөц онцлог /гол, мөрөн, далай г.м/ эсвэл байгууламжуудтай /хот, гүүр, далан г.м/ хэрхэн холбогдон байршиж байна?
•Байрлал: Энэ нь барилгын орчин тойрны асуудалтай шууд хамаарна. Газрын өндөр нь хэр зэрэг юм? Суурийн тогтворжилт нь ямар юм? Тэнд ямар ургамал ургадаг юм? Ямар төрлийн барилга байгууламж зонхилож байна? Барилгын маштаб, хэмжээ нь ямар байх юм? Нийгэм болон соёлын асуудлыг нь яаж авч үзсэн юм? гэх мэт.

. Хүрээлэн буй орчны төрөл: Захын хороолол, хөдөө, тосгон, захын байрлал/ус ба газрын/, усан дээр /гол, мөрөн, тэнгис г.м/, хад цохио.

. Хүрээнлэн буй орчны хүчин зүйлс ба агуулга:
•Арга барил ба хандлага
•Өдөр ба шөнийн уур амьсгал
•Нарны тусгал
•Байгууламжаас үүсэр сүүдэржилт
•Далайн түвшинээс дээших өндөр
•Барилга дотор болон гадна талаасаа хэрхэн харагдах үзэмж

. Орчны шинжилгээ хийхэд юу авч явах хэрэгтэй вэ?
•Харандаа, бал г.м
•Ноорог дэвтэр
•Шугамдсан цаас
•Маштабны шугам ба хэмждэг тууз
•Газрын зураг /хэрэв боломтой бол байр зүйн газрийн зураг/

5. Бичлэг зурагнуудаа хэрхэн яаж ашиглах вэ?
Олж авсан мэдээллээ газрын зураг дээрээ маштаблан зурж тамдэглэн түүнийгээ өөрийн газрын шинжилгээн дээр хэрхэн авч үзэхээ мэддэг байх хэрэгтэй. Нэмэлт материал /фото зураг, тэмдэглэл/-ууд өөрийн зурагтай чинь холбоотой бол ашигладаг байх хэрэгтэй.
•Байрлалын төлөвлөгөө / байршил/
•Газрын төлөвлөгөө: Эргэн тойрны байгууламж, ургамал, газрын өндөр гэх мэт.
•Байрлалын хэсэг
•Гудамжны өндөржилт /өндөр/
•Зарим деталь /материйл, барилга байгууламж, хүрээлэн буй орчин гэх мэт/

Preparing the Location Plan and Site Plan for each project would be the first steps, accompanied by site models made of card - critical given the topography in each case.

Trans. Davadorjiin Bolormaa based on based on Do K., Siew A., Schreven L., Lena, Loo R., Holmeseth K., Iu W. (2006) Point of Reference, First Edition, Perth, WA, Curtin University of Technology, 80 pages (ISBN 1 740 67455 3)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

VSO annual Volunteer Conference

VSO Mongolia volunteers and staff extricated ourselves from work for a couple of days to go to a green valley in the Mongolian countryside to take stock of what we have achieved, in our annual volunteer conference.

Gathering over thirty volunteers from Africa, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia and Britain, with placements as far afield as Bayan Ulgii, Choibalsan and Darkhan, everyone seemed pleased to get together. On the second day I assisted Nickson Kakiri in leading a session on mainstreaming disability in all of our work here, and we discussed and (re)discovered issues of disabilities, rights, exclusion and working with various challenges. We reflected on some positive work done in the last year, including work on universally accessible buildings, and a recent accessibility audit of the Equal Step Camp, our conference venue, in this remote village apparently known only by its train siding, 'Point 290'.

The camp had recently installed a ramp and accessible toilet, and its generous volunteers, on our arrival, had also erected a ger and made us some great meals, a horhog, and a bonfire. VSO's scarce funds seemed in this case to have been directed towards a very promising locally owned and highly sustainable enterprise.

Most of the conference sessions were held in a wooden hall, which worked well with improvised flipcharts and the occasional powerpoint presentation. As Secure Livelihoods Programme volunteer coordinator, I led a session - on a grassy riverbank - which included an update of all livelihoods volunteers' work, where we later returned at dusk to wade in the river, like the local horses.

Жил бүр VSO-ын Монгол дахь салбарын ажилчид болон сайн дурынхны дунд зохион байгуулагддаг бага хурлын үеэр бид өөрсдийн юу хийж бүтээсэн, ямар ололт, амжилттай байснаа ярилцан дүгнэж хэдэн өдрийг хөдөө, цэвэр агаарт амарч цагийг зугаатай өнгөрөөлөө.

Африк, Филиппин, Голланд, Канад, Австрали, Британи зэрэг улсаас, мөн Баян-Өлгий аймаг, Чойбалсан, Дархан хотоос нийт 30 гаруй сайн дурын ажилтан цуглаж хуралдлаа. 3 өдрийн хурал амжилттай, үр өгөөжтэй болсон юм. Хурлын 2 дахь өдөр, би Никсон Какири-н хариуцсан “хөгжлийн бэрхшээл” сэдэвт хэсгийг удирдан зохион байгуулах ажилд тусалж, бид хөгжлийн бэрхшээлтэй хүмүүсийн эрх зөрчигдөх, нийгмээс гадуурхагдах зэрэг тулгамдсан асуудлуудын талаар ярилцаж, тэдгээрийг хэрхэн шийдэх талаар ярилцсан. Өнгөрсөн жил бидний гол ярилцаж байсан сэдэв бол бүгдэд хүртээмжтэй барилгын тухай байсан бөгөөд бидний хурлаа зохион байгуулсан ‘290-ийн цэг’ гэсэн нэртэй газарт байрлах Тэгш Алхам зусланг барихдаа тэрхүү санааг маань барилгынхаа ажилд тусгасан байлаа.

Энэхүү зуслан саяхан налуу зам барьж, ариун цэврийн өрөөгөө хөгжлийн бэрхшээлтэй хүмүүст зориулан тохижуулсан байв. Биднийг очиход тэндэхийн сайн дурын ажилтнууд гэр барьж өгч, сайхан хоол, хорхогоор дайлан галын наадам зохион байгуулсан. VSO-с гаргасан өчүүхэн санхүүжилтыг ашиглан энэхүү орон нутгийн аж ахуйн нэгж чамгүй амжилттай болоод тогтвортойгоор үйл ажиллагаагаа явуулж буй нь харагдаж байсан.

Хурлын ихэнх хэсгийг зуны модон байшинд зохион явуулсан нь powerpoint, flipcharts зэргийг ашиглахад тохиромжтой байлаа. Миний бие Баталгаат амьдрал хөтөлбөрийн удирдагч (сайн дурын ажилтан)-аар ажилладаг бөгөөд өөрийн удирдсан хурлын хэсгийг голын эрэг дээрх ногоон зүлгэн дээр явуулсан. Харин дараа нь орой буцахдаа тэр голоо гаталсан.

Thank you to Indra Oyunbaatar, MUST, for this translation.