INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme: Announcing the Grantees

Committed to supporting innovative solutions rooted in local wisdom to address the modern challenges of the built environment, we are proud to announce the selection of the first cohort of grantees for the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme.

INTBAU is delighted to announce our 2024 Grassroots grantees. £25,000 in seed funding has been awarded to 5 projects, supporting an inspirational range of work, from community-led construction efforts empowering women masons in India, to pioneering research on traditional building techniques in Belgium.

‘By supporting this diverse range of projects, we aim to catalyse the development of better places to live around the globe, grounded in the belief that traditional architecture builds communities, helps individuals identify with their surroundings, and offers an inherent form of sustainability based on local knowledge of materials, climates, and contexts’.

INTBAU Executive Director Alexander Lamont Bishop, describing the impact that INTBAU hopes to achieve through the Grassroots Grants Programme.

Following the application period from August to November 2023 inviting proposals for new or existing projects, the international selection committee was overwhelmed by the remarkable response, reviewing an impressive 75 applications from 37 countries across 6 continents, reflecting a global resonance with our mission.

After rigorous deliberation, we are pleased to introduce the five projects that have been chosen to receive funding support, each with great potential to create positive impact on the future of their local built environment, and embodying the spirit of tradition, sustainability, and community engagement that lies at the heart of the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme.

In the call for application from August to November 2023, the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme received 75 applications from over 30 countries across 6 continents.

Meet the Grantees

Training Scholarships for Workshops on Documentation and Restoration of Architectural Heritage and Cultural Landscape in the M’hamid and Ich Oases

By Terrachidia, Morocco

Terrachidia’s initiative focuses on revitalising architectural heritage and cultural landscapes in the M’hamid and Ich Oases in Morocco. With a history of engagement dating back to 2012, Terrachidia is deeply embedded within these communities, fostering collaborative efforts to safeguard their traditional building techniques and empower local artisans.

The project encompasses a series of workshops on architectural documentation and restoration, empowering women’s cooperatives, and a year-round communication campaign for knowledge sharing. The INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme will provide critical support to amplify the impact of these initiatives by funding the participation in the workshops of students and professionals from developing countries, contributing to the apprenticeship programmes for women cooperatives, and funding the communications campaign to share the workshops’ results.

Terrachidia’s holistic approach holds immense potential for long-term impact on the built environment challenges faced by the oases, offering a blueprint for sustainable development and cultural preservation in vulnerable regions worldwide, and encouraging the new generations to embrace traditional architecture as solutions to modern challenges.

Upskilling and Training Initiatives for Women Masons

By Masons Ink Studio, India

Masons Ink’s groundbreaking initiative focuses on upskilling and training women in vernacular construction techniques, aiming to bridge the gender gap prevalent in the industry. Based in Bangalore, Masons Ink Studio collaborates closely with a community of women workers, empowering them with the knowledge and expertise necessary to become proficient in traditional building methods.

With a strong emphasis on dignity of work, gender parity and community engagement, Masons Ink also cultivates leadership and entrepreneurship within their trainees. Their project will deliver skilling and capacity building of women masons in alternative and sustainable building techniques and collaboration partner gender organisations. This collaborative approach, which combines traditional techniques with updated design principles, holds immense potential for transforming the local construction landscape and empowering marginalised communities.

By providing critical funding and support, the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme supports Masons Ink in expanding its training initiatives towards establishing a sustainable contracting firm, and ultimately, serve as a catalyst for widespread change in gender disparity as well as the urgent need for carbon neutral solutions in the construction industry.

Itinerant Workshop on Traditional Building Techniques

By Boulouki, Greece

Boulouki, a versatile collective of architects, engineers, and heritage professionals, is dedicated to revitalising traditional craftsmanship for contemporary construction needs.

At the heart of their proposal lies the sustainable renovation of an old school building in Frasta village, Central Tzoumerka (Epirus), destined to become a centre for traditional building techniques in Greece. This meaningful project encompasses two comprehensive studies: one focused on the restoration of the timber roof, and the other on the design of a lime-based plastering system for the interior spaces. These studies, guided by Boulouki’s core values of sustainability and community engagement, will serve as pilots for the rehabilitation of historic buildings, blending preservation with modern functionality.

By fostering local participation and entrepreneurship, Boulouki aims to create a thriving ecosystem centred around the school, where education, research, practice, and public dialogue converge. The INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme will support Boulouki for delivery of the studies, along with the production of the publication for dissemination purposes, contributing to the promotion and formalisation in current practices of energy efficient, traditional and sustainable building practices, based on local context.

One of the design proposals for the roof reconstruction as a Hammer-Beam structure.

Sustainable Building Techniques: A Scholarly Exploration of Historical Practices

By the Antalya Bilim University Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture, Turkey

The project led by Antalya Bilim University Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture aims to revive the unique building technique known as Buttoned Houses (düğmeli evler), found exclusively in the mountain village of Antalya. These houses stand as a testament to the region’s rich architectural heritage, showcasing the efficient use of indigenous materials and craftsmanship.

By constructing a demonstration unit using the buttoned construction system, the project seeks to preserve this indigenous building technique and highlight its relevance in contemporary building. Through an international architectural competition, exhibition, internship opportunities, and educational workshops, the project will engage students and visitors in hands-on learning experiences, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for traditional building techniques.

The project offers a sustainable solution to modern built environment challenges by promoting the use of local materials and craftsmanship. With funding support from the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme, the project will contribute to the long-term sustainability of construction practices, ensuring that local wisdom is safeguarded for future generations.

Research project: Load Bearing Walls Made of Alveolated Terracotta Blocks, a Durable Solution for the Future of New Constructions in Belgium

By La Table Ronde de l’Architecture, Belgium

Led by Nadia Naty Everard and Noe Morin from La Table Ronde de l’Architecture, this research project focuses on addressing the pressing challenges faced by the construction industry, particularly the detrimental impact of current construction techniques on the durability and sustainability of buildings. The overreliance on reinforced concrete construction has led to complex cavity wall systems that are prone to waterproofing issues and are difficult to recycle. Recognising the urgent need for alternatives to concrete, the project proposes a return to traditional building methods using alveolated terracotta blocks.

The proposal aims to research the practical, ecological, and economic advantages of using cellular terracotta blocks in construction, both for load-bearing structures and internal walls. These blocks offer several benefits over conventional construction materials, including simplicity in construction, natural insulation properties, regulation of hygrometry, and reduced environmental impact. Additionally, alveolated terracotta blocks provide opportunities for architectural creativity and aesthetic enhancement.

The INTBAU Grassroots Grants Prorgramme will support the project’s comprehensive study, including documentation, scientific research, case studies, interviews, and dissemination activities. By showcasing the competitive advantages and environmental benefits of alveolated terracotta blocks, this research project has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry and contribute to the revitalisation of traditional building practices in Belgium and beyond.

The Selection Process

In August 2023, we announced the launch of the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme, aiming to provide funding for projects that test ideas rooted in local responses to climate and context, while acknowledging that despite the potential of traditional and vernacular design solutions to create built environments that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, they often remain underrepresented or overlooked in mainstream discourse.

We shared the call for application with our global network and partners, inviting proposals for new or existing projects. Interested parties were encouraged to submit their initial application of up to 3 pages of text or a video of up to 3 minutes addressing key information.

The 75 applications received were reviewed in a two-stage process. Initial applications were reviewed by an international selection committee comprising members of the INTBAU International Council of Chapters. Shortlisted projects were asked to submit additional materials to address specific questions raised by the selection committee. Finally, the committee conducted in-depth interviews with finalists to gather insights into their projects’ objectives and alignment with the organisation’s goals.

After rigorous deliberation, the selection committee chose 5 outstanding projects that best reflect the clarity and relevance of the idea, its offering of a solution for the built environment and incorporation of local context, potential for longer impact, and evidence of the applicant’s suitability to take the idea forward.

A heartfelt thank you to our esteemed Network for championing INTBAU’s Grassroots Grants Programme

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the selected grantees and express our profound gratitude to all applicants for their dedication to shaping a better future for our built environment. The wealth of ideas presented reinforces our belief in the power of community-rooted wisdom to provide substantial solutions to modern challenges.

By supporting committed changemakers, our goal is not only to extend a helping hand but also to shine a light on the valuable traditional knowledge embedded in communities.

Stay tuned for updates as we work closely with the grantees to support the realisation of their projects and share their inspiring stories with the world.

Contact information and programme updates

Contact Information

For more information about the INTBAU Grassroots Grants Programme, the categories, requirements and types of projects welcomed, please visit Grassroots | INTBAU.

For enquiries about the projects, please contact Antonio Quiroz, INTBAU Communications Manager, at

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