From the Front – Ron Barstow, AIA

Afghanistan – I have been in country (Afghanistan) for two months now and It doesn’t seem like it has been a very long time. This is a forward base and very busy with troops coming and going and all kinds of equipment. The camp is a city of over 20,000 and there is plenty of work to be done. Housing is a big problem replacing tents with pre engineered buildings. One of the first things I noticed on my arrival was that there were not many shaded areas. No roof overhangs and no means of natural ventilation. Security concerns are part of the problem and blowing dust presents a lot of problems as well. The buildings are built with a system called frame CAD (an automated construction system). It will literally frame anything, so I can see a great opportunity for constructing an elevated roof system allowing for maximum ventilation above the insulated structure. Including large overhangs to shade the walls. This type of design will also provide shaded corridors and small shaded areas for the troops to meet and hang out. There are no gathering spaces like this on base. This entire base is a design build operation and being able to use my sketchUp skills has proven to be the deciding factor on getting ideas across to management and contractors. It is very fast paced and an exciting place to be. Ron Barstow Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan