The Story of a Brick
ईंटको कथा is a children's book written and illustrated by Kamara Projects as a response to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. The book is part of a long-term commitment to seismic safety in the region, which is not only a technical challenge, but involves re-imagining the way people build structures on ground that is tectonically unstable. ईंटको कथा and teacher training sessions in Kathmandu are two ways Kamara Projects is working on making knowledge about architecture, earthquakes, geology, and seismic engineering more accessible to the general public.
ईंटको कथा charts the journey of a brick-sized fragment of lacustrine clay lying beneath the floor of the lake that once filled the Kathmandu Valley. After the lake drains out, people settle into the fertile valley left behind. The clay fragment is eventually dug up from under the soil and fired. A brick is formed. It becomes a part of a mud-mortar house but one day a devastating earthquake strikes and the house is reduced to rubble. The brick is reborn to become part of a new structure, strongly held together.
The story's illustrations encompass geological time and space but also narrow down to the far smaller scale of a wall section. The story and illustrations challenge readers to imagine spaces and temporalities that surround them but may not previously have been thought of together. An understanding of orthographic projection is also conveyed with the liberal use of geological and architectural cross-sections as the basis of connecting what is above ground to what is below, and what is inside to what is outside.
The Story of a Brick is translated by Kamal Mani Dixit and published by Rato Bangala Kitab with assistance from USAID, the Ministry of Education and the Government of Nepal. The publication is in Nepali and will be reissued in English as a second edition in 2016.