Las Malvinas team in front of the town's sign

This page discusses the Las Malvinas botica popular project from summer, 2015. This project entails finishing the building of the botica popular that was built by previous Practivistas students in 2013. This includes finishing all of the building's wall plaster, putting in a floor, and providing the necessary materials needed for the electric plan of the building as well.

Background[edit | edit source]

This project was included in Lonny Grafman's Practivistas summer program through Cal Poly Humboldt HSU. It took place from May 22-July 4, 2015 in the small community, Las Malvinas, located in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The task at hand was to finish the botica popular, which was built in summer, 2013, by other Practivista students Las Malvinas botica popular hullkrete 2013. Working with the community, seven Practivistas students designed and implemented this project based on the current criteria at hand. The project team was composed of a group of six students studying at Cal Poly Humboldt, all members of Lonny Grafman's Practivistas program. The project entailed making and applying plaster to the botica, laying out a floor for it, and providing materials needed for the electric plan of the building.

Fig 1: The Botica Popular upon our first inspection this trip

Objective[edit | edit source]

The objective of this project is to complete the botica popular in Las Malvinas in a way that best fits the criteria discussed, while hopefully providing the community with a finished product of what will become a reliable source of much needed medicine.

Criteria[edit | edit source]

The criteria below represents key aspects of this project in weighted form, which is a list of the key elements providing support and foundation to the design and building decisions made throughout. It stands as a guide to all decision-making for this project.

Criteria and Description
Criteria Weight Description
Safety 10 The structure must provide security for those using it as well as trust in the structure. It is also important that the materials used to create the structure cause no harm to the public, or less harm than the standard, given that necessary safety precautions are taken.
Durability 9 The lifespan is suitable for the consumer given that the money needed to fix or replace the structure can be saved by the time the structure is in need. The structure is also able to withstand the extremes of average weather conditions.
Environmental Impact 9 To have a less negative affect on the world than the standard that's commonly used.
Aesthetics 7 Build a finished looking, smooth and trustworthy structure.
Time 6 The importance of spending all of the constrained amount of time on a given project.
Educational Value 6 The ability for the building to be easily understood and more deeply learned about and replicated if there was a desire to do so.
Cost 5 The importance of spending all of the constrained amount of money on a given project.
Accesibility of Materials 5 The time it takes to obtain a material must be within the constrained amount. As well the ability to transport the material should be taken into consideration for whether it can be carried or delivered in that set amount of time.

Literature Review[edit | edit source]

See Las Malvinas Botica Popular 2015/Literature Review for the research done on this project.

Construction[edit | edit source]

  • Picture and file of completed Botica in sketch up.
Figure-#: AutoCAD drawing of the botica.
Figure-#: Representation of the botica drawn on AutoCAD

How To[edit | edit source]

Apply Plaster[edit | edit source]

Below is a table describing a common method for plastering a wall. This table is built on the assumption that one has already gathered materials/supplies and have already made the plaster being used. Also note that there are many different methods of applying plaster to a wall; the following table describes one of these ways.

Steps Instructions
Step 1
Figure-1: Leveling wall using wood and a level tool.
Figure-1: Leveling the wall
Level Wall. This is done often in doorways and the tops of walls so that the applied plaster will be evenly distributed along the wall of interest's perimeter.
Step 2
Figure-2: Mixing the plaster in the big bucket before distributing to smaller ones.
Figure-2: Carley mixing the plaster to make sure it has a good consistency
Use the trowel to mix the water in with the plaster to ensure the correct consistency; Use the trowel to lift some of the plaster and drop it. Do this three times until you have a smooth consistency.
Step 3
Figure-3: Splashing Water.
Figure-3: Enrique splashing water in order to prep wall for plaster
Water down wall. This can be done easily by poking a hole through the cap of a water bottle and then spraying the wall.
Step 4
Figure-4: Applying plaster.
Figure-4: Enrique applying an outward/upward pressure on the wall to make sure plaster sticks
Use the trowel to lift some of the plaster and drop it. Do this three times until you have a smooth consistency, now scoop some plaster onto the backside of a trowel and place against wall at an upward, acute angle so that the plaster is in between the wall and the trowel. Apply pressure while pressing upward (sometimes at a diagonal direction) along the wall. Plaster should stick well to the wall.
Step 5
Figure-5: Using the trowel to smooth out plaster.
Figure-5: Junior using a trowel to smooth out plaster on the wall
Smooth out small areas of plaster on the wall with a flat/rectangular trowel to give the plastered part a smoother/cleaner look and then repeat this and Step 4 until the entire wall is covered in a layer of plaster.
Step 6
Figure-6: Drying wall.
Figure 6: Wall Drying
When the wall is covered in plaster, let it dry a little bit for approximately 20 minutes. Less, the wall might be a little too wet for the next step; but more time, the wall will be too dry, making the next step difficult to tackle.
Step 7
Figure-7: Location of Rainbow Walkway at Zane Middle School.
Figure-7: Kaileigh using a wood float to smooth, prior to knowing the sponge technique.
Smoothing time for the wall. When smoothing, the wall must be wet to use the wood float, but it's much easier to use a sponge to both wet, and smooth the wall. Using this method, push a wet sponge against the wall in circular motion. Little pressure is needed, but it depends upon how wet the sponge is (more pressure if less wet). The plaster should look blended together and well-distributed, giving the entire wall a smoother/leveled look. During this step, the plasterer must look out for uneven indents or spots on the wall and fill them using Step 4 and 5, if needed. The entire wall needs to be evened and mixed using this sponge method.
Step 8
Figure-8: Location of Rainbow Walkway at Zane Middle School.
Figure-8: Kaileigh and Lexie admiring the finished plaster on the bottle wall.
When the plaster is dry, the wood levels can be taken down, and the wall can then be admired for eternity.

How To[edit | edit source]

Plaster Test[edit | edit source]

The following table describes the two main tests performed on a dry, plastered wall. These tests will determine whether the plaster will be sufficient in providing enough strength and resilience to use on the wall.

Steps Instructions
Step 1
Figure-#: The Water Test.
Figure-9: Water Test
The first of two tests performed for checking if the plaster used is sufficient, is called the "water test". Using a water bottle with a hole in it's cap or side is most useful. Stand in front of the wall and apply pressure to the water bottle so that it is hitting the same place on the plastered wall for about 60 seconds. The duration and distance from the wall are dependent upon the pressure of the water source. The most important thing is to keep these parameters consistent between tests, in order to make meaningful comparisons. If there is no significant indent made in the plaster, the plaster passed the water test. If the water burrows a hole in the plaster, the size of the indentations can be compared.
Step 2
Figure-#: Scratch Test.
Figure-10: Carley performing the scratch test to the plastered wall.
For the scratch test, the second test performed, one must use a metal brush to apply a consistent pressure on the wall while pressing up and down 100 times. If this creates an indent or hole in the plaster, then the plaster used will not pass this test. As with the water test, the degree of failure can be compared to determine the most promising recipes to iterate upon.
Step 2
Figure-11: Scratch Test Results.
Figure-11 Results of the scratch test performed inside the Botica.
Scratched the wall 100 times with the wire brush. Almost all of the plaster came off.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

The following is a timeline composed of the tasks assigned and achieved as well as the dates.

Date Tasks
28 May 2015
  • Literature review
  • Community meeting at Las Malvinas II
29 May 2015 Meeting with Eddie at Las Malvinas II
  • Took notes on current state of Destacamento: how many blocks, current square footage
  • Took notes on current state of Botica Popular: which walls need plaster, what square footage needs plaster, of what composition are the current blocks and plaster
03 June 2015 Meeting with Gregorio and Enrique
  • Made list of materials needed to both purchase and obtain from the community
  • Made tentative schedule for following two weeks
05 June 2015 Made first iteration of caliche plaster recipe and applied to an inner wall of the Botica
06 June 2015 UNIBE Architecture camping day
07 June 2015 Research on plaster to decide on materials needed to purchase
08 June 2015 Tested dried plaster on inner wall of Botica and gathered supplies
09 June 2015 Made 6 different plasters to test that all include different materials such as two types of sand, flour, human hair collected from a local barber
  • Flour was made correctly this time by first dissolving the flour in cool water before adding it to the boiling water
10 June 2015 Research on flooring to decide on materials needed to purchase
11 June 2015 Tested 6 plaster tests, gathered supplies for floors and plaster
  • Plaster without hair performed better in the scratch test
  • Darker sand performed better on water test, lighter sand performed better in scratch test
12 June 2015
  • Removed some of the previous plaster as well as some of the filling and bottles - prepping wall to be plastered, attempting to even out
  • Placed some of the wood framing on the walls
13 June 2015
  • Bought supplies to get ready for plastering
  • Double-sifted caliche and sand
  • Placed wood framing on walls that needed it
14 June 2015 Plastered three interior walls, window frame, one outside wall and began plastering on two other outside walls
16 June 2015
  • Plastered over walls whose plaster did not pass our brush and/or water test
  • Smoothed many of the walls plastered
  • Plaster needed for one entire wall and a small amount to the outer wall then smoothing for both
  • Shoveled much of the large waste plaster and dirt out of the building to prep for the flooring
18 June 2015 Continued plastering and smoothing in the botica
19 June 2015 Ordered materials to use for the floor in the Botica since the previously purchased cement was used in plastering
20 June 2015 Beach day, required relaxation
21 June 2015
  • Continued plastering the botica, finished the second room's horizontal beam, and began plastering the first room's horizontal beam
  • Plastered the doorway
23 June 2015
  • Split up into groups: one group for plastering the botica and cleaning the floors, and the second group for more block making.
  • Horizontal beam and in front room and doorway of entryway worked on, only missing one side of the horizontal beam and whatever tiny fill-ins are left

Costs[edit | edit source]

The following table includes all purchases made to contribute to the Botica Popular. Items are listed multiple times according to how many times they were purchased. Some items were purchased at the same location and some were not.

Cost of materials
Material Source Quantity Costo (RD$) Cost ($)
25 lb Harina Colmado Genesis 1 500 11.14
Caja Plastica 2" Ferreteria Cuesta 4 60 1.34
Pala Cuadrada Ferreteria Cuesta 2 760 16.93
Nicholson Hoja Segueta Ferreteria Cuesta 2 74 1.65
Bellota Llana P/AL Ferreteria Cuesta 2 440 9.80
Flota de Madera Ferreteria Cuesta 4 164 3.65
Flota de Goma Ferreteria Cuesta 4 140 3.12
1/2 lb Clavos Acero Ferreteria Cuesta 1 28 0.62
Martillo Ferreteria Cuesta 1 235 5.24
Plywood 1/2" (4'x8') Okume o Brazil Ferremix 1 980 21.83
Madera 1"x4" de 14' Bruta PinoAmer Ferremix 7 1505 33.53
Cepillo de Acerco Farmacia Carnina 1 35 0.78
Plana Albañil Farmacia Carnina 2 100 2.23
Cubeta Plastica 4x5 Farmacia Carnina 2 300 6.68
Cal de 10lb Ferreteria Suazo 1 60 1.34
Cedazo para Albail de Madera Ferreteria Suazo 1 225 5.01
Guantes Damas Ferreteria Suazo 3 135 3.01
Plana China #7 Ferreteria Suazo 2 120 2.67
Mascarilla Especial Ferreteria Suazo 7 420 9.36
Cal Hidratada Innova Centro 2 576 12.83
Funda de Cemento Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 6 1380 30.74
Metero Cúbico de Arena Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 1 800 17.82
1 Libra de Harina Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 4 80 1.78
Guantes Industrial de Latex Super Potente el Defensor del Bolsillo 2 132 2.94
Pítcher Plastico Super Potente el Defensor del Bolsillo 1 145 3.23
Martillo Ferremix 1 315 7.02
Martillo Ferremix 1 187 4.16
Guantes Ferremix 2 290 6.46
Lona de 3x4 Ferremix 1 490 10.91
Cinta Metrica 8mts. Ferremix 2 400 8.91
Mini-Pala P/Jardin Ferremix 3 240 5.35
Galon de Gasolina (cocina la harina) Propa Gas 12.2 1000 22.27
Scoba Tienda Local 1 125 2.78
Guantes Damas Ferreteria La Formula 2 100 2.23
Llana Ferreteria La Formula 1 225 5.01
Libra Empañete Ferreteria Local 1/4 225 5.01
Libra de Harina Colmado Genesis 4 80 1.78
Libra de Harina Colmado Genesis 3.5 60 1.34
Fundas de Cemento Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 7 1610 35.87
Fundas de Cemento Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 7 1610 35.87
Metero Cúbico de Arena Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 1 800 17.82
Fundas de Cemento Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 9 1980 44.09
Metero Cúbico de Arena Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 1 800 17.82
Mascarilla Desechable Ferrecentro Peque 70 70 1.56
Guante Motorista Trupper Ferreteria Suazo 2 120 2.67
Alambre Picodo Ferreteria Vasquez Martes 2 80 1.78
Disco Corte Ferreteria "Santa Ana" 3 615 13.70
Barra Cuadrada 1/2x20 Forjados del Caribe 8 2407 53.60
Perfil Negro 1x1 Forjados del Caribe 8 742 53.60
Tola Negra Lisa 1/20 4x8 57lb Forjados del Caribe 1 1132 25.21
Tola Negra Lisa 1/20x48x48 (Mitad) Forjados del Caribe 1 597 1329
Cerr. Yale Italy 610-40 Forjados del Caribe 1 1097 24.43
Pestillo -PL-5/8 M/Largo Forjados del Caribe 1 110 2.45
Domastur, Mant. Gris Claro Forjados del Caribe 2 494 11.00
Thinner 1/2 Boltella Forjados del Caribe 2 102 2.27
Brocha Zeus 2" Forjados del Caribe 2 68 1.51
Total 28781 640.93
Cost of materials (Electric Supplies for Solar Team)
Material Source Quantity Costo (RD$) Cost ($)
Tomacoriente Blanco Ferreteria Cuesta 8 544 12.12
Alambre Electrica (200 pies) Ferreteria Cuesta 2 2080 46.34
Bticino Caja Plastica Ferreteria Cuesta 5 135 3.01
Caja T/GE Breaker Ferreteria Cuesta 1 420 9.36
Tijera Forjada Corte Ferremix 1 210 4.68
Tape Electrico Ferreteria Cuesta 1 47 1.05
Caja Electrica 2x4 Ferremix 3 102 2.27
Tubos 1/2x19 Ferremix 5 294 6.55
Total 3832 85.75

Tests[edit | edit source]

Plastering Day 1: Recipe[edit | edit source]

All measurements have been taken using a 5 gallon bucket with a 12 inch diameter. Some measurements are in inches and some in centimeters for greatest degree of accuracy.

Todas las medidads estan echas usando un cubete de 5 galones con un diámetro de 12 pulgadas. Unas de las medidas estan en centímetros mientras otras estan en pulgadas para mayor grado de precisión.

Plastering Day 1 Recipe
Componente Amount Español Source = Fuente
Flour = Harina de Trigo 6 lb 4 oz 6 lb 4 oz Colmado en Las Mavinas
Water = Agua 3 gallons 3 galones Enrique y Marta
Lime = Cal 1/4 bucket = 2.75 inches from bottom 1/4 de un cubete = 2.75 pulgadas del base Ferreteria
Caliche 9.25 cm from the bottom 9.25 cm del base Donated by Vasquez
Sand = Arena Donated by Vasquez

Plastering Day 1[edit | edit source]

Steps[edit | edit source]

See Botica Plastering Day down page for more accurate wheat paste plaster instructions

Plastering Day 2: Instructions[edit | edit source]

Make Wheat Paste Based Eco-Plaster
Step 1: Make wheat paste
Step 2: Sift sand and caliche (we forgot to sift the caliche so we had to drain it out of our wet mixture and add more sifted caliche into it which required estimation).
Step 3: Mix lime with water. Wear safety gear because lime is toxic to lung health, eyes, and will burn your skin! Then add lime mixture and caliche to flour paste.
Step 4: Add sand to texture. You want the plaster to be thick and stick to itself but not be so thick you can't spread it.
Step 5: Process your fiber. Wash, dry, and pull apart. We used hair from the local barber shop, but it was likely too short for adequate tensile strength.
Step 6: Test your plaster!.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

Maintenance for the botica is fairly straight-forward. Since this building is so significant in the community, giving them access to cheap medicine locally, the utmost care must be given to the building. The building should be monitored for leaks on a consistent and normal basis... especially since the inner wall is covered in natural plaster, which didn't pass both plaster tests, so if exposed to weather, it can be degraded. Taking care of locking up the door at night and not letting children come play inside of the building can extend the life of its features as well.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Testing results[edit | edit source]

Below, are the recipes used and results gathered from the different wall plasters applied and tested. Please not flour paste, lime, and caliche were added together into one large batch, then separated into thirds, for 3 batches. Each of the three batches was then divided by 2, and half was used for each test (for example, one black sand with secante and without hair, the other one black sand with secante and with hair). Half of the flour paste mixture for the third batch (to be used to test both sands) was lost, resulting in a smaller batch and thus a smaller quantity of sand used. Quantities of sand recorded are for one third of the batch, not for each individual test.

Ingredient Type of Measurement Plaster 1: Black Sand, no hair, with secante Plaster 1.2: Black Sand, with hair, with secante Plaster 2: Yellow/Sharp Sand, no hair, with secante Plaster 2.2: Yellow/Sharp Sand, with hair, with secante Plaster 3: Both sands, no hair, no secante Plaster 3.2: Both sands, no hair, with secante
Yellow Sand trowelfuls (eyeballed to thick goopy texture) 0 4 1
Black Sand trowelfuls (eyeballed) 6 4 1
Human Hair Handful 0 1 0 1 0 0.5
Secante (AS 600 Dryant) Capful 0.5 0.5 1 1 0 0.5
Flour Paste mixture (containts wheat, water, caliche, lime) - follow steps pictured above and quantities listed below portion of mixture 1/3 1/3 1/2 of 1/3 due to accidental loss
Scratch Test Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed?
Water Test Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed? Passed?
Final Desirable plaster quantities (for 3 batches)
Componente Amount Español Source = Fuente
Flour = Harina de Trigo Four 20 oz pitches of wheat Quatre jarras de 20 onzas fluida Colmado en Las Mavinas
Water = Agua 2 pitches cold water, mixed with the flour until pancake batter consistency (very important! add more flour if not pancakey), then added to 2 pitchers boiling water. 3 galones Enrique y Marta
Lime = Cal 3/4 of 20 oz pitcher 3/4 de una jarra Ferreteria
Caliche One 5 gallon bucket (9.25 cm of bucket per batch x3 = 27.75 cm, one bucket=~25 cm) Uno cubeta de 5 galones Donated by Vasquez
Sand = Arena Eyeballed to thick goopy consistency Donated by Vasquez
Plaster Tests: Before and After
Before After Scratch Test After Water Test
Black sand, with hair, with secante.
Black sand, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Black sand, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Black sand, no hair, with secante.
Black sand, no hair, with secante. Showed very little damage after scratch test.
Black sand, no hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Yellow sand, with hair, with secante.
Fine sand, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Fine sand, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Fine sand, no hair, with secante.
Fine sand, no hair, with secante. Showed very little damage after scratch test.
Fine sand, no hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Both sands, with hair, with secante.
Both sands, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Both sands, with hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Both sands, no hair, with secante.
Both sands, no hair, with secante. Did not perform well.
Both sands, no hair, with secante. Did not perform well.

Discussion[edit | edit source]

Both types of sand performed well when the recipe included secante and excluded a fiber. However, none of the recipes passed the water test adequately for outdoor use. It was decided that the fine sand recipe would be used for the indoor plastering, and a cement recipe would be used for the outside work.

Next steps[edit | edit source]

The current state of the Botica Popular is that the construction is completed, paint may be added if desired, the 2015 Solar Team installed a solar panel that provides electricity to the building as well as installed lighting. One of the members of the community, Enrique, installed a door and windows to the building which means that all solar equipment is protected. A floor was also installed into the Botica Popular so the only thing lacking is medicine and someone to sell the medicine. We hope the Botica Popular will be running soon.

Current State[edit | edit source]

Today the Botica Popular in Las Malvinas is completed. The Naturals Building team reinforced exterior and interior of necessary areas with plaster. We perfected windows and door-ways with symmetry. The Solar team installed a fully working system. This system provides the building with electricity. There is a door securing entry and all windows are finished. The Botica is ready for operation and business!

La Botica Popular: Finished Product

Team[edit | edit source]

The Las Malvinas natural building team, Practivistas 2015:

The Powderpuff Girls. Plus Isabel and Lonny.

Natural Building Team Video[edit | edit source]




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