Portal is an organization dedicated to fighting poverty, founded in 2013 as Portal Bikes in Kathmandu, Nepal. Their vision is to “see the world set free by the bicycle”. The earthquake of 2015 led Portal to become involved with developing housing solutions to aid in the crisis that required more than 800,000 new homes. In addition to producing cargo bicycles, they continue to provide Portal Prefab building kits for houses, schools and community centers across Nepal.
Portal approached EMI in early 2016 for engineering design of the workshop they were planning to build on the outskirts of Kathmandu. EMI India provided site drainage, slope stability, and structural engineering design in back and forth collaboration with Portal who were acting as the architect, steel fabricator, and contractor for the project. The 830 square meter facility was completed in early 2017, and serves as manufacturing and office space for Portal’s operations. The building is a 2 story steel frame, with moment frames in one direction and braced bays in the other. Steel construction is gaining traction in Nepal after the earthquake, and the Portal workshop is an excellent example of what can be done with structural steel as a building material.