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Building together with a village community

“We feel that the new idea of mud house building has
already brought great hope and opportunities for promotion
of housing for the poor in rural Bangladesh.“
Paul Tigga Dipshikha, Bangladesh

Rudrapur lies in the north of the most densely populated country on the earth. Poverty and the lack of an infrastructure drive many people from the countryside into the cities. The local NGO Dipshikha attempts to follow new paths with its development programme: the intention is to give the rural population perspectives and to help people learn about the value of the village in all its complexity. Part of this is a special school concept that instils in the children self-confidence and independence with the aim of strengthening their sense of identity.
Anna Heringer developed this starting point in her project 'school handmade'. After making a preparatory analysis of the village and the development with three further Linz students in 2002, Heringer, who has known the country for years, devoted her diploma thesis to a school building for Rudrapur that was carried out in 2005. The intention was to link the inhabitants of the village, school pupils and teachers with the project. Traditional building techniques were adopted and developed further. Clay and bamboo are existing, inexpensive local materials that have excellent qualities for coping with the sub-tropical climate. Local workers were involved in the construction work. The project achieved a widespread effect and acceptance within the village, making it possible to hand on the improved technology that we had developed in conjunction with experts in earth building and bamboo construction.

SCHOOL HANDMADE Rudrapur, Bangladesh
Planning phase: 03/2004 – 10/2004 | Realisation on site: 09/2005 – 12/2005, 02/2006 – 03/2006 | Building: School building with 6 classrooms 325m2 Concept and design: diploma thesis by Anna Heringer | Diploma supervisor: Roland Gnaiger | Construction supervision: Eike Roswag | Solar simulation: Oskar Pankratz | Bamboo construction: Emmanuel Heringer, Uwe Seiler | Earthbuilding: Martin Rauch, Christof Ziegert | Partner: Dipshikha, Habitat of Humanity Bangladesh, Technische Universität Berlin | Awards: GEA Award, Emerging Architecture Award, Architectural Review Honorable Mention, Architectural Association & EES’s Environmental Techtonics Competition 2006

Anna Heringer, Tobias Hagleitner, Ursula Nikodem- Edlinger, Petra Rager, Cornelia Reithofer, Gunar Wilhelm

HOMEmade - Bangladesh
Building together with a village community

All three family houses conform to both the traditional and contemporary lifestyles of rural low-income families, but have incorporated design and construction features that improve comfort, safety, durability, and privacy. As in traditional vernacular Bangladeshi architecture, the kitchen and bathroom are still housed in separate structures. The new buildings have two stories, however, which double the family living area while maintaining the same building footprint. The land saved by adding the second story can be used as a small house garden. The second story provides a new experience of view and privacy while still being connected to the rest of the household.
Roof thermal masses, coconut fiber insulation, glass windows, and openings designed for cross ventilation assure that the indoor temperature is comfortable year round.

Special issues: Save land, increased thermal comfort for low- income families

HOMEmade Rudrapur, Bangladesh
Awarding Authority: The building owners and Dipshikha (Non-formal Education Training and Research Society for Village Development) I Location: Rudrapur and Vishnupur, Dinajpur district, Bangladesh I Design: participating students I Conzept: Anna Heringer I Supervision Design: Anna Heringer, Khondaker Hasibul Kabir I Construction and technical Supervision: Stefan Neumann I Bauleitung: Stefan Neumann, Montu Ram Saw, Azit Ray I Consulting: Martin Rauch (earthbuilding), Oskar Pankratz (solar simulation)

BRAC University Dhaka, Bangladesh: Adrita Anwar, Shoeb Al-Rahe, Tanmay Chakrabarty, Omar Faruque, Majeda Khatun, Imrul Kayes, Gazi Fazle Rahim, Suvashis Saha I University of art and design Linz, Austria: Cornelia Bräuer, Katharina Doblinger, Belinda Meinhart, Verena Schoißengeyr, Anna Wolf

vocational school for electrical training

The DESI building is a new interpretation of the traditional Bangladeshi homestead. Typically in rural Bangladesh all of the various household functions - eating, sleeping, washing, etc. - are performed in separate structures that are built around a central courtyard. The DESI building, however, attempts to incorporate all of the functions of working and living into a single structure. The design is geared toward a lifestyle that is no longer linked with agriculture, but still linked to the rural context and culture. „It is very difficult to find educated persons who like to live in rural areas.“ (Paul Tigga, Executive director of Dipshikha) DESI is an attempt to find adequate solutions for an enhanced rural living that also shows the next level of building development.
The crucial moment in development is the step from low-income to middle class houses. The trend in Bangladesh shows it very clear – it is a shift in the building materials – from earth to fired brick. What the DESI building wants to show is that the difference between a basic and developed architecture lies in an increased input on craftsmanship, on technical know-how and creativity. This shows a very fair way of development that doesn’t create a gap between poor and rich nor old and modern. It is a motivation for enhancing craftsmanship, a support on local markets and an increasing cultural pride and sense of identity.
It’s all the same materials.

DESI (Dipshikha Electrical Skill Improvement) is a vocational school for electrical training. The DESI building houses two classrooms, two offices, and two residences for the school instructors. There is a separate bathroom with two showers and two toilets for the teachers and a bathroom facility with toilets and sinks on the ground floor for the students.

Solar panels produce 100% of the building’s energy needs. A solar thermal heating system provides warm water. Solar panels also directly power a motor which pumps water from a well into the water tank. The toilets have their own two-chamber septic tank. This is the first time that sanitary units have been built into earth houses in Bangladesh, proving that mud and bamboo are flexible enough to accommodate modern lifestyle requirements.

The building is a perfect balance of high tech and low tech – very basic building methods are combined with modern, alternative energy power systems. Because the building is passively heated and cooled and optimizes natural light and ventilation, the relatively small solar panel and battery system provides all of the power the building requires.

DESI Rudrapur, Bangladesh
Awarding Authority: Dipshikha (Non-formal Education Training and Research Society for Village Development) I Location: Rudrapur, Dinajpur district, Bangladesh I Design: Anna Heringer I Construction: Stefan Neumann I Site Supervision: Stefan Neumann, Montu Ram Saw, Anna Heringer, Shoeb Al Rahe I Consulting: Martin Rauch (Lehmbau), Oskar Pankraz (Energie), Jakob Schaub (Solar)