METI – Handmade School in Rudrapur, Bangladesh

Architects: Anna Heringer, Eike Roswag 
Design/ Concept: Anna Heringer
Technical Planning: Eike Roswag

“… beautiful, meaningful and humane…”

Jury of The Aga Khan Award for Architecture

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.

“This joyous and elegant two-storey primary school in rural Bangladesh has emerged from a deep understanding of local materials and a heart-felt connection to the local community. Its innovation lies in the adaptation of traditional methods and materials of construction to create light-filled celebratory spaces as well as informal spaces for children. Earthbound materials such as loam and straw are combined with lighter elements like bamboo sticks and nylon lashing to shape a built form that addresses sustainability in construction in an exemplary manner. The design solution may not be replicable in other parts of the Islamic world, as local conditions vary, but the approach – which allows new design solutions to emerge from an in-depth knowledge of the local context and ways of building - clearly provides a fresh and hopeful model for sustainable building globally. The final result of this heroic volunteer effort is a building that creates beautiful, meaningful and humane collective spaces for learning, so enriching the lives of the children it serves.”

(Jury of The Aga Khan Award for Architecture 10th Circle)

“We already feel that this new ideas of the METI building have raised hope and confidence for an improvement of living conditions for the poor in our rural areas.”
(Paul Tigga, project partner and CEO Dipshikha – Bangladesh)

„Being a Bangladeshi it really makes us proud when we see that we have got so many ‘unique’ materials and contexts to work with... and your work was particularly inspiring!!! so next autumn .. it would to great if I get the opportunity to work with you.“
(Zaqiul, student of architecture, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

“It was good to do tests and experiments together before starting the real construction, so we could understand it although we did not know the language. And everybody learnt a lot from each other. I learned how to build strong walls, how to use measurement tools and the foreigners learnt, that the best mixing machines are water buffalos.”
(Suresh, loam worker, Rudrapur, Bangladesh)

“Dear Anna-Didimoni, Hello, how are you? And what are you doing? I hope you are well. I am also well. Didimoni, we are very proud of you for making the building. I think no other building is as good as this building. It is very comfortable. In summer it is so cold, so it is very enyojable. O.k., didimoni, next news….”
(Poritosh, METI student, Rudrapur, Bangladesh)

 

"All too often, aspirations towards modernity in developing countries have malign economic and cultural effects where construction is concerned. Traditional materials and techniques are abandoned in favour of the import of expensive and sometimes energy-inefficient materials and products, benefiting only manufacturers in more advanced economies. The outcome can at worst be the imposition of alien buildings, forms and materials which don’t last long and are difficult to maintain. Their only merit is to look new for a time. By contrast, this joyful project, in a poor rural area of Bangladesh (said to be the world’s most densely populated country), shows that new and refreshing local identity can be achieved by exploiting the immediate and the readily available (...)."
(Paul Finch, Architectural Review, UK)

“Learning with joy is the school’s philosophy – the best for me is to see the building crowded with sprightly kids, who are really happy to go to school. It is primarily not the architecture that makes something special – it’s the people: everyone who worked on it with all efforts and potentials and all who live in it and fill the space with atmosphere.”
(Anna Heringer)

For more information about METI please visit the website of Shanti - Partnerschaft Bangladesh e.V.: www.shanti.de


Architects: Anna Heringer, Eike Roswag
Design and Concept: Anna Heringer
Technical planning: Eike Roswag
Clients: Dipshikha/METI (Modern Education and Training Institute), Bangladesh in cooperation with Partnerschaft Shanti – Bangladesch and the Kindermissionswerk Aachen Structural engineering, Earth construction consulting:
Dr. Christof Ziegert, Uwe Seiler Consulting, building supervision and training of workers in bamboo construction: Emmanuel Heringer (basket weaver and carpenter), Stefanie Haider (blacksmith)
Landscape architecture:
Khondaker Hasibul Kabir, Abdun Nime 
Further consulting: Prof. Roland Gnaiger (supervision of Heringer’s dissertation “School-handmade in Bangladesh), Martin Rauch (earthen structures), Oskar Pankratz (energy concept), Rudolf Sackmauer (structureal engineering during designing)
Location: Rudrapur, Dinajpur district, Bangladesh
Building: Two storey school building made with earth and bamboo Ground floor: 3 classrooms, Upper floor: 2 classrooms (dividable), Footprint 275 m2, Floor area 325 m2
Construction period: 6 months (September to December 2005,  March - April 2006)
Construction team Austria/ Germany: Anna Heringer, Eike Roswag, Dr. Christof Ziegert, Emmanuel Heringer, Stefanie Haider, Christiane Liebert, Christine Karl, Clemens Bernhardt, Michael Bitto, Ursula Nikodem-Edlinger-Holzinger, Cornelia Reithofer, Veronika Reithofer, Kurt Hörbst 
Construction core-team Bangladesh: Raboti Roy, Nikhil Chandra Roy, Buden Chandra Roy, Aminul Islam, Apon Chandra Roy, Suresh Chandra Roy, Jitendra Nath Roy, Sonjib Roy, Satish Chandra Roy, Romesh Roy, Fatik Roy, Bimol  Roy, Bimol  Roy, Upendra Nath Roy, Khokendra Nath Roy, Susen Roy, Vhomol Chandra Roy

Donations
Bank-account Germany:
Notes: For METI-school
Partnerschaft Shanti-Bangadesch e.V.
Account No.: 77 28 684
Bank Code number: 600 50 101
BW-Bank Stuttgart
EU-standard transfer:
BIC: SOLADEST
IBAN: DE40 6005 0101 0007 728684

Donations account Austria:
Partnerschaft Shanti-Bangadesch e.V.
Account No.: 51453 516 701
Bank Code number: 12 000
Bank Austria Creditanstalt

Donations account Switzerland:
Shanti-Schweiz
Account No.: 35288.30
Clearing-Nr.: 81251
Raiffeisenbank Grabs-Werdenberg
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