Headergrafik | Anna Heringer

Rudrapur, in the northern part of Bangladesh is a typical Bangladeshi village. 1500 inhabitants on an area of 1485 km2.

Although the traditional building materials are highly sustainable, villagers have an increasing desire to build homes out of bricks, concrete, and corrugated iron sheet (CI sheet). The main reason for the bad image of earth and bamboo houses is the short

In traditional vernacular Bangladeshi architecture, the kitchen, the store and bathroom are housed in separate structures arranged around a central courtyard.

The inside of the houses is generally only used for storing items, sleeping and cooking during rainy season. other activities are done outside in the courtyard or on the veranda.

The sources of energy in Rudrapur are mainly based on physical work. Work or (un-) employment is often discussed from a social or economical perspective only, but it is also an energetic issue.

Traditional homestead.

Settlement pattern of the rural areas in Bangladesh: during rainy season approximately 70% of the country is flooded. In general the areas for infrastructure are built on filled up land, higher than the field level.

This trend away from traditional, natural building materials towards "modern" materials like concrete, burned bricks or C.I.Sheet could have a serious impact on the environment; fabrication of these materials requires a lot of energy and produces noxious

Land is precious in Bangladesh with a population density of about 1 000 inhabitants on one square kilometre. In general land is used very intensively in Rudrapur and the surrounding area and often has multiple functions. Streets for example are not only f

A further source of income is craftsmenship. The craftsmen in Rudrapur make the best out of existing materials - for example carpets from own jute fiber and Hindu statues out of clay. It is a good strategy to fabricate goods with high amount of labour wit

Another effect is the loss of cultural and regional identity.

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population growth rate of 2.022% (2008 est.). Each year more and more agricultural land is lost to residential development. If Bangladeshis in the rural areas (about 110 million people) started living in two story structures, more land would be available for farming. This would also reduce the pressure on the cities like Dhaka and Chittagong where the slum population is growing day by day. 

According to the survey mentioned above is reflected clearly in the choice of the building material for the private temples and shrines. They all follow the unwritten ordinance to erect religious buildings in the most valuable material that is used in the homestead. The hierarchy is clear to see while walking through a Bengali village: Brick (best), loam (middle), bamboo and straw (last). 

It is vital that policy making organisations, government and non-government organisations set good examples through representative public buildings as well as through pilot projects for high quality and dense residential housing that can be multiplied by the villagers. 

This text includes parts of the Phd of Anna Heringer. 

Research work during the semester 2002 at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, Austria 

Fieldwork in Bangladesh:
July - September 2001 
Tobias Hagleitner, Anna Heringer, Petra Rager andGunar Wilhelm with great support of Prodip F. Tigga and Dipshikha 

All photos and drawings by Team Rudrapur