Model houses for rural low-income families. The majority of the 150 million inhabitants of Bangladesh live in the country, generally in poor houses made of earth and bamboo. Even though these traditional building materials are extremely sustainable, people are now demanding ‘modern’ houses built of fired bricks, concrete and corrugated iron. This has to do, on the one hand, with urban models, on the other with a building tradition that is technically outdated and has not been further developed for centuries. Recently, with the help of14 architecture students from Bangladesh and Austria as well as local workers, three model houses have been erected in Rudrapur that combine local building methods with the growing need for space and new demands in terms of comfort.
As is standard in original rural Bangladeshi architecture, the bathroom and kitchen are housed in separate parts of the building. By means of two-storey construction (unusual in the countryside in Bangladesh) the new houses double the floor area without increasing the amount of land used. The area of ground saved can be used to provide a small garden for the house. The upper floor also introduces a new experience: a view and greater privacy. Thermal storage mass in the roof, coconut fibre insulation, glazed windows and the provision of cross-ventilation guarantee a pleasant indoor climate throughout the entire year.