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Bangladesh, community centre

Using Local Resources: Community Centre in Rajarhat

The project was initiated by the Dutch Pani Foundation. Here, adults learn to make products such as bamboo-frame bicycles for the regional market, while their children can attend preschool and play on the grounds. The building and its construction methods are adapted to the subtropical monsoon climate. A large roof covers the U-shaped, slightly raised floor slab and offers both shade and shelter from the rain for the two massive structures and the open, verandah-like areas in between. The positioning of the cuboids and the large distance to the underside of the roof ensures natural air circulation. The north building is home to a workshop, salesroom and storage; the two-storey south wing accommodates classrooms, toilets and water tanks. An exterior stairway leads to the upper storey, and a steel catwalk continues to the roofed-in assembly area on the roof of the workshop.

The narrow slits in the south façade minimize direct sunshine, but allow enough air to flow through to provide natural cross-ventilation in conjunction with the many small openings on the north side. This reduces the temperature in the classrooms by a few degrees. The gleaming yellow of the walls and window soffits repels mosquitos; the interior walls are painted in a light shade of blue, which keeps flies at bay.

The complex was built by expressly trained construction workers, for the most part with local materials. The cuboids are made of hand-fired bricks from a nearby brickyard. The supports and joists of the roof construction are of bamboo instead of wood. The poles also serve as façade cladding, railings and balustrades and give the complex a homogeneous appearance.

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