Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
PANI community centre in Rajarhat, Bangladesh by SchilderScholte architects
March 10th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: SchilderScholte architects
The Dutch foundation Pani commissioned SchilderScholte architects to design an educational building in the north Bengal town of Rajarhat. The architects couple embraced this pro bono assignment coming from ideological motives and knowledge sharing. The building serves as a community centre for folks from the region, aged from toddlers to elder people. During the design process attention was mainly focused on locally available materials and weather conditions. The starting point was to realize a building using materials and skills from within a 15 miles radius around the site. Bamboo, hand-shaped brick, Mango wood, reused steel, local mortar and wafer-thin recycled corrugated panels are the main materials used in the building. The drive was to encourage locals to become aware on the basic principles of sustainability and durable building concepts. In effect close to zero electricity or fossil fuels were used during construction and other necessities required for erecting this building. Thus realizing an environmentally friendly building that contributes to the community in a significant way. The plan (79×105 ft) is East-West oriented and consists of two volumes under a large bamboo roof construction. The classrooms and lavatories are positioned on the South side and on the North side we find the workshop with store. Two sight lines traverse the building in all four directions. The lifting of the roof high above the volumes has achieved a considerable reduction of heat build up within the spaces. Further cooling is provided by cross ventilation, surrounding vegetation and the nearby pond. With the completion of this striking design the architects have proved that conventional local resources and materials can be used to build successful environmentally friendly unconventional architecture.
In the North of Bangladesh buildings are almost all constructed with bricks in combination with corrugated panels, so we propose also the use of bricks but in an optimized and locally unknown brickwork bond that doesn’t require whole-brick walls for stability, minimizing the costs and maintaining the main advantage, the use of local materials and craftsmanship. U-shaped brick columns support the South facade of the building, thus creating a row of small vertical windows. Ultimately, this can be understood as a single stone wall, a great saving on construction costs, time and labor.
The dimensions are chosen with great care, in such a way that direct sunlight into the classrooms is minimized still providing in optimal daylight illumination. Also the use of nearby ponds for natural draft to cool the classrooms was taken into account in the design. The techniques use for this project are also very easy to learn and diffused by the main contractor, which will contribute to the local construction modernization. This application of local bricks is less expensive and reduces the use of construction wood by combining bamboo with thin concrete floors. This minimizes the shortage of wood in Bangladesh as well future maintenance costs.
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Category: Community Centre