Place & Time, a Process

Time and change are always influential. A site is always dynamic, even without construction activity. Keen awareness of relevant offsite trends is necessary to identify new activities and spaces. There is a rural site in Bangladesh that continues to develop with new buildings for education, training, and improved housing. Architect Anna Heringer has worked on many projects with the community of Rudrapur over the years.

© Studio Anna Heringer
Site plan of Rudrapur © Studio Anna Heringer

Some agrarian communities are in a good position to increase function and built area while preserving their capability to farm and grow. When land area is critical for the sustenance of a growing community that farms, then a natural solution involves adding another level to an engineered construction. Open land for farming is saved by preserving a building footprint and increasing building height to house more floor area. The rationale for increased building height persists in different contexts around the world.

© Anna Heringer
Concept drawing, HOMEmade family houses © Anna Heringer

Change during growth phases are exciting times that can be managed carefully to accommodate capacity and improvements. Architectural alterations and new work include proportional and functional equivalency to the original areas. Sometimes in the form of a new building, architectural improvements will affect ventilation, natural light and maintenance thus benefitting quality of life and productivity.

The project HOMEmade consists of three family houses defined to be a sustainable residential improvement that strengthens cultural identity. Materials are a major decision in every architectural project. In recent years, the newly built architecture in Rudrapur demonstrates construction technology and details that are viable with a local spirit of modernity.

New photo © Katharina Doblinger. Old photo from the construction team.
LEFT: Old house photo from the construction team in Rudrapur. RIGHT: New house photo © Katharina Doblinger

Comparison of the old and new photos of a bed chamber reveals that the bed size, room width and ceiling height are nearly the same. The openings and materials are different. Windows on three walls allow seasonally controllable ventilation and sources of daylight. New flooring material is solid, showing an uninterrupted finish for better habitability.

Anondoloy is the recent building design of a center in Rudrapur to be used for textile training & production and people with disabilities. Two levels are stacked in this low-profile multipurpose building with two wings. Heringer’s distinctive drawings clearly show the spaces to be constructed by pairing the structural application of earth and bamboo.

© Studio Anna Heringer
Drawings, Anondoloy © Studio Anna Heringer

While a project comes together, the consultants know all the parts of the building and a schedule is planned accordingly. Sketches for the DESI Training Centre in Rudrapur show the construction materials, give an idea of methods, and indicate structural detail. Hand drawing a full section and plan during an onsite meeting is a strong skill. Onsite drawings are the primary medium for communication and coordination. Pictures aid the teams in successful planning and preparation for the intersection of technological practices. Without prefabrication or industrial vendors, the construction of a handmade building requires traditional knowledge and contemporary processes need to be adapted for labor.

© Anna Heringer
Drawings, Dipshika Electrical Skill Improvement Training Centre © Anna Heringer

The common sense of designing for human scale is especially important in climate sensitive architecture and in locations with very low energy consumption. It is important for architecture to let light and air enter and move freely, while protecting from unwanted rain and wind. Without industrial equipment and machinery, construction units are made, installed, and operated by hand. Some parts might include awnings, shutters, screens or other movable parts.

Photos © Naquib Hossain and from team
LEFT: Dipshika Electrical Skill Improvement Training Centre construction, photo from the construction team RIGHT: Dipshika Electrical Skill Improvement Training Centre, photo © Naquib Hossain

METI Handmade School, for education and training, is a two-story building constructed with earth and bamboo. Drawings from Anna Heringer’s studio convey how the essential character of these materials is applied to the design. When an available construction team is familiar with the working methods, local materials have excellent potential for expressive tectonics. Human scale can be visibly integral when a construction system is assembled and built by hand for the builders’ community.

© Anna Heringer
Drawings, Modern Education and Training Institute, Handmade School © Anna Heringer

Bamboo and earth are completely different, yet compatible for architecture that needs to be durable and flexible. Bamboo in its simple linear unit is hollow and lightweight. Bundled or grouped, bamboo poles can strengthen a roof. Earth that is clayey and compressed can be molded to form cavernous spaces.

photos © Naquib Hossain and © B.K.S. Inan
LEFT: Modern Education and Training Institute, photo © Naquib Hossain RIGHT: Modern Education and Training Institute, photo © B.K.S. Inan

The projects shown have emerged from observations made during university field studies that will be developed for doctoral work. Anna Heringer has had continual involvement with a community working on projects that adopt modernity and demand arable land.

© Benjamin Stähli
Consultation meeting in Rudrapur, photo © Benjamin Stähli

An architect who successfully engages a community client and consultants in the design process may be sought for future work. A community that engages with a design process and builds itself in synchronicity with their development may grow its prospects.


Written by CPG


Studio Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag, architects. METI-Handmade school. Dipshikha/METI (Modern Education and Training Institute); Papal Children’s Mission (PMK); Parterschaft Shanti Bangladesh e.V.; Kindermissionswerk: clients. Ziegert Roswag Seiler Architekten Ingenieure, engineer. Dr.-Ing. Christof Ziegert, Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Seiler, Emmanuel Heringer, Stefanie Haider, Prof. Roland Gnaiger, Martin Rauch and Peter Kugelstätter: consultants. Rudrapur, BD, c. 2005-06.
Studio Anna Heringer, architect. DESI Training Centre. Shanti-Parterschaft Bangladesh e.V.; Shanti Schweiz; Omicron; Dipshikha; Bangladesh for DESI (Dipshikha Electrical Skill Improvement): clients. Stefan Neuman, engineer. Jakob Schaub, Oskar Pankratz, Martin Rauch, Prof. Walter Liese, Montu Ram Saw and Shoeb Al Rahe: consultants. Rudrapur, BD, c. 2007-08.
Studio Anna Heringer and Khondaker Hasibul Kabir, architects. Students of BRAC University Bangladesh and University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, design. HOMEmade family houses. Shanti-Parterschaft Bangladesh e.V., developer. Family Shepal Depsharma, Family Hemonto Ray and Family Rahini Ray: clients. Stefan Neuman, engineer. Oskar Pankratz, Martin Rauch, Prof. Walter Liese, Montu Ram Saw, Azit Ray, and students: consultants. Rudrapur, BD, c. 2007-08.
Studio Anna Heringer, architect. Anondoloy. Rudrapur, BD, c. 2018-.
Katharina Doblinger, photographer.
Naquib Hossain, photographer.
B.K.S. Inan, photographer.
Construction teams, photographs.
Aga Khan Development Network, “School in Rudrapur,” Aga Khan Award for Architecture Award Recipient, 2005-2007 Cycle.