The goal is to offer people a way to produce an aspired building material for the ones in need of a home through a collective ceremonial celebration.
By Aimilios Davlantis Lo, Harvard GSD
Published: May 2018
This project focuses on alternative housing construction strategies through community upgrading in Jessore, rural Bangladesh. By empowering locals with opportunities and self-growth, people can revive their pride of meaningful agrarian life, that would then tackle the problem of urbanization.
In fall 2017, I traveled to a small village called Palpara located in Chowgachha Jessore, western Bangladesh. Nature still rules in these parts of the Ganges delta. along with people's wisdom in adapting and negotiating with nature’s will to live in harmony and symbiotically. Through several family interviews, community gatherings, as well as a hands-on local construction workshop, the problem of poor housing construction and lack of access to available building resources came to the surface.
Concerning domestic shelter, community architects engage with the locals to start their housing development solutions defining clear strategies and goals that can spread to all communities. It is a community upgrading process where poor people help poor people by organizing themselves through creating savings groups for housing. In this process, there will be a mechanism to get financial, technical, legal, planning, and design assistance from several organizations.
After the people's exposure to industrialized brick as a construction material, everyone aspires to have a home made out of brick. Bangladesh sits on abundant soil that could surely turn into bricks. However, bricks are expensive making them a luxury item marking social status. There are numerous local brick manufacturers, but they produce bricks commonly used in commercial/institutional structures.
The project undertakes this predicament by proposing a set of construction drawings for a modified local dump truck which will house a small brick factory that would include a soil mixer, a molding apparatus, and a wood-fired kiln. This mobile brick factory would be in motion, from village to village during the fall and spring festivities. The goal is to help people make a tool that would to ceremoniously gather locals together to collectively celebrate the creation of the aspired building material for the ones in need of a new home. The tool becomes a catalyst to stimulate the community’s social capital and a humble model for community upgrading.
There are thirteen festivals throughout the year, each lasting several days. Each day a truck can mix, mold and fire 2000 bricks with a minimum of 5 people. That means that during every festivity the people can build a stack of bricks enough for a small masonry home.
AIMILIOS DAVLANTIS LO
Aimilios Davlantis Lo was born in Greece and grew up as the son of two practicing architects. He graduated from the Cooper Union with a professional degree in architecture, and he is currently studying at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, under the MArch II program. Aimilios is a passionate maker, and in parallel to education, he makes time to focus on the practice of mechanical arts. In Fall of 2017, he had the opportunity to travel to Bangladesh and get a first-hand experience of Bengal's vibrant rural life.
Spaces of Solidarity is initiated, developed and curated by FAST: Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory and generously supported by The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation and Harvard Graduate School of Design
Cristina Ampatzidou, Galit Eilat
Malkit Shoshan, Pelin Tan
Visual artist and graphics: