Submitted by Hamidah Ashrafi Fateha

Working with the slum, Karail

Bangladesh Architecture News - Apr 09, 2019 - 01:53   11639 views

Working with the slum, Karail

As part of the first International Congress on Ultradense Urbanism, “Unpacking Dhaka” – a 3 days design workshop was held at BRAC University in Collaboration with Estudio Abierto / Open Studio. Architecture students of BRAC University who participated in the workshop, were divided into groups. Each group worked together with a leading mentor to design a positive social change within a slum named Karail situated in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

I was fortunate enough to be part of one such team mentored by Javier Sánchez Merina, Professor at Universidad de Alicante, Spain- consisted of six members including Faiza Ali, Nazila Sabrin Zaman, Nuha Annoor Pabony, Papia Sarwar, Sarah Tahsin Shams and me. We thought of creating a positive social change by thinking of the slum dwellers to have the same social standings as ours. We did not want to change something completely or put something unfamiliar in the slum dwellers’ lifestyles. Rather our team chose to introduce sensitive design tweaks to their living conditions to raise their living standards and later empower them through teaching the techniques to adapt the changes themselves.

Working with the slum, Karail


A typical section of the design solutions proposed. Image © Author

Our team worked on 3 aspects of the slum:

  1. Road network
  2. Indoor temperature
  3. Socializing space

Working with the slum, Karail

A typical section of the design solutions proposed. Image © Author

After determining our design solution, we moved to the slum and took a section of its road network with its adjacent houses and implemented our ideas on site with the help of community participation.

Working with the slum, Karail

Photographs of the process of creating better roads. . Image © Amlin Iqbal EshitaPhotographs of the process of creating better roofs. Image © Amlin Iqbal Eshita

Photographs of the process of creating shaded streets. Image © Amlin Iqbal Eshita

We created a semi-permeable road while keeping it smooth and mud-free. To the adjacent built forms they added second roofs to reduce indoor temperature. Furthermore, with donated bed cover and saree, long piece of fabric Bangladeshi women, wrap around them as a clothing, we created canopies shading the streets near tea-stalls where people socialize.

Working with the slum, Karail

A collection of stickers developed. Source: Author

In the last day of the workshop after finishing building the prototypes with community participation we distributed stickers with many of the slum’s interesting scenes to raise awareness among the slum dwellers and teach them how small design implementations like those in the prototypes can easily raise their living standards.

Top image: Javier Sánchez Merina with the team creating plan for implementation  (Image courtesy of Amlin Iqbal Eshita).

> via International Congress on Ultradense Urbanism, “Unpacking Dhaka” / BRAC University / Estudio Abierto / Open Studio.