They say it takes a village to raise a child; and when the whole village (and a team of skilled architects) chips in, the result can benefit the community’s entire population via a hand-built school designed with ‘earth architecture.’ The METI ‘hand-built’ primary school in Rudrapur Dinajpu, Bangladesh, “uses traditional methods and materials of construction but adapts them in new ways.” Austrian architect Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag from Germany led a team of local craftsmen, pupils, parents and teachers in the execution of the project, which took just four months to complete using local materials: bamboo, straw, jute rope, and an earthen mixture for the walls and foundation.
The METI (Modern Education and Training Institute) school building casts a very small carbon shadow by incorporating natural materials and by using an earth building technique called cob-walling in its construction. Cob is a layered mixture of wet earth, rice, straw and jute and cob-walling is a brick-like method historically used in Bangladeshi building construction, which is extremely fast drying and can be adapted to almost any ‘self-building’ project. In constructing the school, local craftsmen also got a chance to refine their processes and “learn new techniques that they could then use to improve the general standard of rural housing.”
The METI philosophy is woven into the very structure of the school as well as being instilled in the education of attendees: “We believe that architecture is more than shelter. It is intimately connected with the creation of identity and self-confidence. And this is the basis of development.”