Inspiration in the north

February 22nd, 2013

There are many housing projects where millions of dollars has been spent and there is little to show, either physically, in health gain let alone the acceptance of the project by the local community. (sadly these News items have disclosed many within Australia)



What a rare privilege then to be shown 10 tiny houses and be able to discuss the project with several
of the families housed in the new buildings. It is fair to say that these buildings achieve what is very rare… that rare mix being functional, delightful and loved.

The houses were built for 10 families. They are tiny as they were built on small plots of land – each around 3.6m x 5m (12’x16′). Each family has  between 10 and 12 people to be housed. This was no small challenge.

The design / construct team : Abonee, Mahmuda, Azit and Pulin have done a remarkable job. Basic materials well used and the reuse of the previous slum shack materials for non structural inner walls and linings.  Then clever site planning giving outdoor work places and verandahs, light, ventilation privacy and security to the houses.

Here is an amalgamation of a University rural studio program (BRAC University ) with long term commitment to the region, a local building and development NGO (SAFE HH will be bringing you more about this group soon) and a community that wanted change.

The ‘clients’ were insistent that the their houses be looked at and pictures taken. They offered tea and flowers and most powerful were simple stories about how their lives had been changed by this work.

It is very rare to see work so powerful, carefully conceived and made let alone seeing the real impact this simple work has had on the families and how it isnow spreading to this and surrounding communities. The work demonstrates change is possible.

The House Client And Team Member

One of the houses with verandah and prized flower pots that are for both the residents and the lane way… father and son on the verandah … he is now a member of the construction team.

Papadam Making

New residents of one of the 10 houses make papadams. Here the papdam is being rolled on the street edge. The house for the family was set back to provide this essential, slightly raised space for both production and promotion of the product.

Design Team

In the street where the houses were built, part of the team who made this happen L-R: Ms Mahmuda (architecture student), son of a client, Mr. Pulin (SAFE), client, Ms Abonee (Architect) and Mr Azit (SAFE)