Rudrapur, Bangladesh
Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag
  • Overview

    In 2002 architecture student Anna Heringer and several of her classmates at Kunstuniversität Linz conducted a comprehensive analysis of the civic and economic structure of the Bangladeshi village of Rudrapur. They identified a lack of educational opportunities for villagers, and Heringer designed the Handmade School, her master’s thesis, in response. In 2004 she approached the local nongovernmental organizations that were already operating a school in the village, and they adopted her design as a framework for expansion. After a year of planning and fundraising they broke ground on the project in 2005 under the guidance of Heringer and Berlin architect Eike Roswag, who assumed the job of construction manager.

    The structure is made primarily of earth, a traditional building material in the region, to which Heringer added local clay, sand, and straw for increased durability. A number of improvements upon local building traditions were introduced, such as a brick foundation to strengthen the structure and a plastic moisture barrier between the foundation and the walls. Resident unskilled laborers were trained in the building technique and performed almost all of the construction. In the completed school, thick earthen walls enclose three ground-floor classrooms and a system of play caves for students; the second story has an earthen floor and walls of light and airy bamboo latticework. Local fabrics add bright color throughout. With its innovative approach to traditional methods and materials, Handmade School has stimulated interest in architecture and set new regional standards for building.

  • Architect

    Anna Heringer graduated from University of Art and Industrial Design Linz in 2004, with her diploma project "School—handmade in Bangladesh." After finishing that building project in cooperation with Eike Roswag, she planned and built DESI vocational school and HOMEmade project on rural housing in Bangladesh. Since 2008 she has been a visiting professor at University of Art and Industrial Design Linz and director of BASE habitat/project studio for building in developing countries. In 2010 she received a nomination to Honorary Professor of the UNESCO Chair “Earthen Architecture.” An important focus of her work is the training of young architects through various lectures and hands-on workshops.

    Eike Roswag studied architecture at Technische Universität Berlin. In 2003, together with his partners, he founded Ziegert Roswag Seiler Architekten Ingenieure, based in Berlin. As a specialist in earthen building and natural building materials, he realized several projects in both national and international contexts. Since his participation in projects in Mexico with Technische Universität Berlin, development cooperation has become an important part of his work.

  • Audio
  • Credits
    • Architect: Anna Heringer
    • Realization: Anna Heringer and Eike Roswag
    • Engineers: Christof Ziegert, Uwe Seiler (structural engineers)
    • Consultants: Paul Tigga (development consultant); Prodip Francis Tigga (pedagogy); Emmanuel and Stefanie Heringer (bamboo experts and trainers); Roland Gnaiger, Peter Kugelstätter, Oskar Pankratz, Martin Rauch, Rudolf Sackmauer (diploma consultants); Afsar Ali, Zainab Faruqui Ali, BASEhabitat, Clemens Bernhardt, BRACuniversity, Sepal Depsharwa, Jean Dethier, Christiane Eickhoff, Dominique Gauzin-Müller, Tobias Hagleitner, Saif Ul Haque, Karoline Heinzle, Josef Heringer, Kurt Hörbst, Housing and Building Research Institute Bangladesh, Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Khondaker Hasibul Kabir, Christine Karl, Edith Karl, Nahas Khalil, Stefan Lang, Christiane Liebert, Fuad Mallick, Stefan Neumann, Clemens Quirin, Petra Rager, Swapan Saha, Montu Ram Shaw, Marina Tabassum, Gunar Wilhelm; Christof Ziegert (cob expert)
    • Construction: Anna Heringer; Eike Roswag; Emmanuel and Stefanie Heringer; craftsmen of Rudrapur
    • Client: NGO Dipshikha with Partnerschaft Shanti-Bangladesh e.V. and Paepstliches Missionswerk der Kinder