A community centre helps Bangaldesh's "landless people" change their economic situations

The Pani Community Centre in Rajarhat, Bangladesh acts as a technical school, community centre, bicycle workshop and playground for children.

Funded by the Dutch non-profit Pani Foundation, Rotterdam-based architecture firm SchilderScholte have designed and built a community centre in Bangladesh that uses local materials.

The design focused on using readily available local materials, such as bamboo, mango wood and local mortar. The local people were encouraged to participate in the building process, which could also teach them about sustainable construction and durable building techniques.

The construction of the centre was as eco-friendly as possible, using near to zero electricity and fossil fuels. The outside walls were painted yellow, a colour that references the mustard plant and is known to help keep insects away, while the inside walls are painted blue to help keep away the flies. Greys and blacks are also used throughout the centre to refer to the colour of the earth before the rain (grey) and after (black).

The local children, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to improve their economic situation because of traditional caste systems, can attend school classes within the community centre. Parents are given the opportunity to learn a trade and women can learn skills that they can use to make a living.

Bamboo bicycles are also made within the centre and sold in the Pani Community shop.

The project has been selected as a finalist in the Community category of the Dutch Design Awards 2015 and the jury have described it as “an honourable project with major impact”. 

Images courtesy of SchilderScholte.