|Name:||Ishtiaque Ahmad, Md. Nazmul Hoque Nayeem, Zahid Hasan, Rakib Adnan | Studio Spacejam|
|Location:||Thaingkhali Rohingya Camp,Ukhiya,Cox’s Bazar|
|Client:||Bdesh Foundation, HMBD Foundation|
The Rohingya people are one of the most ill-treated and persecuted refugee groups in the world, having lived in a realm of statelessness for over six generations. According to UNHCR an estimated 899,349 Rohingya have been driven into Bangladesh. Over half of them are children. A total of 33,131 registered Rohingya refugees are living in two registered camps in Cox’s Bazar, and up to 80,000 additional refugees are housed in nearby makeshift camps. Overall, the living conditions of Rohingya refugees inside the overcrowded camps remain dismal. Mental health is poor, proper hygiene conditions are lacking, malnutrition is endemic, and physical/sexual abuse is high. And children are losing their childhood without any memory to recall.
The design team reviewed several documents on Rohingya refugees, visited a registered refugee camp at Thaingkhali, collected case reports and conducted a series of meetings with stakeholders.
During the visit, the team tried to identify the faults of the local techniques practiced by the local artisans in their rapidly erected sheds.
The Client was looking for a Child Learning Center for orphans who are spending childhood in camp and deprived of basic human needs. The project aimed to generate some spaces to provide them a proper childhood full of memories.
At present, the unplanned temporary sheds are constructed by local workers according to guidance and space requirement of different NGOs which offer very poor ventilation and natural lights. And this is reported as uncomfortable for human living. On top of that, the temperature goes high in summer and an extra power supply is needed to keep the space in the comfortable range.
The team focused on this issue with utmost priority to ensure enough natural lights and air circulation through the interior spaces installing perforated north-south façade. Bamboo columns were placed on a designed concrete post to detach the bamboo from the floor, which secured them from termite.
The design was inspired from local construction techniques and craftsmanship of Rohingya community. The roof was specially considered to make the shed more sustainable and comfortable. In between two sheds some play areas were designed to attract the neighborhood children.
The team stayed at the construction site during the construction phase for two weeks and helped the workers at first hand to adopt the details with sketches. On-site decisions were taken consulting with Rohingya artisans and construction workers who are expert in bamboo works. With a seating capacity of about 300 students distributed in two sheds, the design approach has become very popular and many other similar sheds are being made in the camp now after the inauguration. It is also reported that the students of this school are using these sheds for sleeping at night as they get enough air ventilation which is missing in their homesteads.
The design intention was not to make something complicated and flashy rather empowering the community with some simple detail techniques that they practice. The materials were chosen according to availability that ensured a sustainable and locally accepted solution. This project is a humble attempt to restore human-nature connection by generating a child-friendly playscape in the dense context of the refugee camp.