Two community shelters completed
One of Tikau Share’s tangible projects has been to fund the construction of a secure communal village shelter capable of withstanding the destructive might of the annual monsoon storms. The village shelter could serve as emergency storage for handicraft bamboo products that are otherwise easily damaged by damp and insects, for example.
The shelter could also serve the function of a clinic for visiting doctors, a centre for handicrafts training sessions, and a facility for children’s lessons.
Haldipada village’s artisans has collaborated with Tikau Share, a Finnish NGO, for over a decade. Together they have developed the designs and manufactured techniques of various bamboo items for the European home interior market, promoting the values of empowering local communities, the use of natural materials and fair trade. Tikau Share redirects parts of the profit into further developing handicraft techniques as well as vocal skills and small scale local development projects.
The artisan’s work grew into more organized and larger clusters, and the need emerged for a designated place to meet and work in. Various risk analyses, feasibility studies and potential building sites and land contracts were evaluated until we finally decided on a relatively easy project set up. The plan got the village’s support and it was finally executed in June 2019 under the supervision of Tikau Share architect Richard Siren, when two separate roofed work platforms were built, providing a clean and flat floor and sun and rain cover for some 50 artisans to work under.
The platforms are raised over the almost yearly flood level and the steep roof creates a large volume for storage as well as makes a ventilation shaft, guaranteeing an agreeable breeze that has a drying effect as well. The project was carried out with the artisans as a workshop and it took 20 days to finish both platforms. Both platforms have survived the test of the last monsoon storms’ season undamaged.
The platforms were built as a workshop and with locally accessible, mostly natural materials. The platform structure is drained and the base is made of red brick debris (mostly pieces of about 10x10cm) from nearby brickmakers. The foundation will keep dry and steady and is made to last at least for 40 years. The roof structure is made a lot higher than normal for local buildings, with a cap-like ridge. The steep roof leads off water and wind efficiently, as well as ventilates the space and creates an impressive and attractive voluminous space.
The structural and functional benefits, combined with an attractive design and space invites reconsideration of the possibilities offered by natural and low-cost materials. By only applying simple building techniques the aim is to demonstrate that an immediate improvement in liveability is possible through a reconsidering of the traditional way of building.
In many rural parts of the world, dwellings are merely huts, intended to last only for a decade or so. The immediate problem is normally a leaking roof, that will lack repairs because the entire house doesn’t warrant building a better roof. The concept of a house starts with a durable foundation, and sets the standard for the walls and the roofs as well. The platforms are a subtle introduction to the community of the use of available, affordable materials and techniques and the meaning of attractive design, space and a rigid structure.