Thursday24 July 2014

Class of 2011: Marianne Keating & Cara Shields- Strathclyde University

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Our thesis aims to ameliorate the devastating impact of the annual cycle of flooding in Bangladesh on the physical and social fabric of rural communities. 


Stabilising the Delta: Bangladesh

Cara Shields and Marianne Keating

Cara Shields and Marianne Keating

This project concentrates on forming solutions to combat the immediate impact of flooding and the exorbitant growth in population and resulting density.

The proposed site is located in Sundarban, a rural village in Dinajpur, Northwest Bangladesh.  The positioning of the site at an intersection between road, bridge and river makes it a prominent and important one.  The river can be used all year round for access from the surrounding area as well as the main arterial road which cuts through it.  Further to this the Bhushir Market is located a short distance away and so this has been incorporated.

Bangladesh’s growing population means an increasing number of people are vulnerable to the effects of flooding.  The frequency and severity of flooding is increasing causing the magnitude of devastation to increase.

In its initial stage the project takes the form of a refuge, training and research centre, designed to provide immediate relief for the surrounding community.  Essential research and training of good building practice will be provided to strengthen the physical infrastructure of the area.

In the long term, the design allows for flexibility in its use and continued integration within its context.  In response to the growing population the project’s location encourages centralised growth preventing rural sprawl, preserving essential agricultural land and thus promoting inevitable urbanisation.

Marianne Keating & Cara Shields

BSc (Hons) PG Dip. Part II 


Marianne and Cara have shown great enthusiasm and thoroughness in pursuing their challenging and important project which aims to provide solutions to combatthe devastating impact of regular monsoon and Himalayan snow melt on rural Bangladesh.

Both students participated in a Rural Housing Workshop in Bangladesh immediately prior to the start of their thesis.  This experience informed the project hugely and enabled them to focus on real and understood issues.  Regular correspondence with people on the ground repeatedly focussed their attention on where they could contribute to make a difference.

  • This beautifully altruistic project entitled ‘Stabilising the Delta’ successfully developed strategies for:
  • Indigenous material development, in particular investigations into the use of locally sourced chemically reinforced mud.
  • The development of emergency shelters to provide for the local population during the wet season.
  • Development of that shelter typology as an embryonic settlement centre for future village growth.

Marianne and Cara’s focus on one particular village in the Delta led them to explore how they might strengthen the resilience of that community, in the face of annual inundation, both in the building materials used and the emergency provisions required, when remaining in your home becomes impossible and unsafe.  Drawing on urban experience of flooding through history, they postulated the development of elevated mud plinth settlements, which could run in tandem with general school and community administration requirements, but which in the long-term, could be the basis of a logical and bigger settlement.

Their enthusiasm, commitment and energy to contribute to these issues were exemplary throughout, and will continue through to MArch as both girls expand this thesis and take their hypothetical research back to Bangladesh to test it with the people and environment to which it will serve.

David Reat and David Page

5th year studio tutors


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