November 2007’s Cyclone Sidr devastated coastal Bangladesh. Wanting to design an effective, low-maintenance cyclone shelter, the architects sensitively documented affected areas and traced the cyclone’s path. Funds were raised through an exhibition, book and events. The design comprises a cruciform-plan two-storey volume wrapped with a ramp that protects corner light and ventilation wells. The octagonal form is cyclone-resistant and presents an easy-to-spot marker in the landscape from all directions. In "normal" times it serves as a primary school and day clinic. Accessed via the ramp, the rooftop play area can hold cattle during tidal surges. The concrete structure withstands cyclonic winds and high salinity. Small, tempered-glass windowpanes reduce risks from flying debris. Solar panels and harvested rainwater allow off-grid functioning.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture