Architects' design options in self built houses: Lessons from bangladesh

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Open House International


The paper tries to compare the qualitative difference between professional and pragmatic design solutions in self-built houses. Self-built houses are defined here as permanently constructed houses in urban context, generally used as the primary shelter of the users belonging to middle income group, and most likely to be constructed under own informal management and own investment. The study starts with the question why pragmatic solutions seem to be more effective than professional decisions in self-built houses, even though state regulations try to engage architects in housing decisions. This study adopts ethnographic method to find the implicit reasons behind pragmatic decisions during initial as well as different stages of transformations in the houses, and suggests how professional decisions might become more effective when it is molded with the subjective values of users. It also suggests that knowing these values can be one basic way to bring architects closer to these users, and let architects play social as well as professional role in a field which has not been explored much by architectural practitioners throughout architectural history.

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