Khudi Bari

Marina Tabassum, 2024

In Bangladesh, floods are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, forcing countless numbers of people to look for a new home. Against this backdrop, Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum and her team have developed the Khudi Bari, or small house: a low-cost structure that can be erected, dismantled, transported and reassembled elsewhere by the residents themselves. A Khudi Bari was constructed on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein as an example of a certain architectural mindset and a concrete response to problems exacerbated by the climate crisis.

Khudi Bari literally means ‘small house’. It is an extremely low-cost, lightweight structure that can be assembled and dismantled by hand – without electricity or any other means of mechanical power. Marina Tabassum’s team has been building these houses in the chars together with relief organisations and community groups, improving existential conditions for a vulnerable population living at the absolute minimum subsistence level. Over one hundred Khudi Bari have already been installed and more are yet to come.

What is a Khudi Bari doing on the banks of the Rhine? The Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein is an active industrial site that has embraced a programme of architectural experimentation and cultural engagement and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Together with the recent planting of a Miyawaki forest on the grounds and the construction of the Garden House by Tsuyoshi Tane, the Khudi Bari is an expression of a new orientation on the Vitra Campus. Climate change demands innovative solutions. What endures is the commitment to good design: Khudi Bari demonstrates that architecture of necessity can also be aesthetically appealing.

Publication date: 13.6.2024
Images: Julien Lanoo