using bamboo, architect rizvi hassan has designed an integrated community center at the kutupalong refugee camp in bangladesh. the massive camp, spread across five square miles, hosts more than 600,000 rohingya refugees from neighboring myanmar and is fast taking on the characteristics of its own city. host communities in bangladesh have been sharing their resources, land, and everyday life for over two years now. with these host communities nearby, this community center introduces a sharing platform that hopes to generate an atmosphere of aspiration and be a catalyst for better communication between refugees and host communities. the world’s largest refugee camp has developed over a very short time with an immense amount of work and an intensive use of local resources. the rapid use of non-treated bamboo, tarpaulin, and straw has made the camp grow like an organic entity in a time of emergency.

rizvi hassan hindupara kutupalong
all images by rizvi hassan



rizvi hassan designs the integrated hindupara community center in the kutupalong refugee camp with consideration for the unique environmental and material concerns of the context. while the building language of the camp is comprised primarily of bamboo structures, the total national supply of bamboo is diminishing over time while demand continues to grow. structural bamboo requires nearly three years for re-growth while other non-structural bamboo requires only one year. unless appropriate measures are taken to harvest and safely treat ‘borak’ bamboo — large and suitable for posts and beams — in nearby areas, alternative schemes will play a vital role in the development phase of the camp.

rizvi hassan hindupara kutupalong



although hassan sought to use as much bamboo as possible, the architect also makes use of structural steel. this building strategy presents a sustainable alternative solution as the material is locally available with the steel industry in bangladesh based in the nearby port city chittagong. with steel members and flat-pack modules, the scheme ensures less resource waste, easy transport and reuse, and a clean, simple construction process. the scheme consists of a basic foundation, steel skeleton, and modular partitioning of slender, fast growth bamboo. a simple double-pitched roof works as an umbrella in the sub-tropical monsoon climate. the thin bamboo skin offers a contextual element and makes the structure relatable to rohingya refugees as well as local villagers.

rizvi hassan hindupara kutupalong



in the creation of the project, hindupara refugees organize and work together with members from adjacent hosting community. through the process, the collaborators each benefit from psycho-social support, on-site training, and knowledge sharing. the team generated artful patterns which were then painted throughout their center. the project engaged its occupants to open up and show tolerance toward one another, engaging craftsmen and users in the design and construction processes. after construction, hindu-para community member rajpoti shil apa and her team curated a landscape of trees and plant life which are integrated into the complex and are used during many of the center’s ceremonies.

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project info:


project title: integrated community center in hindu-para rohingya refugee camp

architecture: rizvi hassan

location: rohingya refugee camp, kutupalong, cox’s bazar, bangladesh

project team: shah alam, rizvi hassan, saad ben mostafa, biplob hossain, hasan tarek, mostafizur rahman, sagor mondol, abdul latif, shahidul islam khan, tahrima akhtar, sheikh jahidur rahman, kamal bhai, rubel bhai ,rajpoti shil apa, md. syedullah, and others.

clients: forcefully displaced myanmar nationals & bangladeshi host community in kutupalong (supported by UNHCR and BRAC)

collaborators: UNHCR, BRAC

built area: 221 square meters

completion: 2019

photography: rizvi hassan