With so many starchitect-designed, headline-grabbing skyscrapers rising around the world, it’s easy to overlook the more modest projects in the shadows of those glass towers—the projects designed for those stuck on the other end of the economic spectrum. These homes, schools, community centers, and clinics—often designed by lesser-known architects—may not be as stunning as new high-rises, but they prove that design can do more than improve lives, it can save them too. And that is exactly what the non-profit ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) hopes to prove with a new project in Savar, Bangladesh.
For five months a year Bangladesh endures a monsoon season, suffering from two floods yearly leaving millions of citizens living in river basins stranded without basic necessities. But a non-profit organization founded by an architect based in northern Bangladesh, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, has decided to build flood resistant schools that come to the homes of students. Health care facilities and homes are also being built to float by the non-profit.