Priyanka Shah

ADRIFT: A Narrative On Coastal Migration and Village Rebuilding (Bangladesh)

As waters rise in coastal Bangladesh in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, the threat of displacement for the rural population in the region becomes increasingly significant. Historically, migratory patterns suggest that these environmental refugees often resettle in the urban centers of Dhaka with hopes to rebuild their lives. While this act of exodus is done out of necessity, livelihoods and traditions are abandoned in search for shelter.

This thesis responds to the changing conditions in the Bengal River delta and proposes an alternate path for resettlement. This alternate migration upriver moves from coast to coast, landing in existing coastal communities where local way of life is embedded in the land and water. Acting as a mediator between local communities and international organizations, architecture is used as a tool to negotiate the spatial organization of communities for co-habitation.

Through cataloguing and documenting building techniques and cultural narratives, the work seeks to become a guidebook for the process of resettlement on water. From this guidebook the project becomes a prototype for resettlement that adapts to this impermanent condition through a new social fabric at the waters edge. This thesis generates a series of coastal resilience strategies and bottom-up design approaches for amphibious structures, and proposes a design focused on protecting vulnerable communities and their livelihood. This incremental urbanism in the form of infrastructure, shelters and networked public spaces, allows for a continual adaption to these fluctuating conditions.

© Archipelago Studio 2020 @ the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.