Most people in the world live in extreme poverty and it makes a refreshing change to be able to use our architectural skills to help the poorest and most vulnerable.
A few years ago on holiday in Sri Lanka I came across a snake, so photographed it to show and warn the locals, mainly fishermen.
In response one man climbed a tree, cut me down a coconut and subsequently invited my wife and I for tea in their self-built home made out of palm leaves. We kept in touch with the family by letter.
About a year later I learnt that the family had had their beachside home washed away in a sea surge, so took it upon ourselves to investigate and try to help, and have another holiday in a lovely place with lovely people. I found them living in a cupboard.
We found a better site, designed a new bungalow in the traditional style in a way that could be built in phases, and also helped them set up a better alternative source of income – rope making; because income from fishing is poor, uncertain and dangerous.
The bungalow makes use of local materials and familiar construction to minimize cost. Unusually it will have an internal bathroom, and the layout has been adjusted to avoid breaching various superstitions.