The Bartlett School of Architecture


Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows

Image: Mannan Foundation Trust & Our Building Design, Photo of a bamboo building workshop with the Rajapur community

Improvised architectural responses to the changing climate; making, sharing and communicating design processes

First and second supervisors 


This thesis explores climate responsive design by integrating indigenous knowledge from communities, attempting to facilitate the emancipatory agency of the action (design) research in architectural practice.

The research enables marginalised local voices by emphasising on the collective engagement. It improvises community participatory and adaptive architectural responses to social and ecological entanglement, faced by the disadvantaged communities in a remote village in Bangladesh, and explores the role of a UK-based architect, through an environmental lens, in the context of social, cultural and economic sustainability.

It offers design practice as an active agent for decolonising design methods for climate and spatial justice, by drawing on applied anthropological approaches, ‘ethnography in the field’, that prioritises community members as producers of climate responsive design research and the use of participants’ drawings, making and storytelling as methods of production of local (indigenous) knowledge. The information was collected done through community workshops, interviews, meetings, performance-based activities, transforming to drawing, making and building with the communities.

This live practice-based research provides an opportunity to understand, explicate and share these largely unspoken, undocumented and often very local methods and networks of knowledge that exist and are practiced by the communities living in rural Bangladesh, who are addressing the already damaged climate and its rapid changes.

The research is a reflection of Tumpa's architecture practice through end-user participation and the co-designing methods. One of the most significant consequences of this method of practising architecture is that this has enabled the identification and communication of the kinds of existing methods of adaptation and architectural practices that address the issues of responding to the rapid changing climate of the riparian characteristics of Bangladesh.

The research highlights the improvised design methods that enables the participants to initiate improvised methods of local, specific, tactic, immediately disappearing knowledge. These methods of participation aim to challenge and to expand the narrow range of possibilities that currently characterise approaches to the subject of architecture through participation. More specifically, investigates the process of drawing out local skills that facilitates an inclusive team, giving voice and empowerment to under-represented community members (including the skills and support from men, women and children). This research aims to demonstrate the value of co-design and collective design intelligence through local craft in addressing the challenges of the changing climate.


Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows is an architect, an academic and a design researcher. She is an architectural design tutor at the London School of Architecture and the Central Saint Martins. Prior to this role she has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster.

Tumpa utilises design and practice as an active agent of socio-spatial decolonisation for environmental, climate and spatial justice. She is the co-founder of the practice Our Building Design and the charity Mannan Foundation Trust. Tumpa has been appointed as a panel member of the Design Review Panel for the Southwark Council Planning Department. 

She was named a RIBA-J Rising Star (2017), and she has been awarded the RIBA President's Award for Research 2019 (commendation), a RIBA BAME award winner (2019), SEED/PacificRim Community Design Award (2018) and Architecture Sans Frontiers Award (2017).

Tumpa has been appointed to be in the judging panel for the RIBA President’s Award for Research 2021. Tumpa is also one of the judges for the RIBA South East Student Prize judging panel, for a number of architecture schools in London.

Tumpa is the founder of Female Architects of Minority Ethnic - FAME Collective. She is the recipient of the RIBA Research Grant in 2020 for the FAME research project: ‘Exposing the Barriers in Architecture’. 

More information

Image: Photo of a bamboo building workshop with the Rajapur community - Mannan Foundation Trust & Our Building Design