The paper tries to compare the qualitative difference between professional and pragmatic design solutions in self-built
houses. Self-built houses are defined here as permanently constructed houses in urban context, generally used as the
primary shelter of the users belonging to middle income group, and most likely to be constructed under own informal
management and own investment. The study starts with the question why pragmatic solutions seem to be more effective
than professional decisions in self-built houses, even though state regulations try to engage architects in housing
decisions. This study adopts ethnographic method to find the implicit reasons behind pragmatic decisions during initial
as well as different stages of transformations in the houses, and suggests how professional decisions might become
more effective when it is molded with the subjective values of users. It also suggests that knowing these values can be
one basic way to bring architects closer to these users, and let architects play social as well as professional role in a
field which has not been explored much by architectural practitioners throughout architectural history.
Keywords : Architects, Self-Built Houses, Transformation, Ethnography, Bangladesh.
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