|Name:||Mahmudur Rahman Shuvra|
|Studio Master:||Sazdik Ahmed|
|University:||Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST)|
Bangladesh chancery complex is an architectural project of high political and diplomatic importance. In addition to the basic purpose of delegation and representation of nationhood, a diplomatic mission on foreign land is also to build as well as maintain international political and other relationships. The vision, mission, activities of such an establishment depends on the foreign policy of a country whether it focuses on developing on bilateral issues holding equity or become influential and aggressive or remain passive by practicing minimum services and duties. The expression of the political attitude of a nation to another is better exhibited architecturally as a powerful symbol of impression; and as a host, the Chancery Complex might consider the design strategy accordingly. Having the native architectural characteristics and evolution through history as well as contemporary trends in Bangladesh, the project Bangladesh Chancery Complex in Turkey does the job of representing the country on a foreign land very well. Features of various courtyards, zoning sensitivity, timely thoughts on security issues, and finally the architectural form, which is derived from Bengal architecture, are strong elements to represent Bangladesh with dignity and strength. The effort to blend the architectural elements (do-chala roof, connecting bridge, fenestration elements of modern architecture) are praiseworthy considering this a student project, scope is there to bring more maturity in formal expression once time permits. A healthy piece of architecture usually ought to have elements to contextualize to the ground where it is located, unless it wants to make any particular statement while standing out in contrast. Considering the fact that both Bangladesh and Turkey are secular states having a demographic context of Muslim majority (so is the representation on urban grain and architectural practice), the Chancery Complex could have Turkish elements to some extent, to blend in the context and offer a friendly spirit to bilateral interest but this is actually at designer’s discretion and the designer decided not to do so, rather echoing the domestic vernacular abroad, as stated in the project rationale. All in all, the project appears to be strong and bold to represent the country and hold the political spirit to realize the agendas of foreign policy; but sometimes it is the designer’s opportunity to improvise on a nation’s attitude to bilateral cooperation by architectural design and thus make a political statement. -Editor
| Notes from the student |
Chancery complex is the intricate association of buildings that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy. It resembles the nation’s physical embodiment abroad, representing optimistic novelty, straightforward existential fear, unabashed self-interest or national identity, in the modern era chancery architecture as art, proliferates from Dhaka to London to Ankara. In short, in designing a Chancery complex, ‘Form Follows Values’.
Most of Bangladesh’s embassies are hosted in rented houses, but now the government has issued a wave of chancery complexes to be built. Ankara was caught up in the wave and 1.13 acre land was acquired for that purpose through land exchange program. It is a moderate sloping site in the diplomatic zone in Oran of Çankaya district of Ankara, the capital of Turkey. It has a cold semi-arid climate and differs in temperature, humidity and precipitation from Bangladesh.
Chancery complexes in different countries host different programs according to the diplomatic relationship. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh settled upon five wings in Ankara: Consular wing, Diplomatic wing, Commercial wing, Defense wing, Ambassador’s enclosure along with a multipurpose hall and Ambassador’s residence.
Chancery complexes are built while a) relating two countries or b) focusing on the host or c) representing thyself. Bangladesh is represented in this project with her archetype. With a temporal evolution, from Ahsan Manzil to Faculty of Fine Arts, DU to Baitur Rauf Jame Masjid, we find the new energy of changing architecture created by architects while playing with form, materials, aesthetics etc. and mingling with the traditional architecture of this land. Our vernacular archetype or Architecture within Folk Tradition of Bangladesh gives us characteristics to represent our country abroad and it can be adapted with different site conditions.
Shape of the roof has a unique bent in our region. This bent shape roof (aka do-chala) is one of the most important identifying characteristics of Bengal architecture. The use of this element in the building form would carry our native identity.
An introverted courtyard is being considered the essential architectural characteric of our country where the inner court is accompanied by verandas or meeting places. In the design of the Chancery complex, the lounges and two formal living spaces surround the court creating a similar ambiance. The presence of green and water is hard to sustain in the given site in Ankara. But different local climatic solutions provide occupants the opportunity to enjoy nature in an adaptive manner. Connection with open spaces or the presence of semi-outdoor places is created with long glassed openings as long as local climate supports and occupant’s comfort is ensured.
Multiple Forms in a complex are not physically connected in our traditional architecture but the local architectural and urban context usually host a giant form containing all the functions. So in this project bridges connecting different functions gives the essence of multiple forms.
Security of an embassy is one of the topmost priorities and the attitude in designing evolved with time here also. During the 1950s a high walled complex was considered secured and then the terrorist attacks began to increase. Then a full fort-like archetype was considered secured and practiced nowadays also. But it leaves a negative impact in the community’s mind. Different engaging support points and strategical placement of functions lead to a more secured architecture.
Here consular wing’s separate entry and the vegetation alongside give the public a friendlier environment as well as decrease security breach as it diverts the mass people’s entry into the main complex. The green zone as the outdoor of the multipurpose hall also acts as a support zone.
The water sheet in reception and water sheets along the transition of the wings surrounds the administration wing and ambassador’s enclosure and create a float like a plan as it is emerging from the water. The visible court from the sitting areas along with the semi-outdoor essence gives a taste of Bengal in foreign soil which one was expecting while entering the complex with a unique curved roof.
CONTEXT contributing editor: Shajjad Hossain, PhD candidate, University of Evora, Portugal