|Name:||Students of batch 16|
|Studio Master:||Shuvra Das, Biplob Kanti Biswas, Rahanat Ara Jafar|
|University:||Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET)|
| Notes from the studio tutors |
To mark the 50th anniversary of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET), third-year students of Architecture was assigned with the task of designing and building the installations under the supervision of the faculty members Shuvra Das, Biplob Kanti Biswas and Rahanat Ara Jafar as a part of their design studio project.
Each project was conceived as meeting and gathering spaces for the fresh graduates and alumni which offers a vibrant atmosphere and brings ebullience in their usual experience of much-known university premises. Besides responding to the respective site context, the task was to complete the design and construction within a limited budget and time of only two weeks.
The installation project unfolds the opportunity for students to involve in a hands-on learning experience. The students had the opportunity to explore and work with local, biodegradable and low-cost materials; to collaborate with the available local craft skills; to build the capacity of improvisation while working under a time and budget constraint, and to experience and understand an immediate response from the end-users.
The whole studio was divided into three groups and each group was assigned a unique site context. In the first phase, each group explored the possibilities of their individual site and came up with concepts that offered particular functions and new experiences to the selected site. With the help of mock-up scale models, students and teachers had a dialogue on how the designs can be improved and executed under the time and budget constraints. Considering the availability of the material, its transportability, and recycling quality, the studio emphasized the potential of Bamboo as a basic element of construction. The students conducted a market survey to enlist the locally available products and materials that can be used in their respective installation. In order to keep the construction cost within a limit, they also made the best use of the resources and facilities available within the campus.
One of the groups came up with an idea of welcoming the alumni with large-scale light installation named ‘A Corridor of Happiness’ (আনন্দ উঠান). Five hyperbolic tower structures were composed in a staggering order to make the alleyways in between signifying an illuminating corridor for the alumni. The free-standing structures were completely made out of full-length bamboo culms tied in a diagrid pattern creating enough structural stiffness to withstand certain vertical loads.
This project tried to set an ambiance and a mood of celebration through the use of diagonal elements, subtle interiority, and translucency of colored fabrics. Some custom- made seatings were made of metal frame and weaving ropes to let the visitors sit and stay in the interior space for a while and enjoy the ambiance. Students and construction facilitators worked hand in hand to resolve the construction challenges in the site through a trial and error method. This installation marked the grand inauguration of the biggest celebration of CUET.
The idea was to capture an in-between space that would complement the scenic beauty of the site and engage the visitor with a scroll of memory. The airy and open to sky exhibition connected the pre-existing seating on the lakeshore with undulating bamboo screen creating a transitional space between nature and nostalgia. The intertwined relationship of nature and campus life took a form of celebration through the sensitive use of light, colors, materials, and exhibits.
The main program of convocation and the cultural function of the event were held in the central field. To let the alumni indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events, a multi-level platform was installed with a luminous backdrop under a large Koroi Tree by the third student group. This project engaged the alumni with a group of gathering while taking tea and taking group photos. The concept was the same as a Tong stall where people sit for a while, take a cup of tea, and gossip. The airy, open grid construction also provides a visual lightness to the structure that melds well with the surrounding landscape. This represents a modest expression of a grant gathering of the CUET alumni.