|Location:||Kulaura, Sylhet, Bangladesh|
The key idea behind this project was to design three connected yet separated pavilions to cater for the need of a guest bungalow. The most prominent feature would be the grounded feeling of this project, to ensure that no part of the project feels alienated from its surrounding beautiful and lush landscape of the tea estate. As designers, we were very keen not to design a built form that would stand out arrogantly and induce a feeling of disparity between the owner and the workers living nearby; without compromising the comfort that was warranted.
Sensitively chosen local materials which are very commonly used for nearby structures merges the project with the overall atmosphere and creates visual coherence. Local mud plaster technology has been used for interior wall finishes and locally sourced woven mats, also known as “Sheetal Pati” made from Murta plants (Schumannianthus dichotomus) as a ceiling to create thermal mass (air) below the roof. Using indigenous materials as such gives a sense of familiarity and sense of belonging to the project.
The structure blends with nature both physically and psychologically. The merging with nature has been reinforced by the non-existence of spatial boundaries between semi-open and outdoor areas as well as the minimal scale of the project. The built form has been designed and placed around four trees, two of which are placed inside the central court, guiding the scale and proportion of the built form, one to the west determining the western edge of the veranda by placing the tree centrally behind a swing. And the fourth to the south-eastern edge of the western guest room. A small pool of water acts as both a collection tank for surface runoffs and rainwater and also as a thermal cooling source to induce microclimatic comfort.
The integration with site happens on another layer by reusing as much construction material as possible. We sourced most materials locally, and mostly from the central junkyard of the tea estate. Almost all light fittings used in this project were re-purposed from another project. We recycled local fish traps, woven dustbins, and discarded generator air filters to make stand lamps. We have even used the “tagar” mortar mixing pan used by the brick masons to make exterior wall lamps. We have extensively used old and discarded irrigation aluminum pipes and its joinery to make drainage gutters, spouts, and pendant lights. We have also used up all the residue MS “L” angle and Box sections to make column lights, downlights, and small spouts. Even the landscaping of the project has been done with locally available plants, all our plants were sourced from a 500‘ walking radius.
Our efforts were focused on making the structure as less intrusive as possible while focusing on occupant comfort so that the occupants are induced with a feeling of living amidst nature, engulfed and surrounded by it.
Nahas Ahmed Khalil
Razib Hassan Chowdhury
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