|Name:||Ramisa Yeameen Chowdhury Eva|
|Studio:||Studio X (Thesis)|
|Studio Master:||Prof. Fuad H. Mallick, Mohammad Habib Reza, Abul Fazal Mahmudun Nobi|
The Ander Killa (meaning “the inner fort”) Shahi Jame Mosque is a 362 years old mosque of Mughal era standing at 32 feet high from the ground on a hilltop. Over time many alterations took place in the mosque. The visibility of the Mughal mosque has been cloaked completely due to the extension of the mosque and surrounded buildings. This design proposal thrives to meet up its functional necessity while restoring the original Mughal structure.
The Anderkilla Shahi Jame Mosque was built during 1667 AD by Umed Khan, son of Nawab Shayesta Khan, as a symbol of triumph of the Mughals’ over the Arakani Moghs and Portuguese pirates in 1966 AD. The mosque stands 30 feet high from the road level; a two-storied book market is located underneath the plaza which was purposefully built for its finance and welfare. The challenge was to re-design the complex in a manner so that both work discretely, yet together, without interrupting each other functions.
Currently, the mosque is the only antiquity of Ander Killa (the inner fort). On the wall of the main mosque, the construction year is mentioned as 1078 Hijra in an inscription stone. The space available for praying is not working effectively for the increased number of populations in Muslim communities. The mosque is also restricted to female devotees. In addition to that, haphazard developments inside and surrounding the compound have cloaked the view of the mosque. Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) has taken a project of Tk 200 crore to expand and reconstruct Anderkilla Shahi Jame Masjid. CDA plans to preserve and conserve the mosque by keeping its original shape unaltered.
This project is envisioned to go beyond the conventional approach of conservation through structural retrofitting and facelifting, rather it advocates an unorthodox approach to rejuvenate the whole area while uplifting the true spirit of Islam. The proposal also seeks full equality of women and men in the public sphere. In addition to that, it would also be a place for the tourists from all around the world to come, feel the essence of the Mughal period mosque, and be conscious about the Islamic heritage.
The concept is derived by splitting the site into two. One, a hill, which revives the Mughal era mosque and the other, man-made mound, encompassing other functions such as school, market, Islamic foundation, visual entertainment hall, and library. The major pedestrian routes connecting the neighborhood become the guiding element in the form derivation process.
It is disheartening to witness our diminishing sensitivity towards history and heritage, which reflects the roots of us as a nation. In addition to government conservation efforts, the urgent initiative is needed to raise social awareness while engaging the local community both materially and spiritually.