|Bijon B. Sarma, Sujaul Islam Khan, Nujaba Binte Kabir, Muna Rashid, Rigu Sarker; Guide teacher: Urmee Chowdhury
|Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology
The purpose of architecture is not only to provide people’s physical, social and economic needs, but also to stimulate and respond to their cultural and spiritual expectations. Our multifaceted cultural traditions are influenced by our diverse livelihoods, ethnicities, languages, localities and by religious and spiritual belief. So the challenge is how to address this cultural pluralism in architecture. The following student work seeks to respond to this challenge by offering a vision for cultural center for Santal (সাঁওতাল) ethnic community that fortifies cultural traditions and creates bridges between locals and visitors.- Editor
The northwestern belt of Bangladesh is the home of the Santali speaking native people- an indigenous ethnic community. Among the 27 ethnic tribes in Bangladesh (pop census, 2011), Santals are one of the oldest communities living a humble life in the pristine natural surroundings of the area for thousands of years. Santal society reserves vast & rich cultural heritage. Unfortunately their social solidarity, religion, and traditions as a distinct culture is at stake today.
Despite many ups and downs, pains and pleasures, the life of Santal people have a different symphony of their own. Traditionally they depend on hunting, fishing and cultivation. They live with festivity. In their life and tradition dance and music are deeply embedded that leads them towards the joy of life and living.
Perhaps such cultural practices of Santali community work hand in hand with their settlement system where every elements of settlement carry specific cultural meaning. Kulhi – the village path – is the most important community space and sacred place in Santali life. Kulhi binds the Santal families into social relation with one another. It is not only a village path but also a yard to them. It is their collective responsibility to clean the Kulhi . Santal people celebrate their festivals by dancing and singing along the Kulhi. Jaher than – the central community space – is another sacred place where Santal people perform their rituals.
In Dinajpur, this is the project where they can find their hope and inspiration to represent and preserve their culture and values of their life. This cultural complex is envisioned to protect their tangible and intangible culture and tradition. The functional blocks are organized in a linear fashion along the axis following their village pattern where they organize their settlement linearly along the village path. A hybrid system of construction is proposed in order to achieve stability against earthquake and at the same time keep it in coherence with rural soundings. Structures are covered with thatch roof and jute stabilized mud is used as infill so that the Santal people can maintain it by their own.
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