#1 JUM CULTURAL COMPLEX, Rangamati | Jimi Chakma (BUET)
Architect Mohiul Motasim | Toronto, Canada
Jum Cultural Complex, a thesis project by Jimi Chakma presented at BUET 2014, is a celebration of the cultural identity of Jumma people and their unique way of life. It tells the story of the diminishing society of the indigenous people of Jumma, the struggle preserving their lifestyle, livelihood, language and identity and an answer to their salvation, an initiation to rejuvenate and re-establish the sense of well-being and secure the cultural identity of Jumma people under an unified cultural complex of their own. The proposed site is located at Manikchari, Rangamati, a hilly area surrounded by natural settings and views, ideal for ‘Jumchash’ which is a local cultivation practice integral to the ‘Jum’culture, a livelihood inseparable from their lifestyle, food habit, festival, dance and music. The designer successfully addresses the need and vision for the local people by carefully organizing the cultural centre along a linear path on the hilly site overlooking the natural view and cultivation land and creates a transitional destination which is common to this local area in the form of bazar and social gathering place. Traditional building technology is being masterfully incorporated with a hint of modern innovation and passive design in the complex and promotes local materials like, bamboo, wood and sun grass. The whole complex is a cluster of smaller structures placed along the path which follows the natural topography and the paddy field and centered around the circular multipurpose hall “the Genhuli Hall” attached to a waterbody providing gathering places for the cultural activities. Typical buildings follow traditional elevated platform construction method with open deck and sloped roof providing openness, green solution and minimum footprint on the natural settings. The overall project is a well-crafted articulation of the designer who truly feels by heart the voices of the “Jumma people” and is an example of true innovation utilizing indigenous design technique and methodology for the survival and preservation of indigenous people and their cultural identity.
#2 VERTICAL SCHOOL : REIMAGINING LEARNING SPACE | Mukimul Islam Khan (BUET)
Architect Rashed Bhuyan | PhD, CASA, Singapore
Vertical School is an excellent design work. The design outstands in its formal expression, functional clarity, orientation of masses, zoning, indoor-outdoor relationships, climatic considerations and site-analysis. Although critiqued by ideologists, multi-storied building system seems to be an obvious solution for schools in extremely dense context of Dhaka. In such context, a major problem for architects is to create interesting breathing spaces besides formal classrooms. Vertical School rightly identified ‘passive learning space’ (or the lack of it) as a key design problem and explored all layers of spatial possibilities within a very challenging site-constraint.
I am particularly inspired by the ground level organization and the detailed treatment of individual spaces. At the ground level, the designer created open and semi-open play spaces appropriate for different age groups and placed them beside the adjacent lake. The circular-shaped ‘performance and interaction zone’ perfectly interlocks all the building blocks. Most importantly, the designer dealt each space with detailed analysis and carefully translated that analysis into interesting forms. The designer appropriately utilized modular and clustering techniques to organize functions vertically and achieve coherence in elevations. Artistic rendering of 3D images are wonderful. I believe, if materialized, young learners will enjoy Vertical School very much.
#3 WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND MANGROVE INTERPRETATION CENTER, Sundarban | Farjana Rahman (AUST)
Architect & Asst prof. Fatema Meher Khan | PhD Researcher, University of Melbourne, Australia
The following thesis project by Farjana Rahman, AUST, in its simplest form, is a ‘visitor information center’ located at the entry point of most wondrous Sunderban in Bangladesh – the largest natural mangrove reserve forest in the world. The stated aim of the project is noble one that is to enhance the visitor’s experience and to increase the visitor’s commitment to conserve the endangered ecosystems and wildlife biodiversity of the forest.
The project turns out to be a successful exercise, demonstrating that nature can be preserved while creating an active environment for people. Interestingly enough, the idea is to reduce the impact of human activity, even though visitors would be coming to the center. This is why the infrastructure is sensitively designed, with materials that are perishable in nature and can be sourced from the nearby sites. The lightweight structures are raised above the ground and connected by the wooden ‘trails’, therefore guaranteeing the protection of the natural base of Sunderban and allow free flow of flood water during high tides. In architectural sense, the winding pattern of the wooden pathway is stimulating a sensual experience of natural forest trails while functioning like a datum by connecting the functional blocks.
However, large footprint of the project and manifestation of subjective prejudice in selection of form may receive some criticism. The project also lacks important technical insights regarding use of bamboo as a principle building material in a context where it is exposed to saline atmosphere and frequent cyclonic storm.
#4 CENTRE FOR PUPPETRY | Md. Asad Hossen ( BRACU)
Architect Sami Al Hasan | faculty member, Department of Design, CBCC and CIHE , Hong Kong.
Architects in a way contribute to the society by shaping up its built environment and places of social interaction. In such endeavour socio-spatial needs of future generation are much pivotal issue to address. With that in mind ‘Centre for Puppetry’ is appreciably a well-intended project questioning recent trend of raising our children and aiming in facilitating activities for more informal and flexible manner of learning. Choosing puppetry as medium of learning, entertainment and artistry-building is thoughtful and creative in that drive.
The tectonic composure is the strongest part of this project; a cluster of functional blocks juxtaposed with ample space volume in between, which is much appropriate for a public complex. The formal expression is mainly inspired by the suspending nature of string-puppetry, the very local form of puppetry in Bangladesh. It is a well-judged transformation based on broader understanding of the topic. The complexities of form and space has been well sorted in drawings and model making, especially plans are detailed out in negotiating spatial flow. Programmatically the core functions and basic zoning are much responsive to project’s intention and nature. However detailed programme could pay more attention to context and innovation.
Three areas can be discussed for further considerations. On first, site selection can be argued on a larger urban context. The location basically dedicated to and comprised of administrative headquarters is not the best catchment point for residential population. On other hand as a travelled destination there are no other children and family facilities within walking distance, making it an isolated in the office village; could a more multi-purposed destination or proximity be considered.
As a theme and content puppetry has been considered on a more global perspective. Although concept is directly inspired by local type of puppetry, there is less reflection of local art and crafts. As like the building is more of international, still there was scope incorporating details with visual references from the craftsmanship of ‘putul naach’. Same way in programme traditional putul naach could be part of performance through smaller theatres.
The final point relates back to the primary audience and project objective. As a centre for children of different ages, could spaces be considered from a child’s perspective? How scale of mass could relate and represent the spirit of a playful childhood, could there be better narratives focusing kids, apart from the workshops and theatre could there be more array of micro spaces/functions for kids’ spontaneous play and interact.
Yet, as a B.Arch final studio project overall it is a well done: complete, well communicated, excellent hold on formal languages. The creation externally tends to be an iconic form in the grand part of city with its postmodernist superstructure floated over a public green. While internally it is series of affluent spaces with public-scale volumes and dynamic forms.
#5 THE ATGHAR-KURIANA FLOATING MARKET | Imran Hasan ( AIUB )
Architect & Assoc. Prof. Ashik Vaskor Mannan | Dhaka , Bangladesh
The splendor of this project reflects the affection of the designer with the site, surroundings and the canal life and livelihood of Pirojpur Jhalokathe area. The designer tried to deal with the project wisely. He tried to identify the lack of infrastructure for performing the activities and immediately infill those where needed. Those top down masses never disturb the vivacity personality of greenish Atghar- Kuriana and this is the achievement of this project. The designer didn’t approach with a touristic attitude to invent architecture; rather he tried to find out bottom up answer and encouraged the non hegemonic, subaltern solution for his design. He went into detail- tried and loved to investigate the needs for this Guava boat market and unearth the answer from them. It seems his approach is enhancing to escalate the performance of that space.