|Name:||M A Kader Zeeshan & Ridwan Tanvir|
|Client:||Md. Nasiruddin Chowdhury|
| Notes from the Architect |
Renzo Piano once stated “Architecture is a very dangerous job. If a writer makes a bad book, eh, people don’t read it. But if you make bad architecture, you impose ugliness on a place for a hundred years.”
We can’t agree more with this notion. However, it’s not only about imposing ugliness, it’s also about the human experience of the building and associated health and comfort of the occupants. Living in 21st century, we still tend to strive for radical simplification of form, a rejection of ornamentation, use of universal building material and aggravate “placelessness” through universal modernism. These acts often criticised for causing a setback to regional culture and identity. To counter the modernist approach, a new discourse, termed as Critical Regionalism, has emerged that put emphasis on the understanding of place and tectonics, its spatial and experiential qualities. It advocates for architecture that is responsive to local context and sensitive towards materials.
Following the same line of thought, we believe, architecture that strongly responds to the nature, becomes part of the landscape through its expression, and evokes a sense of belonging to its occupants. The level of abstraction and universal behavior could be achieved by recognizing the regional context, culture and vernacular strategies.
When the project was first commissioned, the program was just like a simple house with some additional functions. Initial program included 4 bedrooms, living space for a large gathering, dining space, study room, kitchen and caretaker room. Then we took the challenge of reformulating the program in a different way. Instead of 4 bedrooms, we proposed 3 bedrooms and an additional family living which would work as a makeshift sleeping space at night. We took the study room out of the main building and intended to make it a separate entity with a strong identity. We desired to reduce building footprint, through compact design and put more importance to semi outdoor spaces (e.g. veranda) that creates the dialogue between building and nature. A compact design would help to leave the whole site as green as possible.
The main building is east west oriented to catch the prevailing breeze from the south as well as to reduce the solar heat gain. However, this orientation exposes the building to the south sun and driving monsoon rain. Since this is a weekend house, we focused more on public and semi-public spaces like living, dining space etc. instead of bedrooms. The central living and dining space are the kernel of the building that has been accompanied by verandas in the southern periphery. Veranda works as a buffer space and protect the living space from direct sun and rain. This central double height space always stays cool due to its huge volume and constant cross ventilation. Operable high windows on the north side allows rising heated air to go out and induce a pressure variation inside that draws the south wind inside to create the constant cross ventilation.
Traditionally, “Kachari Ghar” concept was a widespread practice in rural architecture of Bangladesh. This project carries that idea in the form of a library. This single room seemingly floats over the water body, creates a sense of tranquility in and around the place.
Outdoor environment of the project is full of natural elements. The initial zoning of the master plan was done keeping all existing planted trees in mind. Landscape was recreated with common trees and plants, which were selected as a subtle blend to the local environment.
The best place to be in the late afternoon or early mornings in this warm humid region is the semi outdoor and outdoor space often open to sky. It has plenty of spaces like veranda, terrace, courtyards etc. The project displays several variations of spaces in different locations to have different feelings in different parts of the day. In addition to typical shaded veranda, we provided a double height veranda that add a grandness in the formal impression as well as in spatial experience. It also allows the tilted winter sun light to penetrate through the louvre. There is another terrace on the north side adjacent to the family living space which overlooks the green paddy field behind the site.
The prime building material is gas burnt brick which is sourced within only 50km of the site. Brick is a very low embodied energy material. Aluminum section as the window frame. And woods (Shegun, Loha kath, Gorjon, Kerosin) for doors and furniture. All the furniture is custom made and built in the site. Besides, we used the leftover, broken bricks to cast landscape pavement blocks in the site.
The main structural system is basically a column- beam frame with supporting load bearing walls. Since we wanted to maintain the true expression of brick throughout, it was challenging to address the requirement of RCC in the columns. Hence, we came up with an idea of composite column that will have RCC surrounded by one layer of bricks. The roof is supported by inverted beam and its benefit is twofold. First, it gives a beam free clean ceiling especially in the double height section. Second, the inverted beam on the roof helps to retain filled earth for roof top green and planting.
As we wanted to design the reading space as a separate yet independent entity, we take it out from the main building and placed it along the west side boundary of the site with a water body right in front of it. The reading space has book storage facility and a small toilet with it, which now has its own quiet territory to focus on reading. We are terming it as library which has an open deck extending over the water body that give the chance to enjoy the subtle ripples on the water surface. The coolness due to the water body, the rhythmic reflection of water on the ceiling, and proximity to nature is a significant visceral experience that we wanted to create.
M A Kader Zeeshan
Structural Consultant: Engr. Rakibur Rahman
Electrical Consultant: Engr. Niloy Das & Engr. Humayun Kabir Biddut
Interior Design: M A Kader Zeeshan & Ridwan Tanvir
Landscape Design: M A Kader Zeeshan & Ridwan Tanvir
Photographer: Noufel Sharif Sojol
| Image Gallery |
CONTEXT contributing editor : Md Tarek Morad, Architect & Assistant Professor.