With time, many things have changed at the Dhaka University campus. While landmarks like Aparajeyo Bangla and Modhur Canteen still stand tall, new architectural wonders such as the 'Kola Bhaban Chattar' and the 'Shomaj Biggyan Chattar' have added to the beauty of the campus.
Sthanik Architects, founded in 2009 by Saiqa Iqbal Meghna and Suvro Sovon Chowdhury, were behind the transformation of these two areas.
The architects finished the Shomaj Biggyan Chattar project in 2016 and the Kola Bhaban Chattar project in 2017.
"In a densely populated city like Dhaka, the unattended 'non-places' (a term coined by Marc Augé) can be transformed into places for the community to gather and spend some good time," said Saiqa Iqbal Meghna.
Kola Bhaban Chattar
The Kola Bhaban Chattar or the Arts faculty premise project was divided into three parts - a triangular central-zone, a western-zone extending to Bot-tola and an eastern-zone that made the negative space usable.
According to Saiqa, the idea behind this project was to integrate nature and create a peaceful environment that would allow people to take a break from the monotonous city life.
The central zone has a water body in the centre that adds a tranquil vibe to the whole area.
There is a commemorative plaque at the south corner as a tribute to the martyrs of our Liberation War.
The Bot-tola (the famous banyan tree shade) has been a meeting place for protesting students for ages. The tree is kept in the middle of an octagonal patterned brick platform.
In the Eastern zone, small areas where sunlight cannot reach and grass cannot grow were turned into sitting-spots for people.
"The materials used in this project were all local, cost-efficient and sustainable," Architect Saiqa informed us.
To create the different designs, ten-hole bricks, cut-bricks and brick chips with pigmented cement surfaces were used.
The materials used were red oxide metal, pure brass-patina paired with turquoise hued pigmented neat cement and terracotta bricks.
The materials complimented each other in the best possible way to create a beautiful combination of modern innovation and history.
Shomaj Biggyan Chattar
In 2016, Sthanik Architects designed the Shomaj Biggyan Chattar or the Social Science premise.
Large trees like Rain Trees, Kanakchura, Aam, Kathal, Mahogany, Neem, Kadam, and Bakul were already there but Sthanik architects planted a variety of flower-bearing plants like Aporajita, Nilmoni etc to enhance the natural beauty of the place.
The gallery faces the water body with the central library as a back-drop.
The hanging metal bridge allows an interplay of lights and shades through its porous body.
The architects used perforated bricks with patterned combinations and red oxide coated metal installations with turquoise colored neat cement finish.
On hot summer days, the water body becomes the source of life for street dogs and birds while small water plants and fish keep the water clean.
The cost of this project's maintenance is mostly generated from the semi-open pavilion that serves as a food kiosk.
The project received the IAB Design Award in 2018. The jury cited it as ''a gathering space dug out for an educational institution, from an uncared-for space in the middle of the Dhaka University campus."
While the project has recycled unattended places into places to relax, bond, hangout and learn, it has also made the area greener. Additionally, it has created more spaces for on-campus events.
Architects: Sthanik Consultants
Photos: Iwan Baan, Amlin Iqbal Eshita and Noufel Sharif Sojol
Kola Bhaban Prangon at University of Dhaka
Area: 81250 ft²
Shomaj Biggyan Chattar at University of Dhaka
Area: 20000 ft²