The concept of the 'Twin Tower' has always fascinated people living in developing countries, and it is no different in Bangladesh as well. With the perfect blend of intricate design and superlative construction at its core, 'Shanta Forum' is one such twin-tower landmark that unfolds a new chapter of architectural marvels in Dhaka's landscape.
On a premise of 90 katha land, Forum is a 25-story building located at the capital's Tejgaon-Gulshan link road and is the second of three consecutive commercial projects of Shanta [Shanta Western Tower (2009) and Shanta Pinnacle (under construction)] in this vicinity. With buildings like these, Shanta Holdings, one of the biggest real estate companies in Bangladesh, envisions changing Dhaka's skyline.
The location of Forum plays a vital role in making it one of the best commercial spaces in the country.
"Even though Tejgaon is more known as an industrial zone, the city planners knew that this is the next big business hub of Dhaka and Shanta led the way in its transformation. The location is a pivotal point of the city and accessible from any part of Dhaka. This advantage has made Tejgaon the most lucrative location for investors and business owners to build their future businesses here. Moreover, the breath-taking view of mighty Hatirjeel from Forum is one of its kind," said Shihab Ahmed, Senior General Manager & Head of Sales & Customer Services at Shanta Holdings.
Open space is one such attribute of the whole infrastructure that flows generously all over around. From the wide-open plaza on the ground floor (200 feet on the North side and 175 feet on the South Side) to the double-height atrium and reception, the bountiful free communal spaces give the beholder a sense of comfort and peace.
The floor area on each level ranges between 5,500 sq ft - 14,950 sq ft approximately. The ceiling height has been set at 12 feet, offering the tenants the scope to design the interior at their freedom, without making the area feel claustrophobic. The floor plans are done in such a way that allows the floors the maximum efficient space of the area, by reducing the number of columns to a minimum.
"We have implemented a peripheral load-bearing structure that reduces the number of columns and negative spaces. Unnecessary negative spaces hinder the workflow at a workplace," Shihab added.
The building is insulated with 32mm double-glazed, low emission, heat resistant glass, in a fully unitised curtain wall system for energy efficiency, durability, dust and waterproofing. This is surely a state-of-the-art feature that has elevated the stature of Forum. All of the finishing materials of the building are very high-end and directly imported from international sources.
Eight smart destination passenger elevators of a renowned European brand guide the visitors' way in and ensure optimised energy efficiency and minimum wait time. The building has two dedicated service lifts too. Shanta is going to open an artsy cafe on the aesthetically landscaped rooftop soon.
The wide-open landscaped plaza area is designed to create a bonding between nature and the users of this building.
The Forum is conceptualised by Ehsan Khan, Principal Architect, EK Architects. The award-winning architect has done a marvellous job in designing this masterpiece, considering every detail of Dhaka's landscape.
"I had to design it in such a way that meets Shanta's expectation and identity while ensuring the utmost utility of the space," he said.
Forum is situated between a 60 ft main road at its front and a secondary road that is connected at the back. Architect Ehsan Khan wanted to design a structure that physically and visually connects the neighbourhood and both the roads. Hence, building a monolithic block with a void in the middle, connected at the ground and rooftop, seemed the best choice to him.
The monumental Forum stands out in its way, yet creates harmony with its surroundings through its visual language. Ehsan Khan identifies the structure as a sculpture in Dhaka city's urban fabric.
The architect wanted to offer enough breathing space to the nine-to-five working people, by providing them with communal spaces like a roof garden, a cafe and an urban plaza on the ground floor, with aesthetic landscaping and water features, etc. The Electro-mechanical Engineering, façade, landscaping and lighting designs were all done by international consultants, to ensure a truly international standard in terms of quality and ambience.
The three-layer basement parking with a sophisticated mechanical ventilation system accommodates 350 cars at a time, making the underground space safe from exhaust fumes and very breathable. Forum also has a central HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system with water-cooled, centrifugal chillers and delivers the conditioned air efficiently by a delivery ductwork system.
Through a full iBMS (integrated building management system), Shanta can supervise what is going on in any corner of the building (including the Lifts, Lighting, HVAC, CCTV, Fire Detection system etc). All of this is monitored 24/7 by a team of experts from the central Command Room of the building. Moreover, Forum has two fire stairs with UL-certified fire-resistant doors. When it comes to safety protocols, Shanta Holdings makes no compromise and they have become a preferred choice for corporate tenants seeking quality and safety.
Currently, all of the office floors at Forum are sold out. The complex now has renowned corporate tenants like Unilever – in their new head office, Dekko Group, Confidence Trade, Meghna Group, Shanta Lifestyle showroom and more. In this project, Shanta Holdings is offering ten years of building Facility Management Services to its clients to maintain this building at its finest form.
"Working with a breath-taking view and in a building where market-dominating brands are thriving at their own pace boosts any worker's spirit. This is what entrepreneurs look forward to," concluded Shihab.