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A Pavilion for Public Ritual |

New Mandap at Dhakeshwari Temple Complex

Project Type: Public Religious Project
Project Location: Dhaka University, Bangladesh
Project Area: 5,900 sq. ft. 
Lead Architects: Suvro Sovon Chowdhury, Saiqa Iqbal Meghna,
Team Member: Bin Sayeed Bakhti
Photography: Noufel Sharif Sojol, Saiqa Iqbal Meghna, Bin Sayeed Bakhti

The attributes those characterize Temple Architecture deal with the mode of public accessibility and a balance between permeability and mystery as well as mysticism. The Bengali transformation of a Mandap is rather somehow a concept that prevails in the Eastern part of Indian sub-continent and deals within a hegemonic background where it is participatory and apparently an ‘event’ than that of a static built-form. Though for this kind of Spatial Perpetuality, the conception of the built-form is itself a challenge.
The Deity to be treated as a member of the family. A relationship rather very mundane, informal and the place might represent an unprecedented scale of a holistic social image. It is contextual through its scale, elements, tactility and material.
From the concrete surface to the brick mason works with untreated rawness of metal to the natural texture of the marble surfaces and with the acceptance of rawness, the decay, the rust and the deformation, there is a sense of scale and consideration towards a durable and sustainable rationale. This was regarded as a metaphoric establishment of mundane temporality of the physical world. 

The whole building contains the Sanskrit scripts from ‘Devimahatya’ on the surfaces to react with atmosphere. These are all depicted to celebrate the greatness of the Mother, the deity as the Ultimate source of Power and Knowledge. 

For being a participatory built-form, the utilitarian features have multiplicity. The whole volume, with its designated functional zones, acts as a ‘container’ of socio-cultural, socio-religious and also socio-political events. The space has layers and fragments but considerably all of these can be defined as a whole.

The Six Frustums on Mandap symbolizes ‘Shashthaindriyo’ which act to control and direct the access of Sunlight as atmospheric element. The designated Central VOID can only be used by the divine and rests play along. It is a volumetric experience that has a spatial continuity as a whole. The space is comprised of continuous visual connections with containing the natural atmosphere within the built-form. The form of the Frustums symbolizes the ‘Chouchala’ roof which is a distinctive attributes for the public and religious structures of Bengal delta. As the ‘Dhakeshwari’ Temple being of about 1000 years old with ‘Chouchala’ roof, the inspiration was very particular in this case. Another inspiration was the ‘Dewl’ structures which exists in the various parts of Bengal. These Do-chala or Chouchala roof rests over composite load-bearing system consists of feature walls, arches and brick/masonry columns.

The place has a definite essence of the Phenomenological approach where the experiential images to be created by the observer and to engage in divination without participating directly in any form of ritual. Here, the tactility and texture created by light and sound fill the void to achieve a divine serenity. As the elongated Pavilion oriented towards north-east, the dramatic interplay of Sunlight through the 6 apertures is quite theatrical. The movement of sunrays along the surfaces and installations during the day indicates the anticipated drama of natural phenomenon and human built interventions. The form and space rise above the mere artificiality and postulate about the diminishing boundary between man-made and natural environment.

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