Architecture as Landscape Event |

Landscaping at Historical Arts Faculty, Dhaka University

Project Type: Public Project, Place-Making through Architecture as Landscape Event
Project Location: Arts Faculty, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Project Area: 82,900  sq. ft. 
Lead Architects: Saiqa Iqbal Meghna, Suvro Sovon Chowdhury
Construction: Najmul Ahsan Rajan
Graphic Renderings: Bin Sayeed Bakhti
Photography: Iwan Baan, Noufel Sharif Sojol, Saiqa Iqbal Meghna

Arts Faculty Premise is regarded as the most significant center of historic and cultural prominence containing the Aparajeyo Bangla and historic Bot-tola. The premise is divided into a Triangular Central-Zone at the axis of the main gateway, a Western-Zone containing historic Bot-tola and the Eastern-Zone near the boundary with adjacent Guruduara complex, left as negative space for decades. The University of Dhaka wanted to organize the use of these open spaces by creating designated spaces for users through interventions. A landscape strategy was applied to weave the zones into a single sheet of public matrix by recognizable integration of designed elements.

Natural setting was simultaneously organized and random with layers of large trees. A Transient Symbolism is created in the Central Zone by rotating octagons that centers and disperses at the same time. A cascade is falling to a serene lily pond where a tree bearing temple flower rises from the depth of watery earth. Four commemorative plaques have been erected at the south corner of the central triangular zone, dedicated to the memories of the martyrs of liberation war. The Eastern zone is unfolded subtlety to the users by revitalizing the unattended edges and spaces and is designed to be a democratic space devoid of symbolism. The Bot-tola (replanted Banyan Tree which was uprooted in 1971) was the epicenter of mass uprisings in the 1960s. This historical Emblem at West zone is designed to celebrate the existence of the sculptural bot-tola as a reflection of Bengali consciousness and indomitable yearning for freedom as well as a contemplation and meeting place for both students and faculties. The ‘apparent numbness’ was transformed into an animated one by introducing a crafted brick platform and a metal installation with informative texts describing the history of this place.

The crafted materiality that has been asserted originated from the site found color palette and use of local materials through innovative and novel operatives. A new vocabulary emerged through local craftsmanship using perforated ten-hole-bricks, cut bricks and brick chips with pigmented cement finished surfaces. Material compatibility contains red oxide metal, pure Brass-patina paired with turquoise hued pigmented neat cement and terracotta bricks, where all these dissolve into a rich experiential-surface-image and evolve into a fresh aesthetics.

This design intervention as a public place aims to be accommodating, flexible and inclusive. It aspires to evoke robustness of the city itself. This place offers the liberty of movement for the users through walkways, platforms and also connecting them with nature and culture as well as arts and history.