Structural EngineerMd. Shamsul Alam
Text description provided by the architects. Located at a corner plot in Gulshan, the Karim residence was designed with the idea of merging traditional and contemporary building techniques. The variety of materials used in the building is harmoniously synergized to create a calm but playful symphony of the textures. ‘New’ was expressed by means of the concrete plate and the ‘past’ symbolized by old hand-made bricks, thus creating a sense of “unfolding time”. This project, in many ways, reflects transition of the building style in our country.
The site measures 416.7 metric squares, with a beautiful view of the Dhaka cantonment on the west. Incorporating the advantage of the views and dealing with the climatic issue - these played a major decisive role in designing the form of the building. Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by wide seasonal variations in rainfall, high temperatures, and high humidity.Sun in this region is tilted towards the west for most of the daytime. The issue was addressed by a deep overhanging concrete plate, which wrapped around the entire west elevation, providing a deep shadow against the strong glare of the tropical sun. Planter beds are incorporated on the concrete plates, adding a natural softness to the structure, along with the added insulation against heat .The hanging creeper plants from these planter beds create a natural screen that changes with each season, further shading the interior spaces.
Provided the shading device on the western side, there is abundant glare-free light in the interior spaces during the daytime. Wind generally flows from the south-eastern direction in this subcontinent, and natural ventilation in this project is ensured by large uninterrupted open spaces, with balconies and large openings on the north and south facades. The openings for all the major rooms are designed to provide optimum cross ventilation.
While planning, the lifestyle of the client and her children were internalized by the design team, and their specific requirements were taken into account when designing interior spaces. Since the building is designed for a family, the balconies on the northern side were designed in a manner as to allow communication from one to the other. Most of the buildings in Bangladesh are enclosed within a solid boundary wall outlining the plots. This approach was discarded by the architects when designing the landscape of the building, and instead, an attempt was made to enhance the sense of shared community space when designing the landscape. Clear glass boundary walls allow the passer bys to enjoy the serene view of the front yard of the building. Roof-top garden had been carefully designed, so that one can enjoy the feeling of walking on grass and thus feel close to nature. The landscaping on every floor along with the roof garden reduces heat absorption by the concrete slabs, thus insulating the space below and ensuring less dependence on electricity for cooling in the hot summer season.
This project stays true to the architectural style native to this country and yet integrates the contemporary global style harmoniously, representing the emergence of a new building style from traditional roots. An example of successful experimentation and expression of concept, this project has a fresh approach towards apartment building design and use of materials.