- Design Team : Mohammad Abdul Kader, Mohammad Ridwan Tanvir
- Structural Engineer : Rakibur Rahman
- Electrical Engineer : Niloy Das, Humaiun Kabir
- Contractor : Humaiun Kabir
- Site Manager : Arman Rahman Rana
- Wood Contractor : Komol
- Country : Bangladesh
Text description provided by the architects. The project symbolizes a fusion between urban-rural environments. It has been designed for a small family living in the midst of urban chaos, who are deprived of fresh air and a sense of freedom but very much willing to reconnect with the bucolic life. The core idea of this built environment is to preserve the essence of the simplicity our ancestors once had back in their times and transcend some of that to the next generations through contemporary design approaches that recognize regional context, culture, and vernacular strategies.
This weekend retreat accommodates three bedrooms, two family living spaces, one on the ground level and the other on the mezzanine level, dining space, kitchen, study room, and a caretaker room. The zoning of the master plan has been delineated, keeping all existing planted trees in place. Moreover, the building footprint has been reduced through compact design to leave the entire site as green and natural as possible.
The building is placed in east-west orientation, which allows maximum breeze to get in from the South and reduces the solar heat gain. However, this orientation exposes the building to the south sun and driving monsoon rain. Balconies and verandas play a pivotal role here to create the buffer from outdoor to indoor. They protect the indoor living space from direct sun and rain. Such semi-outdoor spaces of different forms are fundamental in warm, humid regions in terms of comfort and creating a dialogue between the indoor and outdoor environment. Balconies and verandas at different levels provide different spatial experiences by connecting to the surrounding rustic environment within and beyond the surrounding paddy field.
The central living and dining space is the kernel of the building, which due to its double-height volumetric nature, always stays cool naturally. Operable high windows on the north side of the building allow rising heated air to go out and induce a pressure variation inside, creating constant cross-ventilation across the space, critical in such a humid climate.
Traditionally, the “Kachari Ghar” concept was a widespread practice in the rural architecture of Bangladesh. This project carries that idea in the form of a library. This single room which serves as a study room with book storage, seemingly floats over the designed water body, creating a sense of tranquility in and around the place. The landscape has been recreated with locally-sourced common trees and plants, which has been selected as a subtle blend of the local environment.
The prime building material is gas-burnt brick which is sourced locally. Exposed brick has been used to evoke a robust tactile feeling. Local woods are used for the furniture and door windows. In order to minimize material waste, leftover broken bricks have been used as brick chips in casting work for landscape pavement blocks in the site. The main structural system is a column-beam frame with supporting load-bearing walls. To preserve the true expression of brick throughout, a composite column has been designed with RCC surrounded by one layer of bricks. Inverted beams support the roof, and its benefit is twofold. Firstly, it gives a beam-free clean ceiling, especially in the interior double-height space. Secondly, the inverted beam on the roof helps to retain filled earth for rooftop green and planting.
Local rural people were given priority in the procurement process of materials and workforce. Inexperienced local workers have been trained to work precisely with materials. During construction, this prioritization helped the poor people of the locality to earn money and get trained, which helped to reduce project costs of supply and transportation significantly. The design of this weekend house intends to respond to nature by embracing it, becoming part of the landscape through its expression, and evoking a sense of belonging to its occupants. The architectural abstraction, formal expression, and spatial experiences are strongly driven by the regional context, culture, and vernacular strategies.