City School of Architecture

Bengali Chronicles


Water, light earth and air are the fundamental elements of nature that My journey started in Old Dhaka along the banks of Buriganga River, a are essential for the existence of life on earth. The interplay of these place that resembled the streets of Pettah in Colombo. Being the first time elements has also governed the design of spaces and places in order I've travelled alone, the vibrant scapes of 'Chawk Bazaar' filled with to create climatically responsive architecture. As an architecture vendors, shop houses, colorful rickshaws and the bustling crowds gave student, the best way to learn the outcomes and generators of good me a sense of familiarity that diminished the feeling of homesickness. || design is through hands on experience: travel.

Experienced the streetscapes and social fabrics and monumental legacies of the Mughal Period; the captivating Lalbagh Fort with its unprecedented The Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary (RATB), sponsored by the prestigious symmetry and water bodies and the Colonial influences in the Ahsan Architecture firm in Bangladesh, 'Shatotto Architecture for Green Manzil; a backdrop to the river bank. Contemporary architecture in Living' by renowned Archt. Rafiq Azam, provides architecture students Dhaka failed to disappoint. the opportunity to travel through Bangladesh for a period of 7-15 days and is awarded in India, Australia and Sri Lanka. This year was the One of the most memorable buildings for me was The Museum of 2nd time RATB was awarded to a student in Sri Lanka, and I, a student Independence by URBANA. This building was a portrayal of poetic use of City School of Architecture was given the honor of experiencing the of architecture and a journey of sensory perception. This underground dynamic fabric of Dhaka, Bangladesh for 10 days; an experience || museum draws in water, light and sounds in order to tell the story of will hold close for the rest of my life.

Bangladesh's struggle for Independence.

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The Liberation War Museum on the other hand used the play of light and volumes to take its user through a visual experience and reflection. Similar languages of architecture are also evident in the design of monuments and memorials that go beyond the purpose of its symbolic nature. These monuments act as breathing spaces within the dense urban fabrics as well as create public pockets. One of my favorites was the National Martyr's Monument in Savar. Its dynamic layered design creates a unique illusion from each angle creating a play of light and shadows. I had the privilege of visiting some of Archt. Rafiq Azam's public, religious and residential projects throughout Dhaka that elevated my learning experience of tropical architecture in a land beyond my country. His attempts to make Dhaka a breathable city through the numerous public park and playground projects such as the Rasulbagh Park and Abdul Alim Playground, gave me an insight into how architects could play a role in making the world a better place through design and engaging communities. The Ashraf Kaiser Vacation house in Savar did justice to climatic responsiveness in almost every way. The use of the natural light and ventilation within this 3 storied residence was carefully executed through open courtyards, lush green terraces, screens and volumes that enabled successful thermal and visual comfort without active measures. Similar principles were adopted in the numerous apartment buildings designed by the architect himself, where intricate details of water, light and landscape were integrated in all common spaces to create a sense of home to all the tenants.

The highlights of my trip were on the last two days, where I visited the Aga Khan Award winning Baitur Rauf Jame Mosque by Archt. Marina Tabassum and the National Parliament Building by world famous Archt. Louis Kahn, two buildings on an architecture students bucket list. The exposed brick mosque tucked inside an urban village, was an epitome of spiritual architecture of human scale. The perforated ceiling drew in light that reflected on the floor creating a starlit illusion. The use of natural light within the mosque was surreal enough to evoke a sense of divinity within the user. This interplay of light through perforations was also visible in Louis Kahn's Bengali masterpiece in a magnified scale. This building humbles its user with its size, form and spatial attributes. The chamber was one of the best spaces within the building, where the volume of the space ran through its entire height, lit by an umbrella-like roof during the day. The vast garden space and mote around this structure contributes to its monumentality leaving any passerby in awe. My travel experience in Bangladesh undoubtedly helped me grow as an architecture student as well as a person. I am truly grateful that Architect's like Rafiq Azam have opened doors to aspiring architects to experience the world outside their comfort zones. I would also like to extend my gratitude to CSA for enabling students like me to receive such opportunities that help us learn beyond the classroom.