Saif Ul Haque Sthapati, Arcadia Education Project in Bangladesh
Photos: Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Sandro di Carlo Darsa + Zoom
Distinguished with the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, this bamboo construction in South Kanarchor harbors a kindergarten, a professional training center, and a hostel. Carried out by the Dhaka firm of Saif Ul Haque, the 'amphibious' structure anchored to the site can sit on the ground or float on the water, depending on the rains, the plot being flooded five months a year.
With an innovative design based on traditional construction techniques, the building is made of low-cost materials including three kinds of bamboo – chosen for lightness and durability – and recycled elements like steel drums and automobile tires. The posts – sunken 2 meters into the ground – and the roof are chemically treated to prevent rot. The rest of the pieces have been waterproofed through the application of the liquid that results from boiling the local gaab fruit, following a traditional Bangladesh method. Instead of using corrodible steel wire, most of the joints were executed by means of a rope-tie technique.
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