AGA KHAN ACADEMY DHAKA: PROMOTing EQUALITY AND SOCIAL COHESION
Designed together with Dhaka-based SHATOTTO Architecture for Green Living and Rafiq Azam, the residential school for 1200 students is the fourth in the network of Aga Khan Academies.
It follows the overarching Aga Khan Academies brief whilst integrating historic Bangladeshi customs in spatial arrangements. The 'Maidan' – a large tree-lined central field, and the spiritual, recreational and social heart of the school – will provide a calm, focal space for the campus, is surrounded by residential and academic buildings that enclose and share the space in the cultural tradition of the early Bengali universities.
Smaller courtyards around the campus create focal points for the Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programme students, along with the future residential quads for boys and girls of different ages – each facing back to the central 'Maidan'. These courtyards are connected by a continuous covered walkway, creating shelter from sun and rain when walking between buildings, all of which unifies the design
The buildings and spaces of a school, often the first exposure of young people to architecture and designed spaces, both educate the eye of students and reinforce the intellectual standards and cultural rootedness of the institution.
His Highness the Aga Khan, Founder and Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
The building pays homage to locally manufactured brickwork and traditional skills, teaching those skills to the next generation of brickworkers.
We learned from local precedents and expertise to develop motifs of brick patterning and artistry. The result is an architectural language which showcases intricate brickwork techniques set against ‘jali’ screen detailing as a contemporary interpretation of an important local tradition.
HEAT FLOOD AND DROUGHT
Bangladesh has a challenging climate, but we wanted to retain a low-energy approach. To counteract the humidity the architecture facilitates air movement - the buildings are designed to breathe through traditional 'jali' screens and windows: All circulation is open air but is sheltered from sun and rain.
The area was drained of swamp water some 20 years before we started looking at the site. We developed a strategy based on attenuation and infiltration to manage all runoff during intense rainfall events on-site. Each building is raised 1.3m above ground level, deep boreholes, swales around the Maidan and extensive planting and landscaping provide temporary floodwater retention.
This is a climate responsive architecture informed by traditional buildings and contemporary low energy design and technology.