This bamboo made school from Bangladesh just won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture

A very simple but quite innovative amphibious structure made of bamboo was adjudged one of the six winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. It was announced Thursday in the Russian city of Kazan. The award-winning structure houses a school for underprivileged children in Bangladesh.

About the project

The Arcadia Education Project is situated on the bank of Dhaleshwari in South Kanarchar of Keraniganj. The award-winning structure for this project is constructed by Saif Ul Haque Sthapati and run by Maleka Welfare Trust.

But the most unique thing is, the project is built on a site that remains submerged by three-meter of water a third of the year on average.

The structure was built using very simple materials -different varieties of bamboo, recycled tires and steel drums. The innovative part of the structure is that it rises with the water level. The structure expands on about 486 square metres. 

Read more: Abandoned WWII airbase to turn into Bangladesh’s first Aeronautical and Aviation University

The innovation has paid off handsomely. The six winners of the Aga Khan Award would share the prize money of $1 million among them, as stated by a release of Aga Khan Development Network.

The release also added: “The modesty of the program, the use of materials and the construction method are all successful parts of building this amphibious school through experimental and collaborative teamwork. Though simple and compact, the project resolves complex issues – of buoyancy, anchoring against the river current and waste management.”

Read more: Bangladesh earns the highest rate of trust in vaccines, France the lowest

How the structure is made

A traditional Bengali method was employed in the construction. The bamboos that were used in the structure were collected from neighbouring villages. They were then chemically treated and made waterproof by applying liquid made by boiling local Gaab fruits. Moreover, most of the joints in the structure used a rope-tie technique rather than steel wire which would corrode. This technique was a major innovation itself. 

“At a time of rising sea levels, this modest bamboo school illustrates how to build an affordable and viable solution with locally available materials.”

Said an official press release about the structure 

Read more: From slums of Dhaka to the USA, the incredible story of Siam

The people behind the project

The construction of the structure was executed by a team led by Pran Bollov Biswas from December 2014 to February 2016. For planning the building at the cost of $50,800, the designers had spent exactly two years from December 2012.

About the Aga Khan Awards

The Arcadia Project was not the only project catching limelight in the Aga Khan Awards. Bangladeshi project, Amber Denim Loom Shed in Gazipur, was earlier shortlisted in the final 20s for the 2019 award.

The other winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture are the Revitalisation of Muharraq of Bahrain, the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, the Public Spaces Development Programme in Tatarstan of Russia, Alioune Diop University Teaching and Research Unit in Bambey of Senegal, and Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah of United Arab Emirates.

Like our content? Follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates. We want to hear from you. Take a moment to write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestion. Contact us for advertising and partnership opportunities at [email protected] Thank you!