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. 

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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.”

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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.

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From slums of Dhaka to the USA: The incredible story of Siam

We all love underdogs. Rags to riches stories are quite popular amongst people. A story defying all odds has become a reality in our country because of the amazing resilience of a boy. A boy from the slums of Rayerbazar has managed a scholarship in one of the most prestigious IB programs of USA!

If anyone ever told MD Bilal Hossain, a caretaker in Rayerbazar, that his son would one day attend a prestigious program in the US, he would probably let out a big sigh or laugh it off. He had struggled quite a lot in maintaining the expenses of his family from his low-paid job. His struggles doubled when he lost his job right after admitting his only son, Siam Hossain, in a school of Jaago foundation in 2008.

Flash forward eleven years, Siam has successfully rekindled the hopes of his family for a better through his nothing less than stellar academic performance.

He has managed to earn a two-year scholarship at the renowned United World College (UWC) in New Mexico, USA.

Starting from the academic session 2019-20, the scholarship is worth $80,000.

Siam’s academic journey through years

This wonderful academic achievement didn’t come in a single day. Siam had always shown good performances in his academics.  He had achieved GPA-5 in the Primary Education Completion (PEC) examination in 2012. He had also registered an A grade from the science department at last year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.

The UWC programme

UWC (or United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with the mission to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. UWC consists of 18 schools and colleges on four continents, several short educational programmes, and national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide.

Siam has received a scholarship in their college of New Mexico. Most of these18 schools and colleges exclusively offer two-year residential programmes, for young people aged 16–19 years, during which they complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

“There was a time when I didn’t take my studies that seriously. However, hopes for better and higher schooling arose in my mind after being admitted to the Jaago Foundation School”

Siam said during a press conference at Jaago. 

Siam thanked his sponsors because there was a time he thought of quitting his studies because of financial hardship. He had also mentioned how his ambitions rose after his stellar result in the PECE examination. 

The dreams of Siam

Siam expressed his ambition to become either a doctor or a communication specialist. Upon completing his two-year course at the UWC, he would like to pursue higher education at a foreign university before returning home to serve the people.