In early 2017, the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award invited, through open call, individuals or groups of 3rd and 4th year Bangladeshi Architecture students to propose new models for learning in abandoned urban spaces across Bangladesh, using ecologically sustainable, and locally sourced materials and technology. Participants were required to design an imaginative and innovative open pavilion, both visually stimulating and architecturally flexible for different functions, including lectures, events and workshops. The winning proposal was selected by an international jury: Aurélien Lemonier (National Museum of the History of Immigration, Paris, France); Jeannette Plaut (Constructo, Santiago de Chile); and Shamshul Wares (Department of Architecture, State University
From 135 registrations, Maksudul Karim’s (b. 1996) design, Chhaya Tori (ছায়া তরী), which translates as Shadow Boat, was selected. A level 3, B.Sc. Architecture student at Premier University in Chittagong, Karim’s design utilises traditional Shampan boat building techniques—synonymous with Bangladesh’s fishing communities—bringing traditional rural Bangladeshi construction techniques into the urban environment. Using bamboo as its primary construction material, Chhaya Tori (Shadow Boat) will float above ground level on bamboo supports, covered with a shade (known locally as choi) erected using traditional bamboo inter-weaving techniques, allowing natural light to fall into the internal teaching space. Bangladesh has one of the largest inland waterway networks in the world with nearly 5,000 miles of navigable waters, making boats a vital mode of transportation to the nation. Despite this, the use of traditional boat building methods is in decline in favour of mechanised mass-produced models.
“Maksudul Karim takes up themes from the origins of the tectonics as the interlacing of materials and fibres proposing an habitable structure. Exploring with local materials and techniques he offers experiences based in the generation and supersposition of shadows with different sieves that present an organic changing atmosphere.”
- Quote from Jeannette Plaut, Co-Founder and Director Constructo, and Samdani Architecture Award Jury Member
Karim’s design will be unveiled at the heart of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy as the Dhaka Art Summit 2018’s Education Pavilion. Karim will be awarded the inaugural Samdani Architecture Award during DAS 2018, and receive funding towards further studies.