It’s been one and a half month in Bangladesh and it’s safe to say that I am safe .If I was to describe Dhaka in one word it would be ‘Chaos’.Everyone has their own pace and order for the way things are to be done.They try to find order in the disorder that in a way is created by the cycle rickshaw walas covering almost every inch of the road .
The structure of the city is very organic and development has been fuelled by the citizens migrating to the only big city in the country.Bangladesh has a fluidity in it’s landscape too and being the largest Delta in the world has it’s own pros and cons.The function of the land to be used becomes seasonal.In the summers its dry and land is used and in the rains it floods and water accommodates fishermen.That makes it standout in the Asian continent which gives rise to the idea of Aquatic architecture .
The lifestyle here is dictated by the topography.As it’s a Delta it leads to a lot of Rice production and hence every meal involves rice or ‘roti’ made out of rice.It also includes fish as a part of one of the meals of your day.For all the vegetarians this country won’t be easy but a heaven for the meat lovers!I being a vegetarian have to resort to energy bars as one of the meals of the day.
This is a Muslim country for people who are not aware of it so when I moved here the conservative nature of the country took a bit of a time to understand.There are situations like these that show you how important it is have the freedom to dress ,speak or behave the way you find comfortable.The country even though has a heavy influence of Bengali culture but philosophically they are Muslims.They don’t indentify with girls having equal rights or the freedom just to be an individual.
The country has a big step to take towards development.The citizens don’t understand the importance of basic facilities like clean drinking water or hot water for bathing in cold winter’s like these.They have sort of accepted thats how it’s supposed to be and that is disturbing.Before trying to take a step towards Digital technology the country needs a step to be taken towards basic facilities.
Recently the country has been in the news for giving refuge to the Rohingya Muslims as an aftermath of violence indicted by the Burmese government .The refugee camp is managed by the Army and if anyone wants to provide food or some kind of aid it has to be done through the Army.They are being provided enough food but no other facility like electricity ,clean drinking water or toilets.As a part of one of the architecture firms here I got to analyse the situation closely and create bathing and toilet spaces for them.Thats the least we can do for a situation as bitter as this.
The country is experiencing a shift in it’s nature to understand what it means to be Bangladeshi and recognizing it’s needs and it has started to do that architecturally.With the way the material is chosen or the ideology portrayed it is taking a sensitive step in the right direction.
I will talk about some of the projects built and ongoing projects in my next blog.The projects I believe in a way are shaping what it means to be practicing Asian architecture and raising the idea of Aquatic architecture.