CLIENT: DHAKA NORTH CITY CORPORATION
Background of the project (By client):
Gulshan 2[which was planned in 1961] is an upscale enclave comprising the affluent and the wealthiest neighborhood of Dhaka and an array of vibrant streets with modern office buildings, apartment buildings, brand shops, embassies, clubs, along with a high-end international dining scene focused on Gulshan Avenue. A well-to-do crowd congregates in stylish cafes and bakeries on the avenue and around Gulshan Circle 2, where stores selling traditional jewelry, fashion houses, daily utensils, and electronics are also clustered. On the other hand, shops for daily needs – from grocery to kacha bazar and shops for lower income people who serve the locality add to the rich diversity of the area. Consequently, the action of Gulshan 2 starts with the consolidation of wealthy neighborhood, corporate users and thousands of lower income groups of people who serve the whole organism.
A Civic Centre is the (often historical) area of a city where commerce, entertainment, shopping, and local governance are concentrated. The given site has great potential and perfect location to be the “Civic Centre” for the Northern part of the Dhaka through its inclusive design.
The project may start with a vision, not just fulfilling the task of designing a marketplace. The vision would be to transform an archetypal marketplace to a desirable “Civic Centre” where citizen will find their voices through “Place-making”. Place-making is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, designing and management of public spaces. It is the process of planning quality public spaces that contribute to the well-being of the local community and also guide it to make economic progress. It capitalizes on local community’s assets, inspiration and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being. According to the UN Habitat Barcelona declaration 2016, Place making is one of the key aspects of design. The sense of place and the quality of life is the key components of a community life, which is based on its culture and heritage. Therefore, the process of design must recognize the collaborative process of considering physical, cultural and the social identities that define a place. Place making enable Community to claim ownership and enhance a sense of achievement and belonging.
A high commercial building [DNCC Tower] would rise from the northern part of the site, would resemble a pride for the whole complex and would be the symbol of express progress of our country. This high commercial building will fulfill the fast-growing needs for office /business space in this area and would emerge as an investment pouring into the area.
Any public space needs to address sociability, uses & activities, comfort & images, access & linkages with the city to become a ‘great’ public space. Sociability includes welcoming, friendly, interactive spaces where the architectural functions may emphasize both the privileged and the underprivileged: the women, children and elderly citizens, ensure social networks and also the street life and evening life of the locality. Uses and activities of a place can make it more sustainable, celebratory, and active through its land use pattern and retail sales. Considerations for walk-able and green spaces, historical values, and environmental aspects can make a public space more comfortable and can create an “Image of a place” that describe how friendly a city is. Further considerations of traffic, transit usages, pedestrian activities and parking pattern & requirements for the site and surroundings will help to understand the accessibility and linkages of a place. The whole site surrounded by roads in three sides and future high-rise building (northern part of the site) owned by DNCC, may create a unique atmosphere for the urban dwellers. All these contemplations can guide an architect to design a successful Civic Center for the North Dhaka with its livable built environments. This project, funded by the DNCC, is aiming to explore the development of innovative, creative, inclusive, cohesive and sustainable public spaces along with its high commercial demands. A well-thought balance of public and commercial spaces may uplift the project to a coveted center that involves people of all age groups. As architects, we have the responsibility to contribute to the built environment and make choices that may change the world for the better—through better buildings, settlements, thoughtful landscape and urban planning.
The project is situated in Gulshan model town, City Jorip Daag no-3434, DNCC Market, Gulshan 2, Thana-Gulshan, Dhaka 1212 on a chunk of 11334.17 Sq. M. or 2.295 Acre land.
Idea for Place-making:
A civic Plaza that is sustainable in all-encompassing factors. Achieving maximum light, the safety and security of all can be easily achieved. Allowing Nature as the stand-by threshold to city road, even the connective small arc-shape road becomes the most legible point of the entire complex. Tree follies and Building shell design intelligently with brick modules exterior solid surfaces and slight fenestration playfulness with geometry allowed the city sound to be toned down in the plaza level. This will encourage a dialogue of diverse age-groups even species of dwellers of that place. Eventually a soul-mark of it’s preceding feel intact and enhanced.
From the Architectural Designer:
To start with the vision of having a neighborhood landmark space, the Gulshan 02 DCC re-envisioned to be a center for the Arts, The Books and the Contemporary Creations performing alongside a Market-place united to be a CIVIC SPACE. Tracing back history, such Civic centers has always been placed within the densest of fabric of a city, having a Public-juxtaposition of function, space and place. The term plaza (in architectural language) was coined to this particular special urban-characteristic primarily.
From then to now, the core idea of a civic center has remained a complex frame-work of great institutes housed within the built-structure tied to a public square for exchange of socio-cultural dialogue. A symbolic representation of that particular city. A place for interactions of citizens and visitors dwelling the plaza fore-courts and infrastructure being in service to what the city is offering to all.
For addressing the essence to preserve in the existing place, and to add to it, introduction of light to the set zoning of the future development (suggested) is the key perception to the project. As the commercial building of DNCC dedicated to the offices becomes a threshold wall from the Civic center (site) a continuous Light was ensured to the all sides of the premise. A functional clustering was realized with all their individual properties, falling into the following primary categories (suggested) i.e., A. Civic amenities B. Well-being Facilities and C. Markets.
The Civic functions being a central attention in-terms of architecture, structure and the life-line automatically falls in the middle sandwiched by lit-up public accessibilities. Architecturally, for spaces like auditorium to cineplex, performing arts, indoor-games all are introverted or artificially lit functions playing close to none interactions with outside in terms of functionality/service becomes a volumetric presence in mass conception process. A playful lit-up atrium to connect the 03 functions as a knot tied gracefully to the fore-court plaza; acting as the spine for all connectivity. Also bridging the architecture’s dialogue with clear legible, safe and accessible information visible from the city’s mobile life outdoors. All large volume requirements strategically being interconnected to structural properties in achieving design efficiency, was envisioned by having Steel structure placed on top an RCC mainframe in essence.
From the Structural Designer:
For the MRT STATION Designers:
The Grid system mentioned earlier compliments the required sizes and sections perfectly. We have also introduced a complimentary system of X-shaped/ Criss-crossed cross section and have added to reach a reception and public introductory level for the 30 story Commercial Office building alongside the core level access of 04 lifts: 01 Service/Fireman’s lift, 01 designated DNCC users’ lift, 02 Fireman’s lift all accessible from Pedestrian levels. As architects and designers, inter-communication based further scopes are also present in the Site connectivity.
Basic Environmental analysis:
By allowing Natural air to flow around with ample amount of set-backs from surrounding structures, the Plaza stays a vibrant naturally lit space. The landscape of trees and follies will shade and cool the temperature to a reasonably friendly weather all day long.