IILab. fashions cloud-like bamboo canopies and lantern-shaped pavilions in China
by Jerry ElengicalJan 08, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Jul 25, 2022
The 'shape' of architecture has been a unique subject of fascination for creators ever since the evolution of primal residences, and as endeavours of human construction ventured into more public realms. An accepted understanding of "good architecture" with all its abstraction in tow would agree on its essence–the essential–being intact, notwithstanding its shape. In its own essence, therefore, a basal architecture would lean toward stripping down and baring, one of the founding tenets of modernism itself. However, vernacular interpretations of that tenet, particularly in South Asian countries that struggled for long in establishing an economic stronghold and a post-colonial architectural identity, have emerged from a need more than a desire for statement-making. The Matter. Space. Soul restaurant pavilion in Bangladesh, a peculiar albeit entirely functional spatial typology mostly owing to its location, is a beautiful fusion of the two and an interesting locally produced manifestation of that tenet. The structure, elementally reductive in its form and being, is minimal in the most literal and true sense, wherein not envelopes or layers, but entire elements constituting the mass of the structure are stripped away. What remains is a beacon of extreme utility championing vernacular construction and materials, and an architecture that finds notions of beauty away from form.
In studying the mannerisms of this structure, Geetanjali Shree’s International Booker Prize winner, Tomb of Sand, comes to mind. Within the confines of a dilapidated home in the northern belt of India, Shree examines tales narrated by each 'material' constituent of the house - doors, windows, brick walls, cracking, peeling plaster, and the rooms themselves - have borne witness to the tribulations of its flailing protagonist and her family, emerging as narrators themselves. In the context of this discussion, this is a rather interesting parallel, since Dhaka-based Two Fold Studio’s intervention in Noakhali, a district in the historic Chittagong division in south eastern Bangladesh, all of 155 sq.m. in measured expanse, professes doing away with the latent narrators of Shree’s tale. Even if the typology of spaces is entirely different, it is pedagogic to do away with the notion of a confine in architectural spaces, truly embracing the exterior.
The restaurant pavilion's inception came about with the client’s wish to extend his existing restaurant space, away from the metropolitan, wanting patrons to "breathe and isolate". The site fit that description, and the structure was realised as a stilted bamboo pavilion bordering expansive paddy fields, as far as the eyes could see. "Two seasons offer totally different perspectives of this land," state the design team at Two Fold Studio on the site conditions that led them to conjure the structure’s bare form and being, completely responding to Bangladesh’s dominant climatic conditions, and those of the site being immersed in either standing water for the paddy fields or the discharge of the monsoons nearly all year round. "In tropical climates such as ours, what we need is porosity in form,” the team continues, explaining the genesis of the lightweight pavilion. Complete natural ventilation, optimum daylight, and stunning views are all harnessed then as second nature by the porous structure.
On the other hand, the resultant exposure to heat is seemingly offset by an excessive influx of southern wind and through operable bamboo screens that offer guests a requisite level of privacy, while also regulating the ingress of these natural modulators. The bamboo screens also constitute a majority of the pavilion’s facade design and a front elevation. The design warrants the screens stay mostly open during the monsoon season since issues of privacy are alleviated during rains, as opposed to the fields full of farmers during harvest season. With no formally designed furniture within the pavilion, flexibility of usage and movement is offered to patrons, encouraging them to use the minimally designed seating platform to comply with local eating and culinary traditions. "Since the space within is important, it becomes a living entity with a soul and it is not about external appearances as with a sculpture," states the team on the realised ethos of the design.
As a beacon of sustainable construction and design practices, the pavilion is entirely composed of locally sourced bamboo and wood with an intent to reduce the overall environmental impact on a sensitive site and ecosystem. Details of the bamboo joinery and those of the wood with the bamboo construction remain discoverable for the guests, forging a deeper connection with the architecture. The pavilion's deck is connected to the at-grade mainland through a narrow elevated walkway. At its end, a completely linear plan with 'bays' designed in rhythmic alterations to serve as seating spaces round out the pavilion’s design scheme. "Our basic vision was to disclose an example of sustainable architecture that stands out in terms of aesthetic contentment, counteract the waste of forms and meanings, and speak its own language," comments the studio.
A project of this nature invariably comes with an added iota of social responsibility and capital, and the architecture not only responds to that sensitive need, but nearly entirely subsumes those to become it. Reinforcing the imperative need to use local materials and incorporating craft and the skill of local artisans in projects, the structure seeks to reinstate these with dignity and a window of possibilities flung wide open for rural architecture. "In Bangladesh, architecture does not demand a lot to construct. Our basic need is just a shade and a raised platform that can protect users from sun, rain, and water,” didactically states the studio.
Name: Matter. Space. Soul
Location: Noakhali, Bangladesh
Architects: Two Fold Studio
Gross Built Area: 155 sq.m.
Lead Architects: Tasnova Afroz Luna, Snahasis Saha
by Akash Singh Mar 17, 2023
Employing principles of adaptive reuse, Studio Atakarchitekti designs the IGI Library, in a Czech Republic neighbourhood, as a democratic public space.
by Pooja Suresh Hollannavar Mar 16, 2023
The airport design project focuses on Iceland’s progressive goals, establishing a relationship between economics, employment opportunities, and sustainable development.
by STIRworld Mar 14, 2023
The ambitious project in Rotterdam involves the adaptive reuse of the Provimi warehouse into Danshuis or dancing house, celebrating the beauty of movement and performing arts.
by Amarjeet Singh Tomar Mar 13, 2023
With Saltviga House, Kolman Boye Architects create a poetic intervention, making use of thousands of wooden offcuts in Grimstad, Norway.
make your fridays matter SUBSCRIBE
Don't have an account?Sign Up
Or you can join with
Please select your profession for an enhanced experience.
Tap on things that interests you.
Select the Conversation Category you would like to watch
Please enter your details and click submit.
Enter the code sent to
What do you think?