Architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury was born in Dhaka to a father who was a civil engineer. He graduated in architecture from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1995 and attended the Glenn Murcutt Masterclass in Sydney in 2006.
His projects are characterized by an extended research period, with an emphasis on climate, materials and natural and human contexts.
In 2011 Mahboob built the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh. The building houses an organization that works with the rural poor to provide training, meeting spaces and conferences about how to generate income. His challenge in the project was to make the building resistant to floods and earthquakes and to stay cool while without using much power and using materials that were locally sourced. He described the ancient-looking aesthetics of the project to ArchDaily:
“As in construction, so in conception – the complex of the centre rise and exist as echo of ruins, alive with the memory of the remains of Mahasthan (3rd century BC), some sixty kilometers away. Constructed and finished primarily of one material – local hand- made bricks – the spaces arc woven out of pavilions, courtyards, pools and greens; corridors and shadows. Simplicity is the intent, monastic is the feel.”
The design seems to be at-odds with the building’s name; the “ruins” look like more of a place for quiet reflection than for building friendship. The architect, however, thinks the sparse design that invites exploration is more in line with the organization’s mission.
“The centre serves and brings together some of the poorest of poor in the country and -by extension – in the world, yet in the extreme limitation of means was a search for the luxury of light and shadows of the economy and generosity of small spaces; of the joy of movement and discovery in the bare and the essential.”
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