24. To Live Is To Be Slowly Born: Kashef Chowdhury / URBANA’s Contribution
Architect: Kashef Chowdhury.
“To Live Is To Be Slowly Born” is a clear glass installation, an alternate take on the architectural manifestation of the ‘labyrinth’. In regards to the economies and climatic zones that the architect operates in, It refers to the idea that although one might have a clear vision the path to achieving that may not be straightforward but rather quite ‘labyrinthine’. That is, one can see clearly but cannot progress easily.
In the internalized space are four groups of ‘plants’, in reference to the patience and perseverance that is required of the architect in the slow raising of buildings. These ‘plants’ are projects that directly related to natural disasters and climate change. Furthermore, when one passes through the labyrinth they encounter terracotta tiles with etchings of historic sites and buildings – a call from deep recesses of memory.
All these projects are with one client: the ngo ‘Friendship’. The projects span over the past 10 years, two are propono and all with tight budgets, using local materials and workmen. Without innovating, re-imagining and re-casting through architectural solutions, these buildings and projects would not serve their function nor ever see the light of day considering their difficult birth.
- Raised Settlements – A project in remote northern Bangladesh intended to protect an entire settlement rather than individual houses from catastrophic nature of floods.
- Cyclone Shelter – In the south, close to the Bay of Bengal, intends to provide shelter and protection to people in areas where, during cyclones, tidal surges can reach heights of 20 feet or more and wind speeds in excess of 230 km/h.
- Friendship Centre – A meeting and training centre constructed in the Jamuna-Brahmaputra river network, to protect from flooding in the extreme flood zone. The facility is used for health, education, social justice and other programs for some of the poorest living in the remote inaccessible areas.
- Satkhira Hospital – A low cost 80-bed full function hospital in the remote south, maximizing natural ventilation and rainwater harvest.