<%-- Page Title--%> Architechture <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 130 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

November 14, 2003

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Redefing the Geneva Camp

Master Plan

The country they came from is India, the country they live in is Bangladesh and the country call home is Pakistan. Mohammadpur Geneva Camp is a human island dreaming for their home and simultaneously denying their present state. Their state of living gives rise to the question of what do actually we really mean by the word house and housing. The Geneva Camp can be defined as a non-housing project, when people will be actually given a position of transition where they will be provided with houses (but neither built nor gained) for their transitional phase.

This was the subject chosen by three BUET students at the 5th International Architectural Biennial. The innovative design bagged the international award.

Hosted by the Institute of Architects Brazil and the Biennial Foundation, the theme of the competition was to find the problem area within the city in which the competing university is situated and to provide an architectural solution to the problem based on eight different parameters such as rationality, availability of technology and materials, environment, culture, etc.
The Geneva Camp project won the honorable mention award at its criteria after two rounds of selection by the arbitration committee. In the first round 38 projects of different countries were selected and put on exhibition for a period of one month. Finally, seven projects were awarded. The results were announced at a prize--giving ceremony on October, at the Biennial pavilion.

The BUET team comprised of students Fahmid Ahmed, Rehnuma Parveen and Raquib Us Saleheen. Their class teachers Prof. Meer Mobashsher Ali, Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed and Dr. Shabbir Ahmed supervised the winning project. The BUET team of Bangladesh was the only one from Asia selected for the exhibition and the award.

At present the in between pedestrian street is the only channel where the inhabitants can gather and communicate. These streets constitute their working area for embroidery and crafts, and their selling units. These narrow strips called 'streets' actually becomes a hybrid of consumption, service, production and gathering. These following channels of superimposed functions play a vital role in these designs in developing the master plan of the housing. They also help to identify the relation among the residential units, the production line and the community facilities. The design intended to retain the actual character of these strips rather than enhance their quality and consider it as a prime factor of construction.

The internal road layout is treated as an extension of the external grid iron pattern. Alongside these internal road /channel, these housing blocks are developed. Within these very regular formed houses, the community facilities are placed as integrated and connected space which intersect the housing area as a third form.

The surface texture of the building which is viewed from the street has a significant variation and fragmentation for breaking the monotony of repetitiveness and is coherent with human scale of the building.

Placement of different theological institutes are given prime importance as religious rituals are vital in the lives of the Biharis. The strongest part of their lifestyle is religion, which is why the Minar (the vertical tower of the mosque) is located at the intersection nodal points of the roads.



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