Change of plans for building a new TSC
Dhaka University's Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) is set to be built anew, in line with directives provided by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"The prime minister gave the directive when Dhaka University (DU) authorities placed three designs of the plan on May 24 before her," said pro-vice chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Samad.
The premier asked the DU administration to construct buildings with modern facilities, recasting the existing one based on the number of existing students and teachers and protecting its ancient structures, he said, adding that they were also asked to increase green open spaces of TSC, expand open spaces in front of it and to construct a modern auditorium.
If the existing TSC building is renovated, it will last only about 25 years and it will have to be demolished after that, for which the premier directed to build the TSC newly, he said.
Three designs by the government's Department of Architecture were presented before the prime minister, but those were scrapped as she disliked those, he said.
"A new design will be prepared based on the suggestions of the prime minister. If she gives approval, then it will be finalised," Samad said.
The prime minister also rejected a 10-storey highrise at the site of the swimming pool at TSC, sources said.
Contacted, DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzman said the premier asked to construct a modern, environment- and student-teacher friendly TSC ensuring all kinds of facilities.
Asked about it, chief architect of Department of Architecture Mir Manzurur Rahman told The Daily Star they will not be able to make a remark at this point, and that they will do their work when DU administration provides details of their demand.
Sources said separate rooms for socio-cultural organisations of TSC, cafeteria, teachers' lounges, separate prayer rooms and gyms for male and female students, washrooms and car parking facilities will be kept in the new design.
In the wake of Dhaka University's birth centenary in 2021, the decision to bulldoze the historical TSC and replace it with a multi-storied structure shocked students, alumni, and residents of Dhaka.
The Public Works Department of the government came up with the move after the PM asked the authorities concerned on September 2 last year to modernise Dhaka Medical College Hospital, TSC and Public Library.
In the face of intense criticism, the DU administration on January 31 said they will renovate the TSC building with some additions, without demolishing old structures.
TSC was designed in the 1960s by legendary Greek architect and planner Constantinos Apostolos Doxiadis. The mastermind behind planning the city of Islamabad, Doxiadis is considered the founder of Ekistics, a school of thought that concerns the science of human settlements, including regional, city, community planning and dwelling design.
Architect and urban planner Iqbal Habib, also joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon, said the institute of architects have requested the DU VC to look at the project holistically. Land previously occupied by the Atomic Energy Commission just beside the TSC is now vacant as they have moved to Savar, and education zones can be created on the land, he said.
The authorities must also understand that no building taller than a tree is acceptable there, he said, adding that they have suggested expanding spaces on a horizontal basis.
"We have shown the alternative and we believe through this alternative, it is possible to create an environment- and density- friendly atmosphere," he said.
This is necessary for the TSC as it is not only a student-teacher meeting centre, but a birthplace for cultural practice, Habib added.
He said they suggested making a design blending modern architecture and its original structure.
"We are suggesting to arrange a national open competition for its design, where many architects and planners will take part, and this will give the government many options," he said.
The best design will have to be selected by the prime minister and other eminent experts, which will be environment-friendly and aesthetic.
This modernisation work should not be taken lightly, as it will have to be done keeping in mind its historical background, he said.
Adil Mohammad Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said there is no public place in the world where high-rise buildings are constructed.
The TSC building, two- or three-storied, would be oriented with a public space, but a high-rise will not create an appeal of public space, he said.
"You have to decide whether we will do its expansion by opening new departments or you will do its expansion outside Dhaka acquiring land," he said.
Facilities for the students will have to be created at another place of the university or through expansion outside Dhaka, but it should not be done destroying the character of the existing TSC, he suggested.