ArchTwist: Inspiring architectural innovation
Archtwist is a platform for students and young professionals to share and compete on architectural ideas. It provides a space for aspiring architects to showcase their creativity and talent, in return offering opportunities for recognition and awards.
Founded by Maherul Kader Prince, Assistant Professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), and two of his students, ArchTwist strives to foster the next generation of architectural talent and promote innovation in this field.
The platform has organised over 10 competitions since its establishment in 2019. During a recent exhibition at the capital's Alliance Française, they launched a beautifully designed and illustrated hardcover book titled "At Point Zero", featuring the winning designs from their first 10 competitions.
Professor Dr Shabbir Khandaker Ahmed, President of the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh (IAB), attended the inaugural ceremony of the exhibition, and the book launch, as the chief guest. The book includes a range of innovative and original architectural concepts, and is set to bridge the gap between creative architectural students and industrial clients. The exhibition showcased large-scale photographs of the winning designs, giving viewers a unique opportunity to experience the concepts in a tangible way.
These competitions, based on different themes, witnessed the participation of more than 1600 students from 205 institutions in 40 countries across the world. The entries were meticulously judged by a panel of renowned architects and industry experts from Bangladesh and abroad, and the winning designs reflect the creativity and talent of the next generation of passionate architects.
The first competition, "Accentuating Rain", urged participants to design a man-made intervention or interface in order to create a new experience that highlights the unique emotional phenomenon associated with rain. Dristi Chakma and Gourab Kundu from BUET won this competition, by pitching a concept that transforms the ruins in Darasbari Mosque, Chapai Nawabganj, to a visitor's paradise.
Next, the "Spirit of Nazrul", invited participants to create an architecture that translates the mind of the "rebel poet" and serves as a beacon signalling his presence. Kazi Akif Akash, Sumaiya Ara Simi, and Sanjida Amir from BRAC University were declared the winners for their design, "Flame of Resistance". The third competition, "Impulsive Schooling", searched for a learning space that allowed the environment to teach, inspire and shape the identity of the people. Designers of "The Unschool"—Taorem Sananu, Usama Ibn Anwar, and Fahad Been Monsur from BUET—were the winners.
"Post-Covid Interaction" asked participants to rethink any kind of social space that might add value in the transition. Sindis Hassan and Nazifa Tabassum from BRAC University bagged the first prize by reimagining building rooftops for crowded cities. The competition, "Diffusion", focused on the idea of melting space through bold imaging without any narrations. Mantaka Junnurain Adrito from Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology won the competition by explaining the concept of diffusion through chaos.
The competition "space for…" asked for innovative ideas in designing a space focusing on the relationships between a project, character and the site. Helen, from the Architectural Association of Hong Kong, won this competition by designing an experimental housing project by using the under-utilised space within London city.
"DEATH In-Between" asked designers to re-think and re-imagine death. Juhan Lee, Gamaleldin Tarakhan and Seokmin Kang from Korea University won the first prize by portraying the life sequence from birth to death, through the material and the changing height of a structure.
"Street Museum" invited participants to design a space on the street, where people view their spatial and social environments as a playground of knowledge, a place to see, touch, feel, taste, listen to, socialise with and learn from. Hanwen Zhang, from The University of Hong Kong was the winner.
"Regeneration" encouraged designers to review and redesign several promising abandoned sites through a regenerative lens. Cai Whenzhou and Li Ruoxi from Huazhong University of Science and Technology bagged the first prize by redesigning the factories in Wuhan.
Finally, "Imagine" was an AI-generated art competition where Md Zahidur Rahman from Khulna University won the first prize for portraying the urban slums as wooden skyscrapers in a dystopian city.
During the closing ceremony of the event, "At Point Zero", there was a panel discussion including guest speakers Rizvi Hassan and Khwaja Nuzhat Zerin Fatmi, winners of the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
At the event, Andrew Mitchel, from Boston Architectural College, also shared his travel experiences across architectural sites all around the world. The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the winners of the logo design competition for Raja Metal Industries. The event was graced by the presence of author Sabyasachi Hazra and Sheikh Ahsan Ullah Mojumder, Assistant Professor of the Department of Architecture, BUET.