An office in tune with nature
We always see an office from the user's perspective, but here, the design team tried to convert the space into a tranquil location for both users and visitors.
Around four years ago, right in the middle of concrete-covered Gulshan, one particular premise started welcoming visitors with the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the whistling of wind.
The most surprising part, however, is that the building is actually an office -- the office of Teach for Bangladesh, to be more specific.
The whole structure, which stands on 16 katha land, was designed and implemented by architects of Studio Dhaka.
"Teach for Bangladesh is an internationally recognised organisation that envisions bringing a rigorous and meaningful change in our country's education system. Its former head office was conventional, and they wanted to give the whole place a new look," said Muhammad Moniruzzaman, principal architect of the studio. In 2019, the design received the prestigious "JK Cement Award", which recognises the best architectural projects of the sub-continent.
"We always see an office from the user's perspective, but here, the design team tried to convert the space into a tranquil location for both users and visitors," said Moniruzzaman.
"We tried to keep the surroundings green, with natural settings, as much as possible, to avoid a superimposed look. So, the existing trees did not pose an obstacle, rather they acted as spontaneous design elements for us," he explained.
"We had to accommodate typical office elements like workstations, conference-seminar space, and other basic utilities too. But instead of housing all of them in a single structure, we divided them among three main 'pods' and three secondary service pods," he continued.
"The main pods are dedicated for workstations, while the service pods are for reception, conference, and dining spaces," he said, adding that one will find the pods situated amid the natural environment of the premise, which consists of a huge mango tree, wide grass covers and neem trees. The outdoor area has an open courtyard and dining, a badminton court, and an amphitheatre.
The compound welcomes holding formal sessions, symposiums and discussions in this serene setting.
The office is, however, currently closed due to the pandemic.
The architects opted for local gas-burnt bricks, corrugated iron and plastic sheets, custom-made mild steel frames for all the openings, and cement for the floor finish. All the materials were selected based on availability, cost-effectiveness, and ecological advantages, Moniruzzaman informed.