The drawback with prototype designs of residences

Photo: Collected

Individuality builds self-confidence as opposed to dependency, creativity against suppression, cooperatives instead of idle loners, an active workforce vs laissez-faire, contributors not dumb receivers, and choosers not beggars. Allow me to elaborate.

A man entered his house. As usual, he went to his bedroom, took off his shirt, and was about to zip down when the bathroom door opened.

In the blur of the evening twilight, her silhouette pronounced against the backdrop of the LED light, he thought his wife was looking unusually pretty today, definitely slimmer; could be the fading daylight, he thought. He switched on the bed lamp. Both of them shrieked at the same time. She was not his wife. "What the prototype design are you doing here?" the now covered lady cursed and shouted.

Shaking for various reasons, the man shouted, "Dee…pooo…". That was the name of his wife of 30 years. Now Dipu was in the next-door garden, watering the carnations, tulips and red roses, symbols of her undying love for her man, three decades in wedlock and half in courting. She rushed in panic to where her husband was and found him still naked waist-belt upwards.

"What the prototype design are you doing here? How could you", she shouted in rage, her eyes welling up.

Another day, another house. No, same house, because many are not any different from the others.

Asked the buyer quizzically, "Are you sure you showed me this house?"

"I am in this business for 30 years, and you think I will not know one house from another?" was the haughty response of the real estate guy.

"I thought mine had a wider entrance door…"

"Impossible!" was the response.

"So, does that mean that all the identical houses have the same price tag?" 

"Impossible!" was uttered with a salesmanship smile, "Is that even a possibility? Owners are different, taste is heaven and hell, and the locations are all unique. Same price, huh! Kee je kawn na?"

Another day, this time a river. All the paint manufacturers have gathered on the bank of River Rongdhonu, meaning rainbow. Cheeky people! Throwing aside all their differences, they have unanimously decided to bury all their paints in the sea. Since only one colour shall survive in the industry of classlessness, the time has come to decide which shall survive the messy squabble. A jury was held.

Said Red, "Ask any child, I rest my case".

Blue: "I wish Nayak Raaj was here, neel akasher neechay…"

Green: "You guys are aware about the revolutionary excuse people offer for abusing the earth."

Yellow: "It is unfair to have this exercise so far away from Pahela Boisakh."

White: "Mix'em all up, and here I am".

So, our houses shall be from bleached to grey (from dirt) in the age of equality because seeking approval is complicated under a complicity of state organs.

I don't know if you know this, but similar diet, identical sleeping habits, breathing the same air and repeating arguments can make husband and wife look like siblings. You can try this at home. That's another reason for loss of attraction because there are no opposite sides.

In prototype houses, the spare parts shall be common. Each will thieve from the other, perhaps unwittingly even, thinking to be the owner of the parts. Residents will have to write their name on everything. Then the fighting will start, obviously, if there are two Kamals and 50 Nasreens in the same neighbourhood.

No apology for the long prelude, necessitated by the discovery (at last) that obtaining approval from RAJUK requires extensive lobbying, hop-step-and-jump, and bribery, according to reports in the media. Therefore, it is being proposed that in planned government residential areas, homeowners will have the option to choose from several fixed designs; thus bypassing the need to lose the bottom of one's. But, wait, RAJUK will monitor the construction, something in which they are miserably bad since inception. So, why again walk the same path?

Admirably, the sincere purpose of the proposers is to mitigate public suffering and curtail corruption. More preposterously though, the advocators believe that the beauty of a developed area is affected by buildings of various heights, as is the current practice. Manhattan, anybody? I do wonder how the world would be if all of us were exactly as tall as the 38-year old Turkish Sultan Kosen, who at 251 cm (eight feet plus) is the tallest living male. I am already feeling dizzy.

The justification of the sponsors of the idea is that existing variations make it difficult to assess municipal service requirements, and that the such a scheme is practised for government planned areas in many countries. Exactly! In those countries they also practice honesty and sincerity. Fix the system, do not succumb to its evil side.

While we have to wait and see whether harassment will be any less, the aesthetics will suffer for sure, as will individualism that distinguishes one from the others. A customised home not only reflects the personality of the owner, but enhances personal happiness, and makes him content and blissful, autonomous and responsible, giving us the benefit of a stronger society. A happy nation is conducive to further development.

On the other hand, an attempt to tailor humans to monkey each other has been abhorred throughout civilisation. Worthlessness and low esteem were never considered positive attributes. Independent thinking and creativity are important instruments of independence.

The downside of a prototype design, and more so if the private sector emulates the government, is that architects would be cutting grass, engineers planting potatoes, and town planners planning their move to another vocation.

We understand the bizarre proposal to have identical houses is in its infancy. Let us nip it in the bud. Undeniably, there is corruption in the people who run the system. Educate those people. Overhaul the system. But, leave the matter of aesthetics to the architects. Let engineers innovate.


Dr Nizamuddin Ahmed is a practising architect at BashaBari Ltd., a Commonwealth Scholar and a Fellow, a Baden-Powell Fellow Scout Leader, and a Major Donor Rotarian.


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