The Friendship Centre near the district town of Gaibandha, Bangladesh, is for an NGO which works with some of the poorest in the country and who live mainly in riverine islands (chars) with very limited access and opportunities. Very limited funding prevented an elevated structure in this area under constant threat of flooding. This and the location in an earthquake zone and the low bearing capacity of the silty soil lead to a design surrounded by an embankment for flood protection while built directly on existing soil. Rainwater and surface run-off are collected in internal pools and the excess is pumped to an excavated pond. The design relies on natural ventilation and cooling facilitated by courtyards and pools and the earth covering on roofs. An extensive network of septic tanks and soak wells ensure the sewage does t mix with flood water. This new book features the austere beauty and simplicity the building by Dhaka-born architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury in striking photographs taken by Helene Binet and selected plans and sections. Essays by architects and critics Kenneth Frampton and Robert Wilson round out this building mograph.
Kenneth Frampton is a renowned architectural critic and Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Robert Wilson is a writer, curator, and architect based in London. He edits the architectural print magazine Block and is editor-at-large of digital magazine uncube, and teaches curating at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London.