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Aga Khan Academy wins World Architecture Festival Award

The Aga Khan Academy in Dhaka by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Shatotto has won the Education Future Project Award

Posted by Lucinda Reid | November 24, 2017 | Bricks & mortar

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) and Shatotto have completed designs for a 1200-student school with residential facilities, on a 20-acre site near the centre of Dhaka, Bangladesh for the Aga Khan Academies.

This 1200-student residential school near the centre of Dhaka, Bangladesh is one of eighteen planned locations in a network of state of the art K12 schools being established by His Highness the Aga Khan in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia and Europe through the Aga Khan Academies.

The Aga Khan Academies aim to support long-term national and regional development by providing an international standard of education and strong leadership experience to talented students. The students are selected based on merit, regardless of socioeconomic background, and will become future home-grown leaders. The Academies also strengthen national education systems by providing professional development and modelling best practices as centres of excellence.

The Aga Khan Academy is arranged around a central ‘Maidan’ community gathering space and sports field, linked by a continuous colonnade, and interspersed by landscape courtyards of varying character. The classical Masterplan layout is derived from our studies of the original Buddhist universities of the region.

The project incorporates the overarching Aga Khan Academies brief whilst integrating historic Bangladeshi customs in spatial arrangements

Moyez Alwani, Head of Design for the Aga Khan Academies said, “Throughout the design of this Academy, we have been concerned with matters relating to the hyper- densification of the city and our response has been to develop a masterplan that makes a symbolic statement about the importance of green open space. In addition, we are actively taking significant steps to preserve the traditions of building in Bangladesh which will serve as an antidote to the homogenizing impact of modernity which often mute wonderfully rich traditions and craft.”

The result is an architectural language which showcases intricate brickwork techniques set against ‘jali’ screen detailing as a contemporary interpretation of an important local tradition. The project incorporates the overarching Aga Khan Academies brief whilst integrating historic Bangladeshi customs in spatial arrangements.

Ian Taylor, FCBS Managing Partner, added,“The design approach applies FCBStudios’ educational experience to interpret the Aga Khan Academy brief within the wider context of Dhaka. The design is developing to encompass local construction technology, locally sourced materials and components wherever possible. Climatic challenges relating to humidity control and management of conditions in the monsoon season are addressed through the development of appropriate low energy solutions to ventilation and cooling.”

This commission is a collaboration between Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Rafiq Azam of Shatotto in Dhaka.The team includes Max Fordham, AKTII, and Grant Associates, and a local engineering team in Dhaka, to develop the design and construction information for tender later in 2017.

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