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Project: The Aga Khan Academy Dhaka

Architect: Architect Md.Rafiq Azam | SHATOTTO and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Description: The Aga Khan Academy in Dhaka is a marvel of sustainable design, falling in line with the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This institution forms part of a global network of 18 Aga Khan Academies, all designed with the goal of fostering future leaders through rigorous educational standards. Admissions are merit-based, ensuring students from all backgrounds can access quality education.

The Academy's strategic location, merely 5 kilometers from Hazrat Shahjalal Airport and bordered by major expressways, positions it within a dynamic urban context. This setting has prompted a novel school typology that sets new benchmarks for educational institutions.

Architecturally, the Academy is a tribute to the region's classical Buddhist universities, reflected in the masterplan layout and brick materiality. The design taps into local craftsmanship and revives traditional construction methods, resulting in a sustainable blend of the old and the new. The school's walkways are supported by brick-clad columns, whilst modern techniques are employed to create traditional 'jali' screens, allowing for enhanced natural ventilation.

The master plan cleverly counteracts Dhaka's rapid urbanization by centering around a communal green space, a 'lung' or 'maidan', providing much-needed respite within the bustling city.

The site was originally a brownfield, which underwent extensive remediation to enable construction. The majority of the superstructures are crafted from reinforced concrete - a locally appropriate and sustainable material choice. The residential areas span up to seven stories, using two standardized grids to accommodate various dormitory sizes. The academic buildings stand four stories high, with broad spans allowing for spatial adaptability.

Other facilities, such as the sports hall, swimming pool, and theatre, incorporate some steel construction, enabling larger overall spans. An additional important aspect is the incorporation of movement joints throughout the structures, ensuring resilience against seismic activity and thermal shifts.

Through its innovative architecture, the Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka, stands as a symbol of sustainable development and educational excellence, making it an ideal subject for architectural photography.

Architectural Photography by Asif Salman

© 2022 | Do not use or publish these photographs without any prior permission from the photographer.


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