Dhaka, Bangladesh, 23 November 2017 - Designs for the Aga Khan Academy Dhaka (a state-of-the-art, 1200-student residential school planned for Dhaka, Bangladesh) won the award for best "Education – Future Projects" at the World Architecture Festival 2017, held on 15-17 November in Berlin, Germany.
The award recognises the excellence of the school’s design as well as the project’s intention to generate positive social impact, which emanates from the mission and values of the Aga Khan Academies and the wider Aga Khan Development Network.
A collaboration between Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios in London and Rafiq Azam of Shatotto in Dhaka, the Academy will be the fourth school in an integrated network of Aga Khan Academies being established in 18 locations across Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East, with the aim of developing home-grown ethical leaders. Students are selected based on merit, regardless of socio-economic, cultural or religious background.
Situated on a 20-acre site near the centre of Dhaka in an area of rapid urbanisation, the Academy’s masterplan draws inspiration from historic educational institutions, including the earliest Buddhist universities in the region. A central maidan (communal gathering space) has been included to provide a large open space, and is the symbolic and tranquil core of the campus. In light of increasing density, the Academy’s maidan is protected from future encroachment by buildings on all sides, which have been oriented to maximise sustainability and environmental performance.
Ian Taylor, FCBStudios Managing Partner said: “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.”
Continuing the long traditions of learning in Bangladesh, the campus has been designed to promote educational opportunities across a multitude of indoor and outdoor spaces. Oversized decks used as external teaching areas, amphitheatres for multi-functional gathering and informal outdoor seminar spaces will provide opportunities for extending learning amongst students. The aesthetic character of the buildings will also convey meaning and provide connections with local culture and heritage. Drawing on local precedents and expertise, the building façades will utilise locally made bricks, with the aim of reinvigorating Bangladesh’s longstanding tradition of brick building in the face of modern approaches and imported architectural styles.
Moyez Alwani, Head of Design for the Aga Khan Academies said: “Our hope is that by emphasising the importance of inherited traditions and connecting these with leading pedagogical design principles, our students will better understand their place in a modern world.”
The project is planned for construction commencing in 2018.
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Aga Khan Academies
The Aga Khan Academies are a network of K-12, day and residential schools being established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 18 locations across 14 countries. The Academies aim to support long-term national and regional development by providing an international standard of education and strong leadership experience to talented students with the potential to become future home-grown leaders, regardless of their socio-economic, cultural or religious background. Academy graduates go to leading universities worldwide and demonstrate a deep sense of social responsibility and commitment: to date about 50% of alumni from the first Aga Khan Academy in Kenya have returned to work in their home region following university.
The Academies also strengthen national education systems by providing professional development to teachers and school leaders from local government schools, and by modelling best practices as centres of excellence.
The Aga Khan Academies are part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which is present in 30 countries around the world. AKDN works to improve quality of life for all peoples in the regions where it operates.
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios [FCBStudios] have experience in designing for education, housing, masterplanning and urban design as well as places for art and the creative reuse of historic buildings.
The practice started small nearly 40 years ago and, in spite of its growth to over 200 staff, they continue to be committed to social and humanistic values in their work. FCBStudios are proud to have won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Accordia, a scheme that is widely regarded as setting a new benchmark for housing in the UK, and they are the top RIBA National Award winning practice of the last decade.
With a strong track record the practice are well placed to face the challenges of the future: growing & fractured cities; climate change; massive shifts in the delivery of education; increased localism; embracing the pace of technological change. The face of architecture is changing and FCBStudios continue to pioneer imaginative and inclusive ways to create exceptional buildings.
The World Architecture Festival is an annual festival and awards competition dedicated to celebrating and sharing architectural excellence from across the globe. At the festival, around 200 shortlisted projects compete for awards in 31 categories through jury-led presentations.