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As a new nation emerged in the world map in 1971, so did its need for massive industrial production. The industrial belt developed at the outer part of Chattogram, Bangladesh then, has slowly become part of the inner city. Now, the industrial activities are being relocated to a more suitable location to the outskirt of the city and the unused factories remain like the ghosts of the bustling past.
The historical growth of the older part of the city started from the Karnaphuli river, and the northern part is emerging as the newer city. As the older portion has seen slow growth over time, it has been able to accommodate several cultural hubs across the time. But the newer city is not so lucky. The sudden rapid growth has cost it of any well-planned cultural hubs, causing a tremendous functional problem in its urban fabric.
The site is located in the heart of the northern city and can play a central role in its development in the next 15-20 years. It lies in the intersection of old and new, with the opportunity to merge their stark planning difference. The adjacent areas’ urban growth is discarding its history, resulting in a lifeless residential growth only. The project’s focus lies in reviving the past, where history can become an integral part of the present without losing its identity, ushering the urban community to a vibrant future.
The design approach is to make a functional open space with three essential elements- A STAGE, for representation, display, and action; A NEUTRAL OR COMMON GROUND, for social interaction, intermingling, and communication and finally A SPACE, for information exchange, personal development and social learning.
The exhibition hall is placed in the older industrial building which can house different activities even after the exhibition session. The existing brick façade of the building is kept intact with the structure, the sharp contrast of materials used before and after takes the visitors into a reminiscence of the past. The newly built structure containing an auditorium can have multi-purpose uses of varying indoor events ranging from seminar to sports and so on. The existing unused industrial machinery is displayed in the museum and some are kept near the open space to be reused for children’s playground activities. The library can act as a place for information exchange about the place, bridging the history and the present for the curious minds. The open space beside the lakefront park will be gathering place for social interaction in their day to day life and also during the cultural events that are unique to the city’s past, which can be nourished through the activities held here from time to time.
The prevalent practice existing in the area is demolishing these heritages, replacing with multistoried condominiums. The design typology of this project might change the outlook towards that carbon footprint-increasing development scenario. The intervention strategies taken in this project might start the creation of an industrial heritage corridor, serving the city and saving the past simultaneously.
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