My Travel Notes: In Dhaka, Bangladesh

L T Kiringoda is a Chartered Architect, Town Planner and a Chartered Environmentalist. He headed the Directorate of Development Planning of the Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka, wherein he served for nearly 3-decades.

1. In front of Sheik Mujibur Rahaman Memorial, Dhaka, Bangladesh on 14th December 2017. It located within Dhaka University. The area is very large with natural landscape enriching the simplicity of design. The Independence Day Celebration March of Bangladesh starts from this memorial. Sheik Mujibur Rahaman is revered as the Father of the Nation, comprising Bengali Muslims (86%), Bengali Hindus (12%), Bengali Buddhists (1%), Bengali Christians (0.5%) and others (0.5%). I met four Academics with surname Choudhary in the Department of Civil Engineering, Stamford University, Bangladesh: One Hindu and four Muslims. Surprisingly all four were in one staff room, which I renamed “Choudhary Zone”.

2.  In front of the Independence Memorial opposite Sheik Mujibur Rahaman Memorial on 14th December 2017 with some academics of the Department of Architecture, Stamford University, Bangladesh. These four Academics are planning to visit Sri Lanka during 2018-SLIA Annual Sessions with the Delegation from Institute of Architects, Bangladesh.

3. I did not want to travel in a bicycle rickshaw because I felt it was inhuman. Yet is a very popular mode of transport in Bangladesh. This was captured just before I left for Dhaka Airport on 15th December 2017.

4.  In front of the Department of Fine Arts of Dhaka University with Academics of the Department of Architecture, Stamford University, Bangladesh on 14th December 2017. This building designed in 1952 is appreciated by almost all Bangladeshi Architects because after a walk through the building, there is hardly any feeling that building is dominating. It may be the reason for the Department of Architecture to include a subject module on “Site Imbalance Assessment”. It is compulsory for students to include this assessment in their design reports. 

5. In the Atrium Lobby of Asia’s Largest Shopping Mall: Wasundara Shopping Mall, Dhaka. Prices are comparatively high but most of the textiles and garments are products of Bangladesh. Visited the Mall in the evening of 13th December 2017 with Mr. Ahmed Ubayadulla, Manager (Administration) of the Institutional Quality Assurance Cell of Stamford University, Bangladesh. Bought some Bangla made products.

6. In the Exhibition Lobby of the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh with Dr. Abu Sayeed M Ahmed (on my left), Past President, IAB and Prof. Shahidul Md. Kabir (on my right), Head of Institutional Quality Assurance Cell of Stamford University, Bangladesh. This building has a lot of multi-functional spaces. No auditorium but a double height ground floor area doors opening into a spacious garden is used for meetings, seminars and recreation (Badminton  and Table Tennis).  Reminded me of SLAAS Building. Dr. Abu Sayeed M Ahmed is hopeful that many Sri Lankan Architects will come to Dhaka in 2019 for ARCASIA.

7. Preparation of Summary Report of External Peer Review Panel for reviewing the Self-Assessment Report of the Department of Civil Engineering, Stamford University, Dhaka on 11th December 2017, with Prof. Md. Nurul Islam, Professor of Civil Engineering, Dhaka University of Engineering Technology. The report was unanimously accepted by the Academics of the Department of Civil Engineering.

8. In front of Department of Physics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, established in 1926. Reminded me of the Eye Hospital Building at Town Hall, Colombo 7. When I told them that in Sri Lanka we called it Saracenic Architecture, they protested. To them it is traditional Architecture of Bangladesh. With me are Prof Nurul Islam of DUET and Mr. Ubayadulla of Stamford University.\