Floating University in Bangladesh

This project achieves the impossible: it adds both built and open space to the city. The site is polluted swampland within Dhaka. Working with the client, an NGO-run university by BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities), the pro- ject team proposes a building that floats above the pond. First, the water itself is remediated into a bio-retention pond. The whole ground level of the project is opened to the public. Above, sustain- able thinking permeates the design of the university building. Brise-soleil and planted facades optimize the interior cli- mate, reducing cooling demand by 40%. Water recycling and rainwater collection reduces water use by nearly 50%. Photo- voltaic panels and beekeeping transform the roof into a productive environment. In total, green areas cover more surface than the area of the entire site. Project authors Richard Hassell and Sim Choon Heok, WOHA, Singapore; Jalal Ahmad, J.A. Architects, Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Wolfgang Kessling, Transsolar Energietechnik, Munich, Germany. Not pictured: Mun Summ Wong, WOHA, Singapore. A new benchmark for sustainability When this project is built, the LafargeHol- cim Awards jury Asia Pacific believes that it will set a new benchmark for sustain- ability in Asia. Rapid urbanization has deteriorated Dhaka’s water bodies and natural habitats. The design remediates a natural area and opens it back up to the city. It situates the building in a way that allows both the university and the public to inhabit the site. Sustainability is deeply integrated into the building design, from thermal zoning to serious reductions in the use of energy and wa- ter. Particularly commendable is the way a single building is conceived as a larger rejuvenation project for the city.