Floating University in Bangladesh

SECTION ALONG BREEZEWAYS SOCIAL AND INTERACTION SPACES The naturally ventilated circulation route uses escalators within the breezeways and encourages social interaction and informal learning. VIEW OF BREEZEWAY ATRIUM Water and Hydrology Bangladesh is a country of rivers and water. This is both a blessing and curse, with rich fertile soils as well as flooding and destruction. Similarly on the BRAC University site, the water is both a problem and an opportunity. The team embraced the water for a multitude of reasons. It is culturally significant in Bangladesh. It is literally the site, which was under water. It is polluted and needs to be cleaned. Water is an excellent cooling device, it is usually several degrees cooler than the air due to evaporative, creating comfort both for adjacent spaces, and for those downstream of the air movement. The water management of the project is treated as a system, with several loops. The first (West) loop harvests rainwater at the roof level and collects it in sumps. This water is then fed into the façade planting via rain chains and is cycled through the various levels of planters into a box drain at level four, which then feeds the green columns that surround the public areas. From there the water enters the Permanent Water Body, the reflection pools which surround the public areas and provide cooling and visual delight. The Permanent Water Body water is circulated through the South Cleansing Biotope to keep it clean and fresh and remove pollutants. The second (North) loop collects water at the roof and intermediate floors and brings it to the Fluctuating Water Body. This is a pond at ground level designed to have a varying water level, functioning as a buffer to hold storm water and slow the rate of discharge outside the site. This water is circulated through a cleansing biotope of reed to purify the water, and can be used to top up the Permanent Water Body. The third (South) loop is like the north, except the discharge is to the Permanent Water Body. The final (East) loop discharges to a rain garden, which can be flooded to allow recharging of the groundwater and will overflow to the Fluctuating Water Body. The water will usually be retained on site, recycled and reused for irrigation. In the event of excess water that exceeds the holding capacity, only fresh, cleanwater is discharged to the city stormwater. Similar to the energy strategies, the water solutions integrate technical requirements with aesthetic and cultural strategies. The water at BRACUniversityhasbeen transformed fromaprobleminto a delightful asset for the users and surrounding neighbourhood. Economic Viability and Shared Prosperity The university is an existing and successful business, currently with 8000 students and is part of the overall BRAC ecosystem of development programs supported by commercial ventures. The new campus addresses sorely needed social and community space, and through co-location of all the components, will create new synergies and collaborations. The economic impact of the campus will not just be for BRAC but will also be of enormous benefit to the surrounding district. BRAC is committed to providing opportunities for economic activity and to be a catalyst for individual advancement. Located around the campus is a developing lower middle-class neighborhood undergoing a transition from low-rise light industrial and residential buildings to medium-rise mixed use developments. The land parcels are small and privately owned, and each is being developed by the owner as they see fit, usually with commercial space along the street and multi-residential above. The university will bring in a large community of students, lecturers and visitors who will contribute much needed commercial activity for accommodation, for food, book shops, clothing, haircuts and cafes. The development will bring many opportunities for prosperity to the area and will not result in displacement of the local population, as it is already an area of mixed-use, small developments. This local community will benefit too from the improved environmental conditions created by the university – the replacement of the flooded rubbish dump with clean water bodies and lush gardens, a reduction in dust and pollution due to the gardens and trees, the opportunity to enjoy safe and well maintained public spaces at ground level and the biodiversity supported through the habitat of trees and gardens. Lastly, we would like to share Sir Abed’s statement on the new university building: “BRAC University has become one of the most reputed educational institutions in Bangladesh. We have focused on generating new knowledge and promoting critical thinking amongst our students. At present, the total number of students is around 8,000. Our goal is not only to provide the highest quality teaching in the region, but to inculcate the values essential for tomorrow’s leaders. Through a liberal education, we endeavour to produce graduates with the attributes needed to achieve personal success and make a valuable contribution to society by creating conscientious leaders. I am pleased to report that the construction of the new University campus, comprising a 14-storey building of 17 lakh square feet on 5 acres of land, is well under way. We hope to relocate by mid-2020. The campus is designed to breathe, making tropical learning spaces without air-conditioning or excessive artificial lighting possible. It is inspired by the Sundarbans mangrove forest in southern Bangladesh, which has separate ecosystems above and below tidal level. The campus floats on an urban lake, and sustainability is integrated into every aspect of the building design, from thermal zoning to significant reductions in the use of energy and water.” SITE WORKS PROCEEDING JANUARY 2017

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