Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016.
The Centre was created to train staff of an NGO working with people inhabiting nearby chars, or riverine islands. Offices, a library, meeting rooms, and prayer and tea rooms are included in pavilion-like buildings surrounded by courts and pools. The Centre is also rented out for meetings, training, and conferences for income generation. The local hand-made brick construction has been inspired by the monastic aesthetic of the 3rd century BC ruins of Mahasthangahr, the earliest urban archaeological site yet found in Bangladesh. Structural elements are of reinforced concrete and finishes also include timber and stone. The naturally ventilated structures have green roofs. The Centre is located in an agricultural area susceptible to flooding and earthquakes, and whose low-bearing soil has a low bearing capacity. As a result, an embankment has been constructed with a water run-off pumping facility. Constructed and finished primarily of one material - local hand-made bricks - the spaces are woven out of pavilions, courtyards, pools and greens, corridors and shadows. The Friendship Centre is divided into two sections, the outer Ko block for the offices, library and training classrooms and the inner Kho block for the residential section. At a time, 80 people can be trained here in four separate classrooms. Simplicity is the intent, monastic is the feel.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Design 2008-2010, construction 2010 - 2011, completion 2011
The Bengal Institute, with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, conducted a special course on architecture that shapes our thinking and practice: Learning from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Alim-Ur-Rahman, co-founder of Friendship NGO, presents the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, and the importance of a community-based design process. The Friendship Centre received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016.