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Arcadia Education Project Wins Aga Khan Award

The winners of the award were announced at Kazan in Russia on Thursday, Aga Khan Development Network said on its website.

The winners that include five other structures in Bahrain, Palestine, Russia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates will share $1 million between them.

They will be handed over the awards at a ceremony in Kazan later. 

The modular structure of the Arcadia Education Project in Keraniganj incorporates space for a preschool, a hostel, a nursery, and a vocational training center, taking a novel approach to a riverine site that is often flooded for five months every year.  

Rather than disrupting the ecosystem to create a mound for building, the architect devised the solution of an amphibious structure that could sit on the ground or float on the water, depending on seasonal conditions.

Architect Saif Ul Haque, a lifelong acquaintance of Arcadia founder Razia Alam, devised the solution of an amphibious structure anchored to the site on the bank of the river Dhaleshwari. It can sit on the ground or float on the water, depending on the seasonal conditions.

The Award was established by the Shia Ismaili community’s spiritual leader Prince Karim Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. 

In 2016, Marina Tabassum and Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury of Bangladesh won the award for the design of Dhaka’s Bait Ur Rouf Mosque and Gaibandha’s Friendship Centre, respectively.