Silent voices works with a site in Chittagong, Bangladesh to rethink the notion of conservation in the post-colonial context. The current approach taken by city authorities to former colonial buildings is that they must be retained as articles of antiquity, as an official might pin an exotic butterfly to his collection. A lack of funds and political stalemate has left many sites in limbo, as hilltop enclaves fenced off from day-to-day life in the city.
Darul Adalat, a former Portuguese watchtower crumbles into the jungle while a paper war is being acted out on its behalf. Authorities want to preserve it as a museum while the Jamaat Youth Corps wish to raise it to the ground to consruct an Islamic library in its place. The project investigates the concept that marginalised communities posses potential to re-shape their city as collectively active system. By enabling access and developing a construction method facilitated by rickshaw transport, the project rethinks the idea of archive by generating a living library of tribal dialects.
The ruin is first occupied in a ‘palliative’ manoeuvre. Over time the framework re-organises to generate a livelihood for live-in residents. Through the mediums of photogravure and etching, I physically transform the material of the ruin, pressing layer upon layer into the paper. Ever-shifting and mutating, the project generates a counter archive to celebrate knowledge which has never been written. It initiates alternate ways to engage with built remnants to question who or what has the ability to create history in a rapidly urbanising cityscape.
kadk first year ma project project dates: 09.2014 - 05.2015
photogauvre etching series dual plate 03.2015
"resistance is not simply opposing, but taking a deliberate stand to make concious decisions amid architecture's problematic entanglement with power and money. to play a role in the world, it is critical for architecture to question its own practices and not succumb to the expedient or reflective projection of form or technology"
Scaffolding erected. Cycle rickshaw workshop established and employing two carpenters. Interior walls of existing building are dropped and bricks sold to finance the project.
Colonial outhouse converted into store. Curator employed to manage the process. 8 rickshaw drivers employed full-time. Posessions brought to site. West stair cycle access ramp.
Permanent spaces established within the ruin. Tenant possessions accumulate in the storage system. First tenants move in.
Palliative structure disbanded as cast elements are established within the building. Familes becoming permenant residents. Links to other hilltop enclaves.
The ruin is first occupied in a ‘palliative’ manoeuvre. Over time the framework re-organises to generate a livelihood for live-in residents. Through the mediums of photogravure and etching, I physically transform the material of the ruin, pressing layer upon layer into the paper. Ever-shifting and mutating, in the words of Fujimoto, this is an architecture from the ‘future past’.
The project also includes a series of essays:
hilltop colony: topography and occupation in chittagong and the west bank
dwelling on the margin: locating the trickster