‘DeyalKotha’ – the wall attic

‘DeyalKotha’ – the wall attic

DeyalKotha is a design intervention project that promotes interactive education for the disadvantage communities living next to the Tejgaon Flyover in Dhaka city through an amalgamation of artworks and cultural activities using the unutilized space under wall. This pilot project has been initiated by Sahjabin Kabir, Tanzia Islam and their small team.

Sahjabin Kabir, Tanzia Islam, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The initial objective of this project was to covert unused space in the city into usable one. The limitation of usable space and high rent is making space design more and more compact. When this matter comes in relation to economically marginalized and poor, the use of space and perceiving the space becomes different and more innovative. The idea is to present innovative use of space in Dhaka city by the economically marginalized and the poor. Considering the economic limitations of the lower income group of people, the necessary space and its obligatory minimum services is generally the only existing product. The quality of this space and aesthetic beauty is no longer a considerable factor. Under such circumstances, low cost housing design can be innovative, cheap and can have quality space. As an example the first project initiated an educational platform for marginalized children. The simple bamboo and wooden structure delivers the idea of ‘education for all’ this is a temporary structure which will go away with the loop of time. However, realization of the need and the necessity of education and relevant awareness initiative will sustain.

Selection of Site:
As a densely populated city, Dhaka often fails to meet the educational and recreational needs adequately. Furthermore, in terms of marginalized community the situation is worse as they live in a congested and unhealthy environment. Due to the growing land demand in Dhaka, it is also not sensible to accompany these activities through the proposition for new structures in the city. This project bridges the gap between the dilemmas through regeneration of currently unutilized public spaces. The Tejgaon Flyover site was the first scheme to restore the functionality in favor to promote the educational and recreational activities. This site also contains a huge percentage of marginal people neighboring the Tejgaon Industrial Area. The underneath road devoid heavy traffic circulation due to its adjacency with residential and industrial area which creates opportunity spaces under the flyover to be used for community service. This project utilizes this space to create a platform of educational service for the disadvantaged children who reside nearby.
Project Description:
A simple modular platform was installed in the site with easy assembling and relocation mechanisms using the 53 ft X15ft wall. The platform has been divided in two sections: i) 16ft X 8ft-ambos rose above 5ft to provide the children to study without any disturbance and ii) 4ft X 4ft- seven folded podiums with wooden books and chalkboards extended up to 8 ft. for learning activities on weekdays from morning to evening hours and for theatrical performances on weekends or on holidays in weekly or monthly basis. The structure was prepared using local low cost materials such as bamboo, wood etc. The wall has been painted with learning elements such as chalk paints, Bengali and English alphabets, numbers, multiplication tables, maps and as well as children’s name. All these elements were enlisted through a qualitative survey with the local slum children.

Expected outcome:
The project target group can neither effort nor have the possibilities to go to school and the ‘Deyal Kotha’ initiates this volunteer based nonprofit platform to promote education through the language of architecture. The idea is to involve university students as the teachers of ‘Deyal Kotha’ and to integrate the educated future leaders of the country in social welfare. The expectation is simple, the educated youth leading taking responsibility by educating the younger and less privileged generation.

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