An Urban Oasis 

Written by Naila Binte Zakaria

A tranquil and homely vibe is formed at the triplex residence of prominent architect and businessman Mohammad Al Amin, who wanted to recreate the memories of a rural household by translating its vital elements into an urban form. With free-flowing spaces, earthy material palette, and a central courtyard, this urban oasis strikes a chord with nature.

Architect Mohammad Al Amin is the Managing Director of Progress Group. Apart from architecture, he takes interest in travelling, photography and collecting art.

When he and his wife, Psychologist Fariel Samiha Azim decided to move into their new residence, they wanted it to contain the attributes of a peaceful rural household without compromising on any modern amenity. “The basic concept of a rural household in Bangladesh is the amalgamation of structures with a courtyard, a pond, and a surrounding of greens and gardens.

I stayed a few months in my grandparent’s village at the time of Liberation war and the homely feel that house exuded struck me. And hence, I wanted to bring back those memories in this modern home setting”, explains Architect Amin. The thoughtfully designed triplex apartment at the top of the building is home to the couple and their two children, Zayed Osman Amin and Zahra Fateema Amin.

The spatial grandeur experienced through the skilful use of architectural forms is the design principle of Architect Amin. His north-south facing residence, spread over an expanse of 10,500 sq ft area has thoughtful segregation of spaces and attention to detail.

A step inside the house transfers the mind from the chaotic city-life to a quieter living, immersed with nature. The use of fair-faced concrete and brick, accompanied by eclectic furnishing helps the interior to fuse the traditional aesthetics with the new. An Arabic design inspired door welcomes the visitors into the exquisite house.

As one takes a tour inside the house, captivating features slowly unravel in front of the eyes in different corners. Elevated spaces help to break the monotony in the spacious living area. The heart of the house is the central courtyard that ignites a sensorial experience.

Transparent glass facades envelop within the high walls of the courtyard. “Emblematic of a traditional Bangladeshi residential architecture, courtyards have a strong cultural and climatic influence. They help to liberate us to enjoy the outdoors without compromising on the privacy”, explains Architect Amin.

The beautiful foliage of trees relaxes the tired eyes and keeps the courtyard shaded and cool throughout the day. Amidst the sound of the waterfall from the fountain, one can enjoy the company of the loved ones in the seclusion of the private garden.

“Communication within the three floors has been made easy because of the implementation of the courtyard. It works as a sound panel so we are always connected no matter which floor we reside in. Everyone really enjoys the view of the courtyard and the intricately designed antique door has become a photobooth for our guests!” exclaims Mrs Fariel.

The third floor is blessed with the views of not only the courtyard but also the beautiful terrace and an infinity pool that overlooks the skyline of the city. It would definitely knock anyone’s heart as one views the surrounding with moving clouds and chirping birds. “We’ve placed a modern BBQ on the third floor that is embellished with the rhythm of a colourful flower garden.

It reminds us of the rice-cake (pithas) making days in the rural areas”, says Architect Amin. Another sight to behold is the open skylight shower enclosure with the notion of forest rain and mirrored wall- just a great way to open up a small space to revel the unbelievable beauty of nature.

The layout subverts the need for defined closed and open spaces inside the house. The open plan allows the different spaces to flow into one another instead of being a single unit with segregated rooms. Walls of glass surround the upper floors, absorbing all the views the courtyard has to offer and all the natural light the skylights seek to give.

One can admire the view of the beautiful greenery from any space within the house, as pockets of spaces are conceived to allow one to soak in nature while enjoying the comforts of being indoors. All the rooms reflect the personality of the family members living in them. The chic and contemporary furniture selection in warm tones, paired with vibrant imported upholstery creates an elegant decor statement.

Both side lamination boards used for storage system keep the spaces free from unnecessary clutter. Neutral shades of white, ash and brown were used in the décor to highlight the statement furniture and vibrant artworks. Magnificent artworks by Shahabuddin Ahmed, Tajuddin Ahmad and different local artists enliven the fair-faced walls and generate a pristine experience for the viewers.

The triplex residence is awash with natural light through the day, a fact that Architect Amin takes full advantage of. The ambient lighting from voguish light fixtures also creates delightful points of focus. Architect Amin considered how his family members could share family spaces with the utmost comfort and fluidity to make every second count when they are together. The minimalist interior facilitates an easy living style while the courtyard and gardens present the family a taste of nature without having to leave the home.

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Naila Binte Zakaria

Lifestyle/Art/Film Writer and Content Creator with a knack for eating spicy Samyang and binge watching indie films you probably won’t recognize.

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