Architect Column

A Ballad To N A T U R E 

A story of longing and reconnection unfolds at the heart of Bhawal forest, among the flowing rivers and the murmurs of winds through trees lies Sufi Bari. Designed by architects, Sarawat Iqbal, Monon-Bin Yunus, Rajib Ahmed from the firm Roofliners for the client Jamal Ahmed Sufi. The namesake project consists of ‘Four Blocks’ on 36000 sqm (26 Bigha) of land while the house itself sits on 802 sqm of that area. 

Incorporating biophilic design ideals, the lowlands are sculpted into ponds—one deep pond for fish cultivation to the west and a shallow pond for leisure and activities to the east. The earth from these ponds is used to elevate open fields, creating fertile ground for a fruit orchard, medicinal tree garden, and farmland for crops and vegetables. 

Sufi Bari was conceived by a family who, in the wake of the India-Pakistan partition, migrated from West Bengal to Dhaka. The hearts of Sufi family, however, remained tethered to the rustic simplicity of their ancestral home; this longing led them to acquire this piece of land in Lokkhipur, Gazipur. 

Completed in 2022, the design is meant to grow and change to be observed and celebrated by multiple generations of this family. The blueprint of the Bari harmonises with the eternal and timeless forces of the site, the trees planted around the home blocks act as shaded corridors and natural screens, meticulously chosen for their ability to merge with the landscape. The vaulted ceilings and minimal furniture inside the home contribute to the farmhouse aesthetic, adding a rustic charm. The concrete blocks themselves seem to shrink in comparison, humbly integrating with the natural surroundings. Like rural settlements, the trees scatter in a natural, random pattern. 

Part of the bamboo forest was altered into a bamboo garden, becoming an integral part of the circulation within the homestead. The remaining forest is preserved as a sanctuary for wildlife, blending seamlessly with the natural essence of Bhawal forest. 

Established in 2012, Roofliners_Studio of Architecture has undertaken a range of projects, from cattle sheds to corporate headquarters, treating each with equal significance in their diverse portfolio.  With a profound respect for the unique essence of every setting, they masterfully blend projects of all scales into the rich contextual backdrop of their work.

Roofliners created the country house as a sanctuary where the family can rejuvenate, and create cherished memories, offering an opportunity to sate their deep yearning for a village home.  The house additionally boasts an outdoor jacuzzi, barbeque space and playing field. The floor plan hosts an open patio above the main accommodation block for the family, beside which is the common facility block and the guest housing block is situated.

Here, life embraces a slower pace while modern amenities seamlessly blend with rustic charm, ensuring a tranquil retreat without sacrificing contemporary comforts. A symphony of compositional and natural spaces, at Sufi Bari the terraces, corridors, and courtyards serve as observatories enhancing the sensory experience.

The trails, bamboo forest, surrounding jungle, the pukur par and its pathways serve as junctions between Sufi Bari and nature, creating unique, intimate, and communal spaces, allowing both moments of solitude and togetherness.

A myriad of materials, carefully selected and repurposed, find new life in Sufi Bari, sourced from the owner’s personal collection amassed over the course of their lifetime. Each piece, meticulously preserved and cherished, carries with it a story and a history, now woven into the very framework of Sufi Bari. 

The project champions a self-sustaining lifestyle, producing its own food and energy, and envisioning a future off-grid existence. Building materials such as pigmented concrete, “Kota” stone with regional motifs, and hand-crafted wood, were chosen according to their ability to seamlessly integrate with the habitat of Bhawal. The structures were placed on elevated grade beam frames to respect the existing ecology, minimizing intervention with land. 

Sufi Bari embraces the eternal forces of the site, respecting the natural land formations. The interplay of lowlands and highlands, and the seasonal changes that breathe life into the landscape. The bamboo forest at the highland, known locally as Tek or Aak, serves as a focal point, a point where two wind flows converge—one from the Paruli Gung river and another from a private lake to the south.

Scattered arrangements of house blocks reminiscing rural household patterns. Each block, perched at varying heights, stands statuesque above the ebb and flow of seasonal floodwaters, a poetic testament to the delicate equilibrium, lost amidst the roar of modernity.

Every element of Sufi Bari echoes an ode to moments lying still in the crosshairs of time, connecting the past, present, and future. 

Show More

Zariat Mushfique Khan

A journalist creating a world within the lens of art, fashion, philosophy and corny puns.

Related Articles