Reaz residence, a triplex home in Narayanganj city designed by DWm4 Architects, is gracefully minimalist and filled with meticulous detailing. The residence is compassionately designed to connect and create a sequence with the surrounding environment by large panel windows and open terraces that aid in diminishing the barrier between inside and out, while high ceilings/lofty spaces enhance the sense of space and tranquility.
The residence plot was received by the client from his grandmother which is set adjacent to a large field that holds many special memories of the client since his childhood. The client wanted to relive the memories by witnessing the daily activities and sports that take place in the field from his residence. The residence is therefore designed in a way that embraces the exterior views with fine transparency, emphasizing the client’s emotional connection to the field. Conceptually, the residence is designed to be a humble presence on the site, a backdrop for the field, rather than an intimidating contrast. The use of concrete, glass, and steel as primary materials resulted in a muted colour tone while the ample amount of natural light that is brought into the house creates an ever-changing drama of light and shade over the course of time.
The design team behind the project were: Mahmudul Anwar Riyaad, Principal Architect of DWm4, Mamnoon Murshed Chowdhury and Shaoki Shamim, Partner Architects, DWm4, and Md. Obidur Rahman Rajib, Sr. Architect, DWm4. Speaking about the challenges of the project, the design team shares, “the constraint of the project’s construction was mainly COVID-19. The process was severely prolonged due to the pandemic and the unavailability of materials and workers at that time. Nevertheless, the client and management team had complete faith in the design team and gave us the time and support to nurture the design and construction.”
“Since the plot is narrow, estimating only 20 feet in width, there was very less room for horizontal consistency, so we creatively played with the sectional aspect (verticality) of the building and carried out the construction with precision”
explains Architect Riyaad. The sculptural staircase is one such representation; vertically displaying creativity in a void of slanted layers. The residence is divided into four layers. The ground floor, first and the second floor, and a basement. The basement consists of a lounge and book gallery, the ground floor to the second floor consists of public and semi-public functions (formal living, dining, guest rooms) while the topmost floor, is a private and cozy suite that is entirely designated to the owner. The floor is quiet, and peaceful and is more connected to the outdoors. It has a spacious lounge, gallery, and a special terrace cum amphitheater kind of space where the owner and his fellow mates can sit and enjoy the sports being played in the adjacent field. Interestingly, the terrace has a corner, especially, designed for the owner to sit and watch games profoundly.
Architect Mahmudul Anwar Riyaad believes it is important to take the client’s preferences and financial constraints into account when designing a space. He shares his design process and ideologies, saying, “every project is unique in its own way. Rather than employing a consistent style, I take inspiration from my surroundings, draw references from the context, and then approach the required design.”
As a piece of advice to young architects, Riyaad shares “like any other subject related to art, such as painting, music, or photography, architecture is a difficult subject to be embraced with perseverance. Anyone who wants to advance in the field must invest a significant amount of time in architecture and must be consistent.”
The architect views architecture as a part of culture and nature. Though man-made, the built environment remains a part of nature, so architecture and design should always pursue meaningful and experiential work for the greater good.
He believes throughout the years, the architecture scenario in Bangladesh has consistently overcome challenges and advanced toward development. He respects and admires the work of the architects in our nation who approach design from an ethical perspective.