In the coastal haven of Cox’s Bazar, where the sun meets the sea and the breeze whispers tales of the Bay of Bengal, a new landmark stands tall, echoing the brilliance of architect Mohammad Foyez Ullah. The Cox’s Bazar Railway Station, officially inaugurated on November 11, 2023, is more than just a transportation hub; it is a testament to architectural innovation and a harmonious blend of form and function.
At the helm of this visionary project is the indomitable endeavor of the leading architectural practice of the country, Volumezerto ltd, under the leadership of the charismatic Mohammad Foyez Ullah. Foyez Ullah has singlehandedly shaped the contemporary architectural landscape of the country through his various endeavors. He was an educator at the Department of Architecture, BUET from 1994 to 1998. He was the co-founder of Vistaraa Architects and later regenerated his practice through Volumezero ltd. Bashundhara City, The Westin, and Grameen phone headquarters are among the era-defining pieces of architecture that have shaped our cityscape. They are among the vast repertoire of excellence in Foyez Ullah’s portfolio.
The Cox’s Bazar Railway Station, a brainchild of Mohammad Foyez Ullah, stands as the first iconic railway station in Bangladesh, proudly reflecting the cultural heritage and resilience of the nation. The architectural marvel unfolds over six stories, covering an impressive 11.8 hectares with a built-up area of approximately 200,000 square feet.
The design narrative draws inspiration from the region’s rich history of weather-responsive architecture. Traditionally, homes in Bangladesh were designed to shield inhabitants from the elements, with curvilinear roofs elevated to combat monsoon rains. In a contemporary twist, Mohammad Foyez Ullah translates this heritage into a modern railway station that not only pays homage to tradition but also embraces functionality and sustainability.
The construction of this grand project commenced in 2020 and concluded in 2023. However, the journey was not without its share of challenges. The global pandemic, COVID-19, posed a formidable obstacle, creating a crisis that demanded resilience and adaptability from the design team. The construction team faced the monumental task of erecting a massive metal canopy spanning 120,000 square feet, utilizing local technology and manpower. Despite adversities, the station stands tall as a symbol of triumph over challenges.
The Cox’s Bazar Railway Station is more than a transit point; it is a modern intermodal gateway to the tourist heaven of Cox’s Bazar.
With a daily footfall of 46,500 passengers and 2,000 visitors, the station operates seamlessly with 80 staff members overseeing its myriad functions. From waiting areas and luggage storage to a children’s playground and hotel rooms, the station caters to diverse needs.
The parasol roof is not only an aesthetic element but also a functional one.
Its curvilinear design represents the sea, weaving in the essence of Cox’s Bazar. The raised and multifunctional roof protects from the sun, sea winds, and rain while ingeniously collecting rainwater for sustainable reuse.
Mohammad Foyez Ullah’s commitment to sustainability echoes throughout the station’s design. LED energy-efficient lighting, solar power utilization, rainwater harvesting, and the use of sustainable materials showcase a conscientious approach. High-performance external glazing, natural light integration, and low water flow fittings contribute to an environmentally responsible structure.
The exterior facade of the Cox’s Bazar Railway Station is a masterpiece in itself.
A semi-unitized structural silicone glazing system, adorned with double-glazed Low-E coated panes and aluminum Bullnose, adds a touch of modern elegance. High-performance external glazing with a curtain wall system, along with industrial sheet-covered MS tubes for the canopy, highlights the fusion of aesthetics and functionality.
One cannot help but marvel at the intricate details that make Cox’s Bazar Railway Station a visual delight. The colossal canopy, platform shed and the mesmerizing Pearl Featured Sculpture stand as testaments to Mohammad Foyez Ullah’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to creating a sensory experience for visitors.
Spanning 11.8 hectares, the Cox’s Bazar Railway Station is housed within a six-storied building covering approximately 200,000 square feet. The sheer scale of the project is a reflection of Ullah’s ambition to create not just a railway station but an architectural masterpiece that transcends boundaries.
In the heart of Cox’s Bazar, Mohammad Foyez Ullah has woven a narrative of architectural excellence with the Cox’s Bazar Railway Station. This transcendent structure not only redefines the landscape but also embodies the spirit of innovation, sustainability, and cultural homage. As trains traverse the tracks and passengers embark on journeys, the station stands as a living testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity. Cox’s Bazar Railway Station is not just a transportation hub; it is a destination in itself, beckoning travelers to embark on a journey through time, culture, and architectural brilliance.
Photography by: F. M. Faruque Abdullah Shawon, H. M. Fozia Rabby Apurbo