Situated at the center of Rajshahi,Shaheb Bazaar is the prime commercial area of the city. Prosperity of trade and commerce in Rajshahi started to flourish from this area at the dawn of 18th century through the cultivation of indigo and silk during the Dutch and British reign. In 1987, while the Natore-Nawabganj highway was being built, a large number of shopkeepers and shop owners faced loss. For their rehabilitation, Rajshahi Development Authority(RDA) built a market filling up the pond at the back of old Shaheb Bazaar market, which later got familiarized as RDA market. In course of time, this RDA Market and Shaheb Bazaar vegetable market, banks and offices,students’ hostels which were later established surrounding the market and the remaining part of old Shaheb Bazaar market turned the area from Moni Chattar to Zero point node into the most important commercial zone at the center of the city. In spite of being one of the most important markets of Rajshahi,RDA market was marked unsafe in 2013 because of various problems like structural vulnerability, prone to fire hazards, no scope for natural light and ventilation access. These problems have been hampering the usability of this popular market since then.
This thesis project was proposed by Mayeesha Tasneem, a graduate from BRAC University, Department of Architecture. The motive of the project is to explore how different types of functions act with each other at the prime commercial center of a city in urban scale. For rethinking this area, the approach was to weave the detached entities- historical, religious, educational, residential, traditional and contemporary commercial entities through architectural intervention in a way so that the surrounding entities turn into one connected entity and RDA market act as a central urban hybrid zone at the center of the city.
Design development phases:
1. Some main opportunities have been addressed through large scale interventions, which are-
-Restoring the pond respecting the spatial pattern of this region
-Incorporating an urban breathing space for civic functions at the congested city center
-Integrating the remaining heritage structures through incorporating supporting activities
2.After primarily zoning according to the existing functions and surrounding in a bigger scale, the redesign of the RDA market and the Shaheb Bazaar vegetable market have been focused on for detailed design intervention.
3. After keeping the existing heritage and religious buildings as they are, restoring the lake, programs derived from existing functions are located respecting the surrounding functions.
4. The existing open spaces Bhubanmohan Park and Padma Garden are connected to designate open space for urban civic activities by the restored lake.
5. Primary and secondary courtyards are incorporated according to Rajshahi’s spatial pattern and functional need to define the transition of space, and height of the masses are defined respecting the periphery structures.
6. The paths are undulated respecting human beings’ natural sense of walking to give the essence of an urban breathing space at the congested city center.
7. The undulated lines of the landscape at ground level are continued to carry the essence horizontally and vertically through the buildings and creating small green corners along the circulation making space for local vending activities.
8. To mitigate the negative impact created by the present informal vending situation which occupies most portion of the periphery roads and to promote and encourage local vendors, spaces are designated in the design for vendors to be incorporated in the design.
Inspired from the existing shop layout of RDA market, shop modules and floor wise probable shop types are designated. To reduce the effect of the extreme temperature of Rajshahi, green facade has been incorporated on the elevation, where railway creepers are used as vertical shading. As the south-west facade receives the most sunlight and heat, some of the green facades are rotated in angles respecting the shadow angle, so that the visual connection to the pond at east from the facade and the wind coming from that direction stay uninterrupted keeping the interior protected from the heat. For window display, the periphery shops have full height glass on periphery facade, which are combined of fixed glass and operable windows for maintaining natural ventilation. For heat protection, triple glazed glasses will be used for the windows so that it traps the heat, yet allowing the light to come inside. For vegetation, regional trees mostly with large canopy are used to keep the pathways shaded and also meet the contextual aesthetic purpose.