It is a scandal. This bamboo made floating school on the bank of Dhaleswari has been touted as the future of our education in a country whose large part is set to go under water due to rising sea water. The Arcadia Education Project made so much noise that last year it won Aga Khan Architecture Award, one of the top honours in the field. But less than a year after the award was declared, flood water has destroyed part of the project. No one visits the school these days, said a fisherman who was fishing in the Dhaleswari.” Rats are everywhere and it looks like a ghostly place,” he told me. I told him that the project had won international award for its excellent use of bamboo on a floating platform. He just laughed out loud. He showed me the bamboos that were broken and the drums that tumbled upside down. “It is a scandal,” he said.
Arcadia Education Project honoured with the prestigious Aga Khan Architecture Award 2019 for its Floating School Project. This school was established for marginalized children in South Kanarchor, Bangladesh. The award ceremony was held in Kazan, the Republic of Tatarstan.
The architect of the project, Saif ul Haq, designed a school, which stays on land during the dry season and floats on the water during the monsoon. He used local materials like bamboo, tires, and steel drums to build the amphibious structure for the school. The floating school is also known as the Arcadia Education Project. The project was started by a retired teacher Razia Alam.
She established a school for underprivileged children using her pension funds. A few years later, the lease of the existing premises expired. She purchased another land near a water body. But, it used to remain submerged in up to 3 meters of water for a one-third period of the year.
Then, it was decided to construct an amphibious structure that could stay on the ground and float on the water. Floating school is actually a rectangular structure that includes classrooms, open area for activities, office with toilet structures. The architect of the school, Saif ul Haq, made this structure with three types of bamboos, steel drums and bamboo frames.
The Aga Khan Architecture Award (AKAA) was established in 1977. The objective of this award is to honour architectural concepts that effectively address the requirements of society. The Architecture Award is associated with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. It is presented in the three-year cycle term which has one million US dollar as prize money. The Aga Khan Cultural Trust is an institution under the Aga Khan Development Network. This institution is working for the physical, social, cultural and economic improvement of buildings and communities of Muslim society.