Inhabited by nearly one hundred seventy million people, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries on Earth. The southern coastal belt, having more than 10 percent of the country’s territory, is almost identical to sea level. For centuries its context has influenced rural landscape and structure and is a deeply quintessential part of the way of life of Bangladeshis.

Friendship Hospital Satkhira by Kashef Chowdhury-URBANA: Inspired by a powerful abstraction - Sheet1
perspective View_©Asif Salman/Courtesy of URBANA

The hospital, which serves a broad vicinity of the rural population, was constructed at a cost very small by bed compared to European facilities, working extraordinarily efficiently and rationally to optimize space, making this structure sustainable and healthy.

The Friendship Hospital Satkhira, designed by Kasef Chowdhury/URBANA, is constructed to serve a rural populace in the Bangladesh delta. The neighborhood health facility of eighty beds was initiated with the aid of a donation of land via a nearby philanthropist.

In an altering context due to rising sea levels, the once surrounding landscape of grain fields has been replaced with the aid of shrimp fisheries. The architect makes this surrounding water play a key role in the building with the format of a rainwater-collecting canal landscaping creatively in between a couple of blocks masterplan to separate inpatient and outpatient departments.

Inspired with the aid of an effective abstraction of the riverine Bengal landscape, the campus blends with the surroundings. The building design is efficient and the architecture rational. A series of courtyards deliver natural airflow, while air-conditioned spaces such as operating rooms are placed in areas in the wind shadow. The penetration of direct and mirrored daylight into all wards and consulting rooms used to be studied in detail.

In the initial stages, they want to separate inpatient and outpatient departments and divide the linear area into separate areas. 

The idea was to provide a barrier however one which would retain visual continuity. Hence a canal was introduced, which traverses the site controlling access whilst amassing rainwater and animating an inner landscape. At either end are two large tanks, which preserve the harvested water – a treasured aid in the vicinity of the place the saline groundwater is unusable for most realistic purposes.

The technological know-how of the hospital is not emphasised however is hidden in the simplicity and the evidence of the layout of its plan. The layout of the venture effectively transmits an experience of protection to the hospital users with shadow corridors around all the blocks and a series of courtyards offering herbal ventilation everywhere and regulating the temperature efficiently.

Friendship Hospital Satkhira by Kashef Chowdhury-URBANA: Inspired by a powerful abstraction - Sheet2
bird’s Eye View_©Asif Salman/Courtesy of URBANA

Materials | Friendship Hospital

Friendship Hospital Satkhira by Kashef Chowdhury-URBANA: Inspired by a powerful abstraction - Sheet3
top view_©Asif Salman/Courtesy of URBANA

The development in bricks constructed in situ celebrates this normal cloth without having to lodge to complex technology leading to extended budgets. Local substances by neighbourhood craftsmanship help the integration of the building into the native subculture and society.

The jury observed it fresh to see a sanatorium with such a human and natural touch. The Friendship Hospital has particular relevance at this length of time as it addresses the issue of unequal rights of entry to healthcare throughout the world.

site plan_©Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
site plan_©Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA


zoning and Access Control_©Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
zoning and Access Control_©Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA

The sanatorium is situated in a predominantly rural area that had been heavily affected by a cyclone just a few years ago. In this natural, nature-ravaged landscape, thinly marked with low-rise structures and thatched houses, a nearby philanthropist donated land for Friendship to construct an eighty-bed hospital.

It is a demonstration of how stunning architecture can be completed through excellent graphs when working with a tremendously modest budget and with challenging contextual constraints. This health center is a part of a construction committed to humans.

It is certainly a wonderful moment when attention as important as this helps to carry interest to a remote nook of our incredibly linked but unknowing world, to a challenge born out of scarce resources, for the care of humans and neighborhoods destined to stay in the fragile environment of a climate in flux.

The Architect | Friendship Hospital

Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury was born in Dhaka, the son of a civil engineer, growing up in Bangladesh and the Middle East. He graduated in architecture from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 1995. In 2006, he attended the Glenn Murcutt Masterclass in Sydney.

After working with architect Uttam Kumar Saha, he set up the exercise URBANA in partnership in 1995 and from 2004 has endured as the sole Principal of the firm. Kashef Chowdhury has a studio-based exercise whose works locate roots in history, emphasizing climate, materials, and context – each natural and human. Projects in the studio are given prolonged time for the lookup to attain a stage of innovation and authentic expression. Works range from converting ships and lower-priced raised settlements in ‘chars’ to training centers, mosques, art galleries, museums, residences, and multi-family housing to corporate head offices.

Chowdhury has been a visiting faculty at the North-South University and BRAC University, both in Bangladesh and has been a juror in universities in Dhaka. He was twice a finalist in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and has received first prize in Architectural Review’s AR+D Emerging Architecture Award 2012.

views of the blocks_© Asif Salman/Courtesy of URBANA
views of the blocks_© Asif Salman/Courtesy of URBANA

“It is indeed a great moment when a recognition as important as this helps to bring attention to a remote corner of our incredibly connected but unknowing world, to a project born out of scarce resources, for the care of people and community destined to live in the fragile environment of a climate in flux.”

– Kashef Chowdhury, Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA

Project profile

Date of completion: April 2018
Location: Shyamnagar, Bangladesh
Cost: £1,516,000
Internal area: 4,777 m²
Cost per m²: £317 / m²
Contractor: Golam Mostofa Limited
Structural Engineers: Descon Engineers
Electrical Engineer: Independent
Plumbing Design: M/S High Speed Engineers
Sewage: Treatment Sigma Engineers Ltd.

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Sriya Mitra is a student of architecture from Kolkata with a strong interest in journalism. Apart from being a student, she is a fencer which allows her to travel to new places and explore more.