The Centre was created to train staff of an NGO working with people inhabiting nearby ‘chars’. It is also rented out for conferences and events.

Isometric view
Isometric view © Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury

Offices, a library, meeting rooms, prayer and tea rooms are included in pavilion-like buildings surrounded by courts and pools. Structural elements are of the local hand-made brick construction and reinforced concrete. Finishes also include timber and stone. The naturally ventilated structures have green roofs. The Centre is located in an agricultural area susceptible to flooding, earthquakes and low-bearing soil.

As in construction, so in conception, the complex of the centre rises and exists as echo of ruins, alive with the memory of the remains of Mahasthan
As in construction, so in conception, the complex of the centre rises and exists as echo of ruins, alive with the memory of the remains of Mahasthan © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Eric Chenal
The architect claims 'inspiration' (sic!) for the building came from the Buddhist monasteries in the area, and the exposed brickwork, stark character and quadrilateral layout, are clearly the architectural influence.
The architect claims 'inspiration' (sic!) for the building came from the Buddhist monasteries in the area, and the exposed brickwork, stark character and quadrilateral layout, are clearly the architectural influence. © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Eric Chenal
The Friendship Centre is a training facility for a non-government organization in the flatlands of rural, northern Bangladesh, near the Brahma-Jamuna River.
The Friendship Centre is a training facility for a non-government organization in the flatlands of rural, northern Bangladesh, near the Brahma-Jamuna River. © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Eric Chenal
To prevent flooding, the Friendship Centre is built directly on the low land and the entire site is protected with an embankment which could be built and maintained for much less.
To prevent flooding, the Friendship Centre is built directly on the low land and the entire site is protected with an embankment which could be built and maintained for much less. © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Eric Chenal
The access to the building from the earthen bundh is organised via two entrance stairs at opposite ends. The programme is then organised around a series of pavilions, courtyards and reflecting pools
The access to the building from the earthen bundh is organised via two entrance stairs at opposite ends. The programme is then organised around a series of pavilions, courtyards and reflecting pools © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Rajesh Vora
The ‘Ka’ Block contains the reception pavilion, offices, library, training/conference rooms and pavilions, a prayer space and a small ‘cha-shop’
The ‘Ka’ Block contains the reception pavilion, offices, library, training/conference rooms and pavilions, a prayer space and a small ‘cha-shop’ © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Rajesh Vora
Between the two blocks are large tanks to collect rainwater. The ‘Kha’ Block, connected by three archways, is for more private functions and houses the dormitories, the dining pavilion and staff and family quarters.
Between the two blocks are large tanks to collect rainwater. The ‘Kha’ Block, connected by three archways, is for more private functions and houses the dormitories, the dining pavilion and staff and family quarters. © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Rajesh Vora
The design relies on natural ventilation and cooling, being facilitated by courtyards and pools and the earth covering on roofs
The design relies on natural ventilation and cooling, being facilitated by courtyards and pools and the earth covering on roofs © Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Eric Chenal