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side bays, openings are European: arcuated and moulded into Indian multi-foil look. The railings of the gallery at the upper floor being inter-woven by twisted steel columns, are a reminiscence of the Romanesque influence. These columns support a flat roof with projecting eaves used in the palaces of the Rajasthan region. It may be mentioned that shankha motif has extensively been used as a feature of ornamentation and symbol of the family status wherever became necessary in the building facade. Continuity of the Spirits. A part of the rhetoric of Indo-Saracenic or Gothic-Indian movement was that it would arrest the disintegration of Indian tradition, that it would sustain Indian architecture and so fulfil an imperial obligation to the subject people. The method of construction was entirely different from the Indian traditional method, by which a co-operative group of craftsmen shared responsibility for both the design and execution in the site. Though an imposed distinction was made between a designer and a builder, some measures were taken to involve the Indian craftsmen in the designing, leaving all or at least some of the details and decorations to them. This did not work as solution to the crisis of continuity of Indian architectural tradition. But it raised the question to bring about another more fundamental revival one which handed responsibility for design back to the Indians. The craft revival, which may be seen, in some measure, as a counterpart to William Morris’ Contemporary Art and Craft movement in England which leads to today’s new perception of traditional architecture– more derivative and less imitative.

The movement to re-establish the identity of our architecture is now well established. But it will never be wholly successful unless and until it progresses reasonably beyond mere imitation and might become even harder if we fail to understand our past in a new way. The enduring values of our own tradition that the modern movement taught us to abhor must be recovered. Our society once reacted for the revival of it’s past glories through syncretism, now once again it should react for it, keeping in mind the destiny of the future that is still in the womb of time.

3.1.4 Some Colonial Schools in Dhaka The Context

Colonial Education and Architecture. With the introduction of New-Classcism and establishment of British political domination in India around 1780, we are confronted with a new definition of building style, it is no longer to be considered as a code but rather a mode of expression. More attention is paid to the effect of style than to it’s inherent characteristics. The magnificent large dimensions and the sharp profile associated with the Greco-Roman background represented the richest inheritance of the West. Architecture was deliberately used to pronounce their growing domination on the political and cultural levels in India; the classical columns become the symbol of progress.

It was considered as a ‘giant leap’ when the Calcutta Madrasa was erected in given Doric style. Once again the British conquered Bengal and the power of the conqueror


is felt over the educational life. In the field of architecture the consequences are noticeable in mixed styles. The Indian skeleton structure was dripped into the European skin. Thus a very miss-understood process of Trans-creation started from Classicism to Racial Classicism. The Socio-political conditions gave new significance to the European architecture, enriched the classical language with a unique dialect– the Euro-Indian architecture.

At the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century ‘a number of related motives’ determined the course of architecture of Bengal. They are firstly, the rise of Bourgeois in the Bengali society; secondly, the prestige attached to the Classical Style; and thirdly, the government policy of Westernization of upper classes with the development of the region. Finally, a new dimension opened up when architects worked for a new Imperial Style which emerged to be Gothic (Also Palladian: see Chap. General Character of Monuments). This in turn was developed into the so- called ‘Indo-Saracenic’ or the ‘Gothic-Indian’ style.

The Gothic-Indian approach made easier the adaptation of local forms, for they could be easily placed to the Gothic frame, replacing it’s own rich ornaments. The multi-foil arches, clustered columns, grouped domes like the encrusted carving of decorated Gothic, free standing minarets, shikharas and chhatris all represented the Gothic counter part of Classical formula.

The new style was very swiftly adopted by some of the local rulers and the rising Bourgeoisie. It had for them a double advantage: on the surface, it was Local style and so enabled them to acknowledge their cultural roots, but it was at the same time an Imperial style with British sanction. They found the style as a means of being simultaneously local and progressive.

The Mayo College at Ajmir, a school for Indian princes, built by the Government in 1875, was given the new Indo-Saracenic or Gothic-Indian style by rejecting the Classical Greek temple plan. From then the princely India was actively introduced to that style to be appreciated and reproduced onward. Most of the forms and details on the building exterior and certainly the most visible are Indian. The domes, the deeply carved Bangaldar eaves, the balconies, the arches, the pierced screens and the mouldings are all faithfully copied from Indian architecture. They were taken as if from the pages of history and replaced over the surface of an English country house.

But in spite of this un-masterly mixture and modifications arising from the response to the attraction of exotic style they possess some inspiring qualities that we cannot deny. Firstly, though the Local forms are often wrongly applied, they are usually faithfully copied in themselves. The architect did study the finest examples of Local design, they engaged local craftsmen to help them execute the details.

The General Pattern of the Colonial Schools in Dhaka. Schools in the colonial buildings are mostly situated in the tight settings of old Dhaka. Since, these school buildings were originally built as kuthis, they show some similar characteristics.


The Archetype. Initially all these school buildings were kuthis residences of effluent class of the society. Generally two storeyed in height, where ground floor served as storage, later for residential purpose, and first floor purely served as residential purpose. Grand axial entry porch leads the circulation flow directly to the central hall. This central hall was basically meeting place, surrounded by other rooms for different out-house functions (which are now being used as class rooms). There was direct linkage between the central hall with secondary hall, but visual obstruction was ensured for privacy. In-house functions were clustered around this secondary hall. Later addition of building blocks (when these kuthis have been converted to school) didn’t pay any respect to morphology, proportion and scale of the main colonial building and developed as typical office building without any physical connection to the main building.

Site Layout. The main colonial building is located at the center of the site. The sites are of complex shape and sizes. There is large amount of open spaces around the main colonial buildings. To enjoy the distinct and well decorated front facade of these main building special care has been taken in the site layout. In this way a dramatic and magnificent bold image of the school building is created. The side facades of the buildings especially the back is left more or less in neglected condition in respect of decoration and details.

Orientation. The sites are generally approached from east and reaches directly to the entry porch. The main buildings are in most cases oriented towards the south.

Circulation and Space Organization. The main circulation artery divides the site into two major zones: first, the administrative and earlier academic zone along with the play field in front and second, the later academic zone with other facilities like laboratory etc. The main buildings usually contain a large multi-purpose hall room at their centers and the classrooms are clustered around it. Secondary courts are introduced during the addition and growths of the later periods to distribute the circulation. The new circulation in the added blocks is linear in type and is served by long corridors in front of the classrooms.

Lighting and Ventilation. Due to the squarish plan of the main Colonial building, the central zone is generally dark. The compact arrangements reduce the possibility of cross-ventilation. Although in some cases overhead lighting is provided but they seem to be inadequate to improve the lighting and ventilation condition of the buildings. Built Form. The main Colonial buildings are generally square in shape and two

storeyed in height. It is of compact plan with a central large space, and the later additions are distributed like wings from the building. In many a cases the later additions, which are mainly elongated rectangular forms with verandah in one side facing the courts are placed in the site without showing any respect or consideration to these main Colonial buildings. Thus the magnificent and picturesque view of these buildings is interrupted and the main buildings become hidden and retarded to serve their aesthetic and as well as academic purpose. In many cases there is a ceremonious


porch to the main building and generally is a series of mascular classical columns to provide a symmetric and grand appearance to evoke respect and present a monumental image to the viewers.

Construction System. The main Colonial buildings are of load bearing brick

walls with wooden or steel beams on the roof. The walls are of 50.60 cm in thickness, room is more than 3.50 in height. The openings are of brick arches and limited to a span of 1.20-1.50m. The newly added blocks are of RCC post and lintel system with RCC roofing.

Dhaka Colegiate School. Dhaka Collegiate School, attached to Dacca College, was established in the year 1835. Originally the school was started as a ‘Seminar School’ on the ground floor of State Bank of Pakistan building. Later it was renamed as Dacca collegiate School and shifted to it’s present location. The school is situated in 1 Loyal Street, Sadar Ghat, Dhaka. Total site area of the school is 32,297 sft (2.24 Bigha), perimeter- 820 sft Total built area and open space is 16,672 sft and 15,625 sft respectively.

Layout. The main Colonial building is situated at the center of a almost rectilinear site, moderately curved at south-east corner. The site comprises of three distinct zone: administrative zone at the center, main academic zone at the north, and primary level and recreation zone at the south side of the site. Large amount of open space around the Colonial building is provided, specially the play field beside the main entry facilitating to enjoy the well decorated front facade.

Orientation. The site is approached from the east, reaches directly to the main Colonial building, which is facing south. Later addition of building blocks (classrooms) are pre-dominantly north-south elongated, facing east.

Circulation and Space Organization. The main circulation doesn’t respect the axiality of the Colonial building as it approaches from the east and thus divides the site into two major zones: (i) administrative and primary level classes with the play field;

(ii) main academic zone with upper classes and ancillary facilities like laboratories etc. Lighting and Ventilation. The main building contains a large multipurpose hall room at it’s center, surrounded by classrooms. In ground floor, rooms on both sides of the lobby remains unused, because they are not connected to the main hall room, so they

cannot serve as classrooms and are too isolated to be a part of other offices. The hall room receives very little amount of lighting and ventilation due to the small size of the windows. Situation in the first floor is almost similar to ground floor- hall room still does not receive adequate lighting and ventilation. A secondary court has been evolved due to the later addition of building blocks which also distributes circulation flow to different activity zones. Circulation is linear in the added blocks by providing long corridors in front of the classrooms.

Form. The main Colonial building is square in shape, two storeyed in height and

compact in plan having a large central space. Later building blocks (rectangular in shape) added spontaneously with no relationship with the main Colonial building.


The main porch contains a series of giant classical columns providing a monumental image.

Construction system. The main Colonial building is of load bearing walls, 50-60 cm thick, with wooden or steel beams on the roof. Average room height is more than 3.50m with 1.20-1.50m spanned brick arch openings forming windows. Newly added blocks are of RCC post and lintel system with RCC roofing.

St. Gregory’s High School. The English Benedictines opened this school at Dhaka a few years before 1887. At that time it’s classes were limited to class eight. There were separate boarding houses for the students. Initially it was a co-education school but later the girls’ section was separated to form a different school at a near by site.

The school is situated in 82, Municipal Office Street, Lakshmi Bazar Dhaka-1100. Total site area of the school is 80,505 sft (5.59 Bigha) including the church. Built area is 24,206 sft and rest 56,299 sft is left open. Perimeter is 1227 feet.

Layout. The main Colonial building is located almost center at the of the northern peripheral line, adjacent to the church. The site is of complex shape but predominantly rectangular character. There are large amount of open spaces on south and east side of the main building. A magnificent image of the school building is created by front facade decoration in Gothic style which attracts the passers by the road. But other facades are relatively less decorated.

Orientation. The site is approached from the north at two points: a secondary one is for the teachers directly to the main building, another is between two front building blocks, serves as the main entry. But the main approach to the Colonial building is from the east, which is oriented towards north.

Circulation and Space Organization. The main circulation artery divides the site into two major zones. First, the administrative and secondary level zone with play field and second, the primary level zone with laboratory. Main building has a large multipurpose hall and the classrooms are clustered around it. The hall room has two centers of distribution of circulation. Building blocks in primary level zone are linear in type and served by long corridors in front of the classrooms.

Lighting and Ventilation. The spaces in the central zone of the main buildings specially the library lacks in proper lighting and ventilation. The verandah in the south provides shading to the classrooms.

Form. The main Colonial building is almost square in shape. Double storeyed, with large central space surrounded by classrooms. Later additions of building blocks are mainly rectangular forms with verandah on one side.

Construction System. Construction system of the main Colonial building is load

bearing brick wall with wooden or steel beam supported roof. Walls are 4-5 brick thick and room height is above 3.50m. Brick arch openings, spanned 1.20-1.50m.

Pogose School. The school was founded in the year 1848 at ArmenianTola (new Armanitola), Dhaka by a well known Armenian Zaminder Mr. N. Pogose. At the


beginning the school was started in Mr. Pogose’s own house or Kuthis Bari and later shifted to it’s present location.

The school is situated in 6 Chittya Ranjan Avenue, Dhaka-1100. The school consist of

3.38 Bigha (48727 sft) of land where total built-up area is only 15,673 sft and more than double sft of built area is left open.

Layout. The main Colonial building is sited at the center of a complex shaped site. Huge amount of open space around the main Colonial building, specially on north and south side of the site. Careful site layout enables us to enjoy well-decorated front facade.

Orientation. The site is approached from the east and reaches directly to the entry porch. The main building is oriented towards south.


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