Renowned for his interpretation of residential architecture in Bangladesh, Rafiq Azam (Shatotto) now addresses the theme of the office, designing the new S P Setia headquarters in Setia Alam, Malaysia. The S P Setia headquarters is the first private commercial building in Malaysia to be awarded Leed Platinum certification.
Rafiq Azam builds a family tomb in Noakhali, in southern Bangladesh. The architect views the tomb as a gateway between earth and heaven, reflected in the shape of the concrete cornice framing a stand of betel palms, the vertical lines of which contrast with the horizontal line of the roof. The project includes a single bench on which to sit in prayer before the grassy meadow where the dead are buried.
Rafiq Azam tells Floornature that he came to architecture via painting, still an important component of his philosophy of design. His work takes form when he is completely immersed in the spirit of a place to the point that he falls in love with it. His studio, Shatotto Architecture for green living, is based in Dhaka and works primarily in Bangladesh, where there is an urgent need for greenery in the city.
Physical distances may have been reduced by modern forms of transport, but it is still hard for westerners to understand the rituals and lifestyles of the people if Southeast Asia. The Meghna home in Dhaka is a home set in a place that still amazes us, an example of how design can respond to Bangladeshi rituals and lifestyles.
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